Protein-packed black bean brownies

black bean brownies

While you’ll find plenty of chocolate in this recipe (in the form of raw cacao), you’d never suspect that these are black bean brownies. You’ll be surprised at how incredible they taste! They’re completely flourless, and the nutrition of the black beans makes them beneficial as well.

Why black beans?

Just one cup of black beans contains sixteen grams of fiber – more than half the daily recommended intake. This is crucial for healthy digestion, helping to keep you full longer, and preventing chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Adequate fiber intake helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which in turn reduces the chance of developing heart disease. The potassium levels of black beans can also help lower blood pressure levels.

Black beans are an incredible source of plant protein. Just one cup contains fifteen grams of protein, which is almost as much as a small serving of chicken. The combination of protein and fiber in beans is a winning package when it comes to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. This makes them an ideal base for dessert since these sugary treats can normally send blood sugar through the roof. By maintaining control over blood sugar, you prevent an unnecessary insulin response, which in turn helps prevent the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Beans often have a reputation for increasing bloat and gassiness. This is simply because most people are not getting adequate fiber on a regular basis, so the amount of fiber in beans can be a shock to the system. When you regularly include legumes and other fibrous foods in your daily diet, your body will not have this response. In fact, when your body is used to fibrous foods like black beans they will have the opposite impact – keeping bloat and constipation at bay. If you find you are still having trouble digesting them, it might be time to bring in digestive enzymes.

Cacao is a treat with benefits

Cacao is the other star of this recipe, giving the brownies a rich chocolate flavor, but also adding a slew of benefits for the body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its unprocessed form. It simply hasn’t been roasted or sweetened, which is the way we normally enjoy chocolate. We love using raw cacao because it gives us control of the way we sweeten it, plus the micronutrients stay intact with the minimal processing. Cacao is one of the highest plant sources of antioxidants, beating out blueberries, green tea, and wine. Cacao has also been shown to improve the function of blood vessels, help decrease blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the brain.

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can black beans rinsed and drained
2 large eggs or 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds*
1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Optional: ½ cup chocolate chips (if cleansing, use stevia-sweetened)
*If cleansing, make “flax eggs” for this recipe and omit eggs. Simply mix ground flax seeds with 1/4 cup of hot water, stir, and cover for 10 minutes until gel-like consistency forms. 

Directions:

black beans in food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using flax instead of eggs, start by following instructions above. Next, place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, into a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

brownie batter in food processor

Grease and/or parchment-line an 8×8 baking dish.

brownie batter in pan

Pour batter into dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

cut brownies

Let the black bean brownies cool slightly before serving.

stack of black bean brownies

Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble

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