Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RECIPE: Flourless, Sugarless Brownies?

How is that even possible, you ask?

My answer is simple: black beans.

Black turtle beans are, in many ways, a miraculous little legume.  They are full of antioxidants, protein, fiber, and phytonutrients.  They can also lower your risk for developing colon cancer and type II diabetes, by some reports

Now that I've plugged black beans, I think it's only fair to say that I don't particularly like them.  That is, I'm not a huge fan of beans in general, unless they're processed out of recognition--and, as you know, I'm kicking the processed foods while on this crazy diet of mine.  Black beans, and legumes in general, are high on the list of healthy foods I'm supposed to eat, so I figured I'd try to knock out two birds with one stone.  That is, I have been really, really, intensely craving chocolate--and pretty much anything chocolatey comes with a heavy dose of off-limits processed sugar.

Then I came across black bean brownies.  BLACK BEAN BROWNIES?

I know, it sounds crazy.  But I was craving chocolate so much that I decided 'crazy' wasn't out of my reach.  So I whipped out my black beans, soaked the bejesus out of them, and got ready to make some delicious chocolatey goodness (that also happens to be superbly healthy)!

RECIPE: Flourless & Sugar-free Black Bean Brownies


15 ounces black beans
     (drained and rinsed if canned, or soaked overnight and cooked for 1 hour if raw)
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and oil a 8" by 8" glass baking dish.

Pour your black beans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the beans are smooth and creamy.*  If you like more texture to your brownies, simply process them until they're the desired consistency.  Whatever the beans look like in the processor is how they'll look when the brownies are cooked, so keep that in mind as you're putting together your ingredients.

Add the rest of your ingredients and process until smooth.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan and pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool before cutting into 2-inch pieces and serving.

VERDICT: These brownies are delicious!  I would never have known they were made with beans if I hadn't made them myself.  They are about twice as filling as regular brownies, too, and leave you without the heavy, sickly feeling that overly-rich brownies can.  You can mix chocolate chips into the batter if you're not steering clear of sugar, for an extra chocolatey kick.

*A (long) note on beans:
I always use dried/raw beans, not the canned variety.  I'm sure canned beans are much simpler to deal with, as they're already tender when you dump them out of a can, but I'm a traditionalist that way.  Besides, it's easier to control what preservatives and extra ingredients go into your food if you start with the true-blue basics.  It can be difficult to find canned beans without high fructose corn syrup in them, among other things.  So I use "real" beans, soaking them overnight and then rinsing them well, then cooking them in more water for between one and two hours and draining them again.  You can skip this pre-cook process if you like (and I have done), as the beans retain more nutrients if you don't pre-cook them, but the resulting brownies have more "texture" that some may find distracts from the brownie experience.  Really, it's up to you.  I like the brownies either way ....



  1. I have a recipe (haven't tried it yet) for a chocolate cake that uses black beans...it looks absolutely decadent. This looks good! Thanks for posting! Yumm....

  2. These are good for a recipie of brownies made from beans! Quite tasty. :) Thanks for sharing the recipie! :)