Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Coconut Chunks

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Black bean brownies, Black bean recipe, health benefits of Black beanLet’s be honest; who doesn’t like chocolate brownies? Even non-chocoholics have a favorite brownie experience. And due to their rich nature, even a nibble can satisfy. When I first tried black bean brownies at an event, I could tell they weren’t typical brownies, but it would have never crossed my mind that they were made with black beans. Nothing in their texture or taste suggested it.

So why did I decide to experiment with my own version of this brownie? Black beans are a highly nutritious and protein-rich food–very important, especially for children and pregnant women. And if we can hide the beans inside a chocolate treat, it’s a win-win situation.

The following recipe is a result of some trial-and-error with a few different recipes. Don’t expect a super-sweet dessert, but rather a rich and subtle treat that will not disappoint any dessert connoisseur. Even our three-year-old couldn’t get enough of them. They’re very easy and quick to make (once you’ve cooked your beans), and they make a nice dessert for a dinner party as well as a kids’ picnic. If you don’t like coconut you can use almonds, walnuts, cashews or other nuts, but I recommend soaking them in warm water first to soften them. I personally prefer the taste of precooked beans over canned, but if you don’t have time to cook dry beans you can use canned ones–just make sure to rinse them well to remove as much sodium as possible.

Black bean brownies, Black bean recipe, health benefits of Black beanIngredients (yields about 15 2″ squares):

  • 1 1/2 cups precooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (for gluten-free alternative use other flour such as almond)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut chunks or shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
  • dash of salt (optional)

Black bean brownies, Black bean recipe, health benefits of Black beanDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Line baking pan with baking or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked black beans, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and honey; blend with a hand mixer or in a food processor into a smooth-textured puree.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix well together. Add dry mix into the bean puree; add coconut chunks and mix all ingredients evenly together.
  4. Pour mixture into a 1/2″-high baking pan or into desired forms.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving or cutting. You can also use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes before serving.
gluten-free, black bean, healthy dessert

Gluten-free alternative with almond flour

Nutritional facts and health benefits of black beans:

Black beans are very high in fiber, folate, protein, and many antioxidants. They are also very rich in molybdenum, an essential mineral that plays an important role in our body’s biological functions; copper, manganese, vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. If paired with brown rice, they make a complete protein, which makes them very popular in a vegetarian diet. Their many health benefits include digestive tract support, blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular benefits, nervous system health, prevention of growth of cancer-producing agents and many others.

Resources: WHFoods, WebMD

Black bean brownies, Black bean recipe, health benefits of Black beanToddler-ready: decorated w/ little sugar frosting

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Author:Katka Konecna-Rivera

Katka Konecna-Rivera, co-founder and host of Living Green with Baby, is an architect focused on sustainable design as well as a filmmaker, writer and personal wellness coach.

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