When I think of indulging in a delicious dessert, black beans don't spring to mind.  I've suffered a series of failed recipes recently, so I was skeptical to even give this a try. Today I got an email from a reader who asked for healthy suggestions that would be good for her growing and energetic daughter who happens to have a nut allergy. Enter black bean brownies. Not only are they nut free, but they're grain free as well. They also have a good amount of protein and fat. But best of all, no refined carbohydrates!

I opened up my cabinet and had everything I needed. I usually prefer to soak my beans instead of using canned, but I had no idea how this recipe would turn out and didn't want to invest the time soaking them. Whenever I make a new recipe, I run it by the resident taste-testers in my house, my daughters and husband.  A great recipe gets cheers, like "That was great, Mommy! Can I have more?" A less-than-stellar recipe, on the other hand, gets subtle jeers, like "I liked it at first, but then I didn't like it anymore. Sorry." I always get a "sorry" for some reason, followed by a shrug and this follow up comment: "But at least I tried it."

As it turned out, I had the batter done for the brownies before my oven finished preheating. Never before had I made a batter in a blender, but needed something to puree the beans. I gave everything a whiz for a minute or so, poured it into a pan and put it in the over.  I pulled them out of the oven just as my husband was walking in the door from a run. "Want to take a guess at what I put in these?" I asked. "I don't know. They look like fudge." Then he tried a small piece. "They're really good." No jeers. So far so good. "They're made with black beans...an entire can," I revealed. "Wow. I could never tell."

The other two taste-testers were fast asleep, so they'd have to wait.

Here's the recipe. They're sweet, but not as sweet as a traditional brownie. It's also important to note that I used unsalted black beans.

Black Bean Brownies

1 can black beans (approx 15 oz), rinsed
2/3 c. honey
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp coconut oil*
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. As I mentioned above, simply add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend at medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

*You can substitute butter. I've also read a couple recipes have olive oil added, but I'm not a fan of baking with olive oil. Because some olive oils have a stronger flavor, I suspect this might affect the taste of the brownies as well. 


Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.