These black bean brownies are moist, fudgy, and secretly healthy! This nutritious treat is vegan, flourless, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup.
There are two types of people in this world:
- People who have made and LOVE black bean brownies.
- People who haven’t tried black bean brownies, because they’re scared of putting beans in their brownies. Which, I mean, fair. 😉
There is no in-between. Believe me, I wouldn’t make such a bold statement if I didn’t really believe it. This black bean brownie recipe is a must-try!
This recipe uses mostly pantry staple ingredients! To keep these free of some of the most common food allergens, I’ve ditched the egg, swapped flour for oats, and kept these nut and refined sugar free. These are also naturally gluten free – as long as you’re using certified gluten free oats – and vegan!
- Black Beans – the base for our brownies. Beans create an ultra fudge-y texture and add tons of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re not a fan of black beans, be sure to check out my white bean blondies, which are made with great northern beans!
- White Vinegar – works with baking soda to give the brownies a lift so they don’t become too dense. Yes, this is necessary. No, you can’t taste it. Apple cider vinegar will work as a substitute.
- Pumpkin Puree – works as an egg replacement to keep these vegan while also helping to bind other ingredients together. You can’t taste the pumpkin, so if you’re not a pumpkin fan, have no fear! If you don’t have pumpkin, you can try mashed banana instead.
- Coconut Oil – works as a butter substitute and helps provide a rich, gooey texture. Oil actually adds more moisture than butter in baked goods. You can replace coconut oil with any other neutral flavored oil — avocado oil, canola oil, etc. — or even vegan butter. I don’t recommend substituting the oil for applesauce or other fat free alternative, unless you’re used to oil free desserts, because they tend to be more gummy.
- Vanilla Extract – provides a rich, warm flavor while also enhancing the other flavors within the brownies. Pure vanilla extract or imitation will be fine in this recipe. Pure vanilla is made with vanilla bean, water, and alcohol whereas imitation vanilla is made without vanilla beans. Imitation is cheaper and often does not taste any different than pure vanilla extract in baked goods, so the choice is yours!
- Maple Syrup – our natural sweetener that’s packed with minerals! Be sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Agave would also work or even honey if you’re not vegan.
- Old-Fashioned Oats – act as the flour, giving substance and bulk to the brownie batter. Use certified gluten free oats, if necessary. Quick cooking oats should also be fine to use (*not tested), but steel cut oats will not work; they need to be cooked prior to consuming.
- Baking Soda – our leavening agent which works with white vinegar to fluff up the brownies.
- Cocoa Powder – an unsweetened chocolate product that adds a rich, chocolate flavor to the brownies. It also helps mask the taste of the black beans.
- Salt – balances the sweetness from the maple syrup and enhances the other flavors.
- Dark chocolate Chips – adds additional sweetness and chocolate flavor to the brownies. Feel free to use whatever chocolate chips you have on hand, but be sure to use a dairy free variety to keep these vegan.
How to make
These healthy brownies couldn’t be easier: throw everything into a food processor, process until smooth, and bake!
- Combine beans, vinegar, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, maple syrup, oats, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor then process until very smooth.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly in a prepared baking pan, bake, and devour!
Why use black beans in brownies?
Black beans contain so many nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and folate. They can lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of diabetes, and support heart health. They also help to create an ultra fudge-y texture. Plus, they’re very mild in flavor; you can’t taste them!
These brownies are something you can feel good about feeding your family. Bonus: they’re toddler and husband approved!
Are black bean brownies healthy?
Yes! And these brownies aren’t just “healthy for a brownie”, these brownies are absolutely PACKED with good for you ingredients:
- Black Beans – full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They may help lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of diabetes, and support heart health.
- Pumpkin – packed with fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, which helps strengthen your immune system.
- Coconut Oil – a healthy fat to keep us satisfied. Some people disagree here, so feel free to use YOUR favorite oil.
- Maple Syrup – a refined sugar free, natural sweetener that’s loaded with minerals.
- Oats – a whole grain that’s naturally gluten free (be sure to check for a certified GF label). They’re an amazing source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, may help lower blood sugar levels, and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Dark Chocolate – rich in antioxidants and minerals, and contains less sugar than other varieties of chocolate.
One LARGE brownie has about 240 calories, 10 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein!
What do black bean brownies taste like?
We know that black bean brownies are healthier than regular brownies, but do they actually taste good? YES! These brownies taste like a rich, chocolate-y, fudge-y brownie! Most importantly: you can not taste the beans! And because we use a high powered food processor, you don’t get a weird texture from the beans either.
How to store
Store cooked and cooled brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 3 months.
To serve, thaw, if necessary, then enjoy chilled, room temperature, or warmed in the microwave.
Black Bean Brownies
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted and cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup room temperature
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats certified gluten free, if necessary
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cups dark chocolate chips + handful more for topping, use a vegan variety if necessary
- Maldon sea salt optional for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8x8 inch non-stick square baking pan with cooking spray.
- Place black beans, vinegar, pumpkin, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, oats, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt into a food processor.
- Process until very smooth, then stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan, top with more chocolate chips, then bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with optional Maldon sea salt, then let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
- Cut into bars, serve with vegan ice cream (if desired), and enjoy!
- Take 5 seconds to rate this recipe below. We greatly appreciate it!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published October 1, 2015 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.