by Olena

Black Bean Brownies

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 80 votes

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Decadent Black Bean Brownies satisfy that chocolate craving for healthy snacks but are made with no flour, no oil and no added sugar! Packed with protein and fiber you could even enjoy these guilt free for breakfast.

Other rich, velvety chocolate treats made with better for you ingredients include zucchini brownies, almond flour brownies and this healthier cake.

Black bean brownies cut into squares with chocolate chips.

This black bean brownie recipe has all the taste and sweetness you crave in a brownie, but it contains no refined sugar. Dates provide all the sweetness you need just like these naturally sweetened no bake peanut butter pie, no bake black bean brownies and sugar free cookies.

Black beans also have the perfect texture and color to replace flour making these brownies truly gluten free. No one will be able to tell they are made with beans, my kids call these healthy brownies “beautiful”.

Why Black Bean Brownie Recipe is Healthy?

  • 5 star reviews: Just check the comments below, these black bean brownies are loved by many! 
  • Healthy brownie recipe: Fiber and iron filled nutritious black beans, superfood cacao powder is packed with flavonoids and Medjool dates are a great source of phytonutrients. 
  • Whole food ingredients: No refined flour and only natural sugars makes this a super good for you dessert!
  • Anytime of the day: Snack, dessert or bring to a get together or backyard BBQ, everyone will love them! 
Parchment lined pan of brownies with chocolate chips.

Ingredients for Black Bean Brownies

  • Black beans: Black beans are the basis of the recipe. No substitutions, not even lentils. You can use canned black beans. Or if you have cooked at home black beans, use about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups.
  • Medjool dates: Most grocery stores carry 2 types of dates – “regular” and Medjool. You have to buy Medjool dates. Their meaty and moist texture adds volume and fudgy texture to brownies. And fresh is best! As dates get older, they dry out and sugars start to crystalize on the outside. Use your leftover dates to make stuffed date appetizer.

Medjool dates are actually a tropical stone fruit, hence why they are sweet and are a great source of natural sugar (aka fructose)! They are dried, not dehydrated which is why they are sticky to the touch. Some Medjool dates one being held and in a container.

  • Coffee: Brewed coffee adds more depth to the chocolate flavor but you can skip it. It is not a crucial ingredient but if you have leftover morning coffee, save it and add to brownies and even make iced coffee on a hot summer day.

Why is coffee added to chocolate baked goods including this healthy brownie recipe? It may seem counterintuitive but bitter coffee actually enhances the flavor of chocolate! These bean brownies are already rich and fudgy, and when you add coffee it takes that rich, chocolatey flavor to a whole other level.

Cacao vs. cocoa powder: While the two both share the chocolate similarity, cocoa powder is processed at a higher temperature and packaged cocoa may also contain dairy and sugar (always check the label!). Cacao powder on the other hand is made from fermented cacao beans. The beans are then milled into a fine powder at a low temperature which retains a higher nutritional value but is slightly more bitter in taste.

  • Baking essentials: Vanilla extract, eggs, baking soda, applesauce (unsweetened is best) and salt.
  • Chocolate chips: I use dark chocolate chips. You can use semi-sweet, omit completely or use cacao nibs.
Black beans, applesauce, coffee, medjool dates, eggs, chocolate chip ingredients.

How to Make Bean Brownies

There is a full recipe card below. 

  • Prep: I cannot stress enough that it is a MUST to line your 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Blend ingredients: In the following order, add eggs, applesauce, black beans, cacao powder, coffee, vanilla, baking soda, salt and dates to a high speed blender or food processor. The batter doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth and can have small chunks of dates or beans. Either kitchen appliance will work, but I should caution you that it is a struggle to fit all the ingredients into a mini food processor.

What is better to use a blender or food processor? Either kitchen appliance will work, but I should caution you that it is a struggle to fit all the ingredients into a mini food processor.

  • Add chocolate chips: Stir until well combined.
  • Bake: Pour batter the batter into the baking dish and top with some more chocolate chips. Then bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Cool: Let the brownies cool completely.

Cool your brownies completely before slicing! Otherwise your healthy brownie recipe with black beans will fall apart, and I know you don’t want that to happen.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Dry sweetener: Many ask if they can skip dates altogether and replace with stevia or xylitol. Unfortunately, you cannot. Simply because dates contribute to the volume of brownie batter. We already skipped flour and oil.
  • Dates: Some readers reported in comments successfully using prunes or raisins instead of dates.
  • Vegan brownies: Someone in comments skipped eggs and used 2 tablespoon ground flax + 6 tablespoon water. Make sure you know how to make make flax eggs.
  • Applesauce: Someone shared using mashed overripe banana. Another reader tossed in a small apple (puree it in a blender or food processor first). One reader used tahini with MCT oil. Proceed at your own risk here with substitutions.
  • Chocolate chips: I like the Enjoy Life brand as they are lower in sugar (dairy free, too!) but use your favorite. Mini chips, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate or even peanut butter chips!
  • Nuts: Instead of (or with) add some chopped nuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachos, or almonds. Yum!
  • Flaky salt: Sprinkle some sea salt on top, the taste will be amazing in this black bean brownie recipe!
  • Sweeter: Although this healthy brownie recipe uses no added sugar, if you like sweeter try adding 2 Tblsp maple syrup.

I have not tried any mentioned above substitutions, so try at your own risk. I would say if you have some experience baking, I would try and report back what worked for you!

Tips for Best Results

  • Drain canned beans: No need for that gooey liquid and the recipe will not turn out as intended.
  • Soak dates: Having trouble blending your dates? Soak for 10 minutes first in hot water, drain and then blend.
  • Let brownies cool off almost completely before slicing: It’s worth repeating multiple times. 🙂 I know it’s hard, but please have patience. Again, this is to ensure that bars do not fall apart.
  • Fudge develops: Brownies become even more fudgy the next day.
  • Line baking dish with parchment paper: It makes brownies easy to cut and remove, and ensures they do not fall apart. I love these parchment paper sheets that I can cut to size for many recipes including these bean brownies, air fryer nachos, air fryer breakfast casserole and many healthy cookie recipes.

Parchment paper sheets.

FAQs

How do you know when black bean brownies are ready to take out of oven?

This will be dependent on how you like your brownies! For rich gooey brownies, remove when the center still jiggles some. For a firm brownie, use the toothpick method. Remove when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (a few crumbs is okay on the toothpick).

Can you leave black bean brownies out overnight?

I do not recommended leaving them out overnight. Black bean brownies need to be refrigerated because black beans exposed to air could lead to the development of mold. If you do not liked ‘chilled’ brownies to eat, remove one from the refrigerator 30 minutes before consuming.

Are black beans healthier than regular brownies?

Yes! There are not additional calories from fat or sugar, plus black beans add protein, fiber and quality carbs. No empty calories in these healthy brownies.

How are black bean brownies fudgy?

No flour! For a brownie recipe to be fudgy it usually has to have a higher fat to flour ratio. While there is no added ‘fat’ in these brownies, with no flour they are perfect fudgy bean brownies.

Can I omit the dates in healthy brownies?

I don’t recommend it, although one reader who had trouble finding them did successfully substitute 1/2 cup organic peanut butter. Proceed with caution!

Are these really sugar free brownies?

There is no way around saying this, chocolate chips contain sugar, as well as there is natural fructose from Medjool dates. If you want truly ‘added sugar free’ use sugar free chocolate chips or omit them.

Can I use other beans for healthy brownie recipe?

Again, I don’t recommend it. That being said some readers have had success using kidney or adzuki beans, but I have not tested that.

A black bean brownie topped with chocolate chips.

How to Serve Healthy Brownies with Black Beans?

These brownies taste amazing hot or cold.

How to Store Sugar Free Brownies?

Store: Keep brownies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (but I promise, they will not last that long!).

Freeze: Simply, place brownies in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter at room temperature for about 30 minutes. I freeze cut up brownies right in Pyrex glass container I bake in. It comes with a plastic lid. Just lift a few with a butter knife and defrost. Perfect!

More Healthy Chocolate Recipes

Close up of black bean brownie with chocolate chips.
Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Decadent Black Bean Brownies satisfy that chocolate craving but are made with no flour, no oil and no added sugar! Packed with protein and fiber you could even enjoy these guilt free for breakfast.
4.97 from 80 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 brownies
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 x 8 square baking dish with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  • In a powerful blender or food processor add ingredients in the following order: eggs, applesauce, black beans, cacao powder, coffee, vanilla, baking soda, salt and dates; then process until smooth.
  • Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and stir to mix.
  • Pour batter into baking dish, top with 1/4 cup chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let brownies cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing. Cut into 16 squares.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Do not leave sitting out, mold could develop.

    Freeze: In an airtight container up to 3 months.

      Video

      Notes

      • Black beans: Black beans are the basis of the recipe. No substitutions, not even lentils. You can use canned black beans, drain them really well. Or if you have cooked at home black beans, use about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups.
      • Medjool dates: You have to buy Medjool dates. Their meaty and moist texture adds volume and fudgy texture to brownies. 
      • Line baking dish with parchment paper: It makes brownies easy to cut and remove, and ensures they do not fall apart.
      • Let brownies cool off almost completely before slicing: I know it’s hard, but please have patience. Again, this is to ensure that bars do not fall apart.
      • Fudge develops: Brownies become even more fudgy the next day.
      • Dry sweetener: Many ask if they can skip dates altogether and replace with stevia or xylitol. Unfortunately, you cannot. Simply because dates contribute to the volume of brownie batter. We already skipped flour and oil.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1brownie | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 118mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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      233 comments on “Black Bean Brownies

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      1. 5 stars
        Quite Happy! added 2 T of maple syrup, and 1 t of stevia. Perfect recipe. My kitchen was a BBB mess. My blender was not strong enough so I kept dividing it and then used my small small food processor a bit of mix and then another bit, BUT, you told me how to and when to, Thanks Katie Byrd

      2. 5 stars
        These are so good you will not miss having regular brownies and they are chocked full of goodness. I made a few slight alterations by putting all the chips (white sweetened with stevia) and two tablespoons ground flax seed also incoroporated in for higher fibre and then put chopped walnuts on top. OMG just love these. I am sure these will become a staple in our household

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