Amazing Black Bean Brownies

Black beans and ground walnuts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of rich, chewy brownies, but that's exactly what intrigued me when I found this recipe. They are gluten-free, agave-sweetened, and pack a serious protein punch. Skeptical? I was too. And believe me, this was going to be a recipe I snuck in while my two picky eaters were at school. Well, they turned out delicious! Moist, perfectly chocolaty, and no trace of beanie-ness. It was lots of fun to reveal the secret ingredients as the kids were begging for seconds.

{photo: 101 Cookbooks}

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned is fine)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan (or jellyroll pan) with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.


  1. i love the idea of sneaking beans into brownies!

    i keep reading about how terrible agave is, however. it's extremely (heat) processed, not very natural (it's not a nectar at all), and contains more fructose that HFCS. chemically, it seems worse than white sugar, and not as good, as say raw honey or maple syrup. what are your reasons for using agave?

  2. So I have these in the oven right now. My mom tried the recipe and said they truly were amazing. I am still getting used to cooking sweets with strange ingredients, and it's hard for me to tell when they are done. I hope I get it right on these ones. They are looking puffed but still jiggly if that makes sense.

  3. As a nursing mama with a baby boy who goes kooky if I eat chocolate, I thought I'd be brave and try these with carob. Now I am usually a devout dark chocolate lover, but after several months of cocoa-free living, I am getting pretty open to that other brown pod..enter the carob version.

    I substituted 6 Tbs of carob powder and 2 Tbs of butter for the chocolate and added carob chips to the batter. I added a heaping tsp of cinnamon and doubled the vanilla as well as the instant coffee substitute powder. I also added a drop of almond extract and substituted honey for agave. (did i mention that I made half the recipe?)

    The result? This recipe does make for some pretty satisfying, incredibly high protein bars that are fudgy and moist. The carob is, well..caroby but actually pretty good. I will definetly make them again and I think that made with chocolate, they would be great!


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