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February 13, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 5 Faves: 1

Black Bean Brownies: A Fudgy Delight Your Heart and Tastebuds Will Thank You For!

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Dietitian's Dish Blog Series

As a self-confessed foodie, it only seemed appropriate to put together an appropriately themed treat to honor both American Heart Month with a batch of my favorite rich chocolate brownies.

You may be wondering "How exactly brownies can be heart healthy?"

Well, the trick lies with the secret ingredient… black beans.

Yes, beans! The fiber-filled, protein packed vegetable that I aim to add to my diet at least 5 times each week. Black beans (along with kidney beans) are also loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, something all of us could use more of to reduce the inflammation in our bodies.

This simple ingredient allows you to cut back on the amount of fat needed in the recipe, while boosting the nutrition at the same time! BONUS: the fiber from the black beans will help you feel satisfied after only a single slice.

For those of you who have attempted Black Bean Brownies before without success, I promise you, these ones are different. While some brownies turn out dry (or spongy for those using applesauce), the beans transform the brownies into a fudge-like state that is absolutely irresistible. What’s really great is that you can satisfy for chocolate craving with just over 100 calories while squeezing in 2 grams of fiber!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies 

Whether celebrating the day with friends, family, or a special someone, I hope this recipe enables you to bring a smile to someone’s face (without derailing them from their healthy new year’s resolution)!

Ingredients (Yields: 16 Servings)

  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract as desired, baking powder, and salt and process until smooth.  Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

120 calories, 5g fat (1.5g saturated, 0.3g omega-3), 95mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g protein

Recipe Adapted from

What do you think of the secret ingredient? Surprised?

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  • These brownies look delicious! I will have to bake some soon. Jessica, your recipes always look so tasty and unique!

    I will be celebrating Valentine's Day with my husband, my friend and her husband and their newborn Sophia. :) We will probably make some dinner and dessert (possibly these brownies now!) and then watch a movie.

    What will you be doing for Valentine's Day? Do you and your husband have plans? :)

  • Thanks for your comments, Bri! I hope you do add these to your own sweet treat repertoire - while they are not calorie-free, they are a great way to pack a hint of nutrition into your deserts :)

    This Valentine's Day will be the 2 year anniversary from when my husband proposed to me in San Diego. As he popped the question at a brunch with "Sam the Cooking Guy", we plan to watch one of his cooking shows while cooking up one of his tasty recipes Here is his website if you are curious:

    Enjoy your evening & remember, those Valentines (dark) chocolates even pack a touch of antioxidants and polyphenols for a healthy heart!

    In good health,

  • they look the same - but do they taste the same. My husband is a brownie lover! I think he would notice any difference in a recipe (like the beans). However these would be great for the Christmas holiday at a cookie swap. So can I ask? Do the beans in the brownies make you toot?

  • so one more time - I forgot to mention I don't have a big food processor so how else can I make these brownies? I do have a small processor that can do the beans - will the hand mixer work? Also after reading the recipe closer I can't believe there is no flour in this recipe, now I really want to try it.

  • Great questions, Nancy. As there are only 2g of fiber per serving in this recipe, I certainly would not expect any gas bubbles to occur as a result of eating them - now if you ate the entire pan, it may be an entirely different story as then you would have ingested far too many calories along with 3 1/2 servings of beans.

    As far as smashing the beans down into a smooth puree. You can certainly use any kitchen tools to accomplish this mission. Even a good fork or potato masher would work as long as you gave it the time and effort it deserves, the smoother you can make them, the better.

    Hope you enjoy the recipe! You may be surprised as it is VERY hard to notice the difference and I would never have known there were beans included had I not made them myself.

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