Being the chocolate lover that I am, I’ve made (and eaten) my fair share of brownies. Thus, I’ve taken on the noble task of venturing out and experimenting with the most perfect dessert in existence (debatable…but on this blog it ain’t).
Enter the black bean brownie. Yes. Black beans. The dark-colored legume, normally found in savory dishes. But when you can incorporate this rich source of protein, soluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals into a delicious dessert as well, then why not??
This modified brownie recipe is a great alternative to the high fat, sugar-filled, and calorie-dense conventional brownie recipe. A favorable dessert indeed, for those looking to make healthier alternatives to their diet.
I have experimented with this recipe enough to ensure that texture, tenderness, and sweetness (components of a typical brownie) aren’t compromised by the lack of flour or by the lack of high amounts of fat in these brownies. When rinsed and drained thoroughly, the flavor of the beans is completely masked. And the applesauce (with only 68 calories per 3.5 ounces) compensates for the moisture and consistency of a typical brownie while also adding more nutritional benefits (increasing the amount of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C). The walnuts provide protein, omega-3 fats, and other beneficial compounds, while adding a crunchy profile to these brownies. The chocolate chips…..well, those are just necessary. Period 😉
The remaining ingredients work harmoniously together to create this enjoyable dessert (and yes, all of these ingredients are imperative in this recipe, including the coffee granules and salt).
If a delicious brownie were to be in existence, with a high fiber, protein, vitamin, and mineral content, while simultaneously being lower in calories and fat, then wouldn’t you want to try it?
Black Bean Brownies
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup sugar (or date puree, see below*)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Walnuts (or other nuts of choice)
*Puree 2/3 cup pitted dates (Medjool dates, preferably) with 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water until a thick paste is made. (Dates are high in fiber and rich in minerals (iron, copper, manganese) and add a wonderful caramel flavor to the brownies, thus, a beneficial alternative to sugar.)
1. Place the beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, applesauce, and oil in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Add the eggs, sugar (or dates), cocoa, coffee granules, baking powder, and salt; cover and process until smooth.
2. Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 1 dozen.