Black Bean Brownies

“Brownies can’t be healthy!”

Says, who?

It’s easy to believe a chocolate brownie could never be healthy, but that’s just not true. What if we told you there is a brownie that has health benefits and uses ingredients accessible at the Pantry or at a low cost at your local grocer? Well, we just did.

Join Special Projects Coordinator Steven for this month’s Take it to the Kitchen.

In the Kitchen

Black. Bean. Brownies. It might sound odd and there was some definite hesitation at first, but I took it to the kitchen to try it myself and share with you. At NLCP, we work to come up with healthy and creative ways to use ingredients readily available at the Pantry through our PEAS initiative.

On the eve of my cooking adventure, I overheard a Pantry shopper talking to a volunteer about baking and using substitutes. I joined in on the conversation after she mentioned applesauce and brownies. Caught off guard, I explained to her what I was attempting—black beans brownies with applesauce.

She warned me that making brownies using applesauce to substitute oil can end messy, but to “just keep experimenting until you get it right.” With that knowledge, I stuck to what I had, oil.


I started by making sure to rinse the canned black beans. This helps remove all the added preservatives.

When I added the first seven ingredients (black beans, eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar, salt, cocoa powder) the consistency didn’t look right. It was too soupy. Was I missing something? I decided I needed to puree the beans a little to make a thicker texture. I brought in my “magic wand” or more commonly referred to as a hand blender.


After I blended the black beans, the texture was more trusting to put in the oven for 30 minutes. I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top and tossed the brownies in the oven at 350° F. When I checked the brownies after 30 minutes, they had pulled away from the pan, letting me know they were ready.

The Brownie Test

Now, the brownie test. Were these really going to taste like any other brownie or were they going to taste like black beans?

Smell test. They definitely smelled like chocolate brownies.

Visual test. They looked like brownies.

Texture test. When I cut into them, the texture reminded me more of fudge and less like a chewy brownie. No complaints there.

Taste test. My taste buds couldn’t pick up the slightest taste of black beans. They were delicious!

I highly recommend taking it to the kitchen and trying a twist to the classic chocolate brownie. They’re fudgy, tender, moist, studded with gooey chocolate chips, quick, and easy. Even if you are hesitant to make them for your friends and family, do it! I guarantee no one will even realize they’re eating black beans. Plus, for your gluten free crowd, you’ve got them covered.


Sold? You can find the recipe here.