Easter is rapidly approaching, and I didn’t realize this until I received a package full of chocolate from my mom in the mail today. Chocolate is the best thing about Easter (and, let’s be honest, most holidays) for me, and I’m sure many of you agree. Although I’ll be unashamedly stuffing my face with chocolatey goodness in the coming days, I thought I’d share a recipe with you today that allows you to eat chocolate and feel good about it.
The thought of “black bean brownies” may make you gag; I totally understand. However, believe me when I say that if you didn’t know that the main component of these brownies is, in fact, a can of black beans, then you wouldn’t ever guess. If you’re expecting a cakey, fluffy brownie, you’ll be disappointed—I won’t lie to you. I also won’t lie to you and say that this compares with the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. I mean, come on. You’re not getting a rich, decadent, 500+-calorie brownie here. But what you will get is a fudgy, moist brownie that will satisfy any chocolate craving, and I really doubt you’d be able to pinpoint that there’s anything “off” about them.
I added semisweet chocolate chips and walnuts to the top of mine; you can leave both out, but I’d highly recommend at least adding the chips. If there was any trace taste of beany-ness left, the semisweet chocolate eliminates it. The walnuts (or whatever nuts you prefer) add a crunch that’s necessary for these very soft, fudgy brownies. You can switch it up with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, almonds, pecans—whatever you like. Just remember, they’re made from black beans for a reason: to make something fundamentally unhealthy a little healthier by adding protein and removing some of those refined carbs. Don’t go ruining it by adding a pound of chocolate and breaking out the canned frosting! But, if you keep it simple, you can satisfy your chocolate cravings with fewer calories and more nutrition.
You’ll need: 1 can [15.5 oz] of black beans. I always buy reduced sodium beans whenever possible; canned beans can have so much unnecessary added salt, and you really don’t want salty brownies. Also, cocoa powder, 3 eggs, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and (optional) chocolate chips and walnuts. You’ll also need a food processor or blender.
This part is VERY important: you must thoroughly drain and rinse your beans. If you don’t, you’ll get that salty, beany liquid and you will definitely not have pleasant-tasting brownies. Draining and rinsing ensures that your beans will be as neutral-tasting as possible. When they’re well-rinsed and drained, pour them in the food processor or blender.
Now add your sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, oil, and vanilla, along with just a pinch of salt. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of oil; I thought that was excessive, so I only used 2. You could probably get away with just 1 if you wanted. Same goes for the eggs—I’m sure you could use just 2 or even use egg whites instead.
Pulse until very well blended. Make sure you can’t see any huge bean chunks (ugh, what a gross phrase, sorry). Your batter should be really smooth and liquidy—I was actually concerned and kept checking the recipe to make sure I hadn’t missed the step where you needed to add flour. You really don’t need any flour, trust me! They’ll bake up just fine.
Pour your batter in a greased 8×8″ baking pan (I used baking spray, that stuff is amazing—but do make sure to grease it, I have a feeling these would be exceedingly difficult to get out of the pan without spraying or greasing). Top with chocolate chips and nuts, then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the brownies have puffed up and the edges look dry. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.
Do you see what I mean? These look like real brownies! And they’re actually good. I swear.
I’d wager that the key to making these believable as real brownies is to make sure your beans are both low-sodium and VERY well-rinsed. I honestly couldn’t believe how yummy these were, and that I couldn’t taste the beans at all. If you can taste the beans, something went wrong somewhere!
These are great warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and they keep beautifully moist for days at room temperature.
Give these unexpectedly tasty brownies a try! For 120 calories a pop, you won’t be sorry.
Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
Yields 16 brownies
1 (15.5 oz.) can reduced sodium black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8″ baking dish with baking or cooking spray.
Place black beans, sugar, cocoa, salt, eggs, oil, vanilla, and instant coffee in food processor or blender. Pulse thoroughly until smooth and well combined.
Pour batter in baking dish. Top with nuts and chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is dry and edges begin to pull away from the baking dish. Cool completely before cutting.
Per serving (1 brownie of 16)