Black beans might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of decadent brownies. I feel you. When I first heard about the “black bean brownie” I was pretty skeptical myself. But my curiosity got the better of me, and I got in the kitchen to start experimenting.

My thoughts? I’m almost shocked that traditional brownie recipes don’t call for black beans. That’s how good they were. The creamy texture of the beans lends itself to fudgy perfection. The flavor of the beans is completely hidden by the chocolate. And, the added bonus is that the beans are full of protein and fiber. In fact, the brownies can almost pass as a perfectly balanced dinner all on their own! (Just kidding. I am totally being sarcastic. Please do not do that! I think I’d have my dietitian’s license revoked…) 

Anyway, back to the point – these brownies are amazing and you should really give them a try. But first let me explain a little bit more about the recipes below because I got a bit carried away. First I made your basic walnut brownie recipe. Traditional, classic, delicious. But then I thought, why stop there? So for the next two batches I tapped into my culinary creativity and turned up the volume a bit. As you will see, with just a few swaps and additions the flavor and texture get more depth and dimension.

Which one will you like best? There’s only one way to find out – try them for yourself!

What you’ll need: food processor, bowl, fork, 9x9 baking pan. Average ingredient count: 10. All brownies are gluten-free and vegan. Now let's get down to business.

INGREDIENTS: (each recipe makes 9 brownies)

Walnut Brownie:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Fig and Pistachio Brownie:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
  • ¼ cup sunflower butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup diced dried figs
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios

Coconut Espresso Brownie:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 shot espresso
  • ½ cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the oats until they turn to a powder.
  3. Empty oat powder into a bowl and add the beans to the food processor. Pulse until beans turn into a creamy paste. (Adding a tablespoon of water may help the food processor along.)
  4. Combine bean paste, oat powder, and the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips/walnuts/figs/pistachio/coconut/espresso beans. Mix until combined.
  5. Add in the remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.
  6. Bake in a greased 9x9 baking pan for 22-25 minutes. Allow brownies to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
  7. Discover the power of the black bean brownie and find out which version you like the best!

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

  • If you are making these brownies for someone who is on a strict gluten-free diet, just make sure that you buy gluten-free oats to ensure that there is no cross contamination with gluten.
  • Try to get dark chocolate chips that are at least 66% cacao. I use Enjoy Life chips.
  • If you haven’t heard of sunflower butter, I’m about to change your life. It is so delicious you might never use peanut butter again. Okay – that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But still, try the sunflower butter. It’s awesome.
  • Allowing the brownies to cool is the hardest part. But seriously, you’ll end up with a big pile of mush otherwise. Feel free to ignore me, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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