Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies


Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

My first reaction when one of my followers on Instagram told me about black bean brownies was something along the lines of: what? You can put beans in a brownie?? Once I let that thought kind of sink in, I was intrigued. I searched around a bit online and sure enough, black bean brownies was a thing. Seemed legit enough, so I got straight to it and started cooking up some black beans.

 

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

 

After that I just mixed some dates for sweetness, vanilla essence, cacao powder and a few tablespoons of peanut butter before popped it in the oven. I tried not to get my hopes up since I had a creeping suspicion that you would be able to taste the beans. I mean, it does seem a little bit too good to be true that you can make delicious fudge brownies that is also perfectly nutritionally balanced. One bite was all it took to win me over. In order to be completely sure that the beans were unnoticeable, I served it to my family as if they were just the regular brownies I usually make. I let them devour the entire thing before asking them whether they could guess the secret ingredient or not. My little sister asked if it was potatoes or rice (those ideas were certainly… umh, out of the box!). My parents were clueless. I dramatically revealed that it was in fact black beans. The response? “shut. the. front. door.”

Victory. *insert my trademark evil smirk*

 

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Ingredients, makes 8 x 8 inch pan:

  • 3 cups cooked black beans (or drained and rinsed canned beans)
  • 2-3 cups dates, pitted *
  • 1/2 cup high-quality unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter (or almond butter if you dislike peanuts)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp maldon salt
  • Raspberries or other berries, for garnish

Optional add-ins:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius/215 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by processing together the dates, vanilla and nut butter in a food processor (or high-speed blender) until you have a creamy paste. Add in the black beans as well, and continue until properly combined. You want this to get as smooth as possible without having to add any liquid. If you find that this is outright impossible, you can add up to 2 tbsp of water to make it easier. Scoop this into a bowl. Like you can see from the picture below, the dough should not be too sticky! If it is, you added in too much water. Do not panic though instead just follow the remaining steps, reading the last one thoroughly.

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

2. Add in the remaining ingredients into the bowl and knead it together using your hands in order to get it completely mixed. Now is the time to add in any add-ins if you wish (it tastes amazing plain as well!).

3. Grab a relatively small baking pan and line it with parchment. Dust the bottom of the pan with a bit of cacao powder before spreading in the batter. Press it down firmly using your palms and place the pan in the oven. It should bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it has a nice baked surface (see picture below). It will still be a bit “fudgy” though, which is why you have to allow it to cool completely before slicing into small squares. If you added too much water you might need to store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the cake firm up more. It will not affect the taste. Garnish with a fresh berries and enjoy!.

 

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Additional notes (*):

  • I made two batches of this, one using 2 cups of dates and another using 3 cups. Personally I preferred the one using less dates, because it was less sweet and had a richer and fuller taste. Both my parents agreed with this. My little sister (who has more of a sweet tooth) preferred the latter version. Therefore I will leave it to you to decide how much you want to use depending on your preferences. 

 

Vegan Black Bean Fudge Brownies

 

Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter!

 

Comments

  1. Lee says

    just made them! As usual your simple elegant and oil free recipe did nt fail! Trying not to eat them all! :)

    • says

      Awesome to hear that, Diego! I hope you enjoy it ;)

      As for the beans, there are two ways to cook them. The one option would be to soak them overnight, drain and rinse, and boil for 1-2 hours, or until they are soft. The quicker way (which is how I did it for this recipe) is to place the beans in a large pot with plenty of water and cook for 3-4 hours, or until they are tender. When I cook up beans (usually each Sunday) I always make a massive batch (500-1000g dry beans) and freeze them in individual boxes once they have chilled. They keep for several months and just needs to be heated up before you can use them. Perfect for when you need to make a quick dinner, like a bean stew. Usually though in order to make 3 cups cooked beans, you only need 1 1/2 cup dry. You should make at least 2 cups though, just to be sure ;)

    • says

      Hmm, good question! Chickpeas also has a rather neutral taste so there is a very big possibility it would work, but since I have not tried it out for my self I cannot be certain. The only way to know for sure is to try it out, right? ^^

  2. Michaela says

    Great receipe, will definitly give it a try! You said preheat oven too 100 Celsius/215Fahrenheit – is that also the heat for baking it or did increase the temperature afterwards?

  3. says

    This looks fantastic. I want to make it unfortunately my blender is kinda crappy(good for liquid stuff like smoothies) and small and I can’t afford a food processor.

    oh well…

    • says

      Ouch. Sometimes I use a hand blender instead when I cannot be bothered to set up the food processor and though it does not get 100% smooth, it is still a very valid option. You can usually find a good hand blender for a small amount of money, certainly cheaper than buying a food processor. Be sure to let me know how it works out for you!

  4. says

    Delicious! My husband said ´this is my favorite´ and I thought the same :-).
    I just mixed the cacao with the dates, vanilla and beans before doing it all in the oven, perfect combination!
    Thanks a lot for sharing you delicious recipes!

  5. Vanessa says

    Can’t wait to try these! Do you think it would work with Prunes instead of Dates? I can’t find dates by me that do not come with the disclaimer “may contain traces of tree nuts”…which rules them out for us.

    • says

      Texture-wise you can use prunes! I am not completely sure of how it will taste since I have not tried it out for myself, but I assume it would work. Another option which I often do is to use raisins instead of dates. The taste is neutral and still very sweet! Let me know how it works out for you ;)

      • Vanessa says

        Thanks for the tip! I actually found Dates today! Another Question though…I misread the recipe and bought Cocoa powder…how different is that from Cacao powder (I hope not much and that I can use it)?

        • says

          In Norway I am pretty sure cacao and cocoa powder is the exact same thing, and it can easily be substituted for each other. I think the only difference is that cacao powder is less processed than cocoa but other than that you can just use the same amount :)

  6. Jennifer says

    I just made these last night with mixed reviews among my non vegan family. I used canned beans and I think they weren’t soft enough. I’m gonna give this another try cooking my own beans and increasing the dates to 3 cups as you suggested. I personally like them as is!

    • says

      Not surprising, it really is up to each person how sweet they like it. I think once you are used to sugar-free desserts, 2 cups is enough, but it is understandable how it might not be sweet enough for some people. I hope it is better received once you have made it sweeter! ;)

  7. Carmel says

    I have made black bean cookies with a similar recipe and they were fantastic, so I’m keen to try out your brownies! Just wondering whether you use fresh or dried dates in all of your recipes? I’ve tried to look through the comments on your date-containing recipes for an answer but can’t seem to figure it out!

  8. trina says

    hi there ~ i’ve tasted these brownies and they were delicious …but somebody else made them :-P so i’m going to give it a try myself …. i’m in canada so i just wanted to make sure what vanilla essence is and what maldon salt is ? can i use regular vanilla and regular salt ?

    • says

      Hi there,
      I am happy to hear you are wanting to try these out. Vanilla essence is the same as vanilla extract. You can basically use regular vanilla instead. Same goes to the salt. Maldon salt is a very unrefined version of sea salt, which makes it healthier in my opinion. This does however not affect the taste all that much. You can use coarse salt, sea salt or regular table salt instead. I hope you like the brownies! :)

  9. Anna says

    First of all, thank you for such inspiring recipes of healthy vegan recipes! I’ve been vegan for about 4 years but honestly I began eating healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle only a year ago. So I was really happy to come across youк blog here.
    And thank you specifically for this very recipe of unusual but super delicious brownies! I made them even simpler mixing only beans with sugar-free chocolate paste and I love it! I baked some in the oven but unfortunately failed to cut them properly as I overdid them a bit and they got dry and the remains were baked in cups in a microwave! It took a few minutes and the result was the same. :)
    I’ll definitely try out other recipes as well and I’ll try out this one again but with dried fruit and cocoa powder as you adviced.

    • says

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Anna! I am so happy to hear that you find the site inspiring and helpful, I hope you enjoy all the recipes you decide to try out!

      I think in this recipe a lot of the moisture comes from the dates. Hopefully they will come out more fudgy then. It sounds like a really delicious option using the paste though, and certainly a lot quicker when made in the microwave!

      Best wishes and be sure to let me know if you ever have any questions ;)

  10. Helen says

    Hello! Do you have any idea how many calories these are per portion? And how big would a portion be? Thank you!

  11. Sarah says

    These were delicious! I made them plain, and iced with a strawberry basil frosting made out of strawberries, dates, basil and some cashews. Yum! However, my dough was very sticky even though I didn’t add any water? I also used the VitaMix in the end to blend the paste and beans together to make it completely creamy, as my food processor did not remove all the bites.

  12. Lucie says

    Hey hey :D
    I just wanted to give you a big thanks for your recipe! I have been a vegetarian for 7 years but have recently become vegan in order to devote my life to my passion for animal rights. I made another vegan black bean brownie but it tasted like banana, and I was so disappointed, I gave them all to my brother for his flatmates – after making your version, I managed to devour almost the entire pan! These were amazing. Finally I have found something to satisfy my brownie sweet tooth :) unfortunately they are all gone within 24 hours!
    I also made your three ingredient energy date bars, which my dad stole for breakfast – you have won over my meat-eating family and boyfriend.
    Love from Sydney, Australia x

  13. Caileigh Feldman says

    I made these last night with walnuts in them and I had a hard time waiting the hour and a half for them to bake because I was so curious to try them! After they had cooked, I ate one hot out of the oven and it was definitely good. I put them in the fridge overnight and had two for lunch today and they were amazing! I think I couldn’t quite taste all the flavor when they were hot but after eating them today I am 100% sold. So rich and flavorful and healthful ! I can’t wait to try your other recipes. Keep up the brilliant work !

  14. Nina says

    Solveig, I love your recipes and I hope hope hope you´ll get back to your blog very soon. If you plan to publish a vegan cooking book – let me know:-)! I´ll definitely buy it!

    Best, Nina

  15. Cate says

    OMG! I made these for snacks on my flight tomorrow and I can’t believe how yummy they are! SO rich and fudgy. My mom even loved them and she’s so picky about my vegan cooking. This is definitely my new go-to recipe for brownies!!

  16. agentsaria@yahoo.com says

    Hi Solveig! What kind of dates do you use? I’m thinking about ordering them in bulk from a website to cut down on cost, and there are many different types to choose from. Right now I use Deglet, but is there one better? Thanks!~Judy

    • says

      I usually use Rotab dates! They are by far my favorite and are perfect for baking. Deglet noor are also a nice option. Just make sure they are not drenched in syrup as that kind of defeats the health-aspect of using dates! :)

    • says

      I have never attempted to make this without any nuts, so I really cannot vouch for the result. I personally find that the nuts really brings out the fullness of the brownies, all while making it taste very rich. It also aids in rounding out the taste, that way you avoid it tasting like beans. You might want to add some other sort of fat source, like maybe some sugar-free chopped dark chocolate? Hopefully you find a way to make it work!

      • says

        Good point, thanks! I don´t avoid oils, so I might add some unrefined red palm oil :) Not the same, I know, but it might work…will let you know!

        • says

          Ok, I think my beans had too much liquid in them, it´s more of a pudding even though I baked it reeeeally long and in the second round even on much higher temperature :D next time I´ll try to make my beans really dry and also add three cups of dates instead of two, so it tastes less beany and more like dessert :D in my case baking is always adjusting, adjusting, adjusting haha

  17. Jason says

    If i may suggest next time you should try using azuki beans instead of black beans. azuki beans have a mild sweet taste.

    ….by the way i really enjoy reading your blog.

  18. Savage says

    I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant to try a bean brownie recipe – I tried one earlier this year and it was futile – but this sounded too interesting to pass up, what-with the dates added in. After my batch was cooled off and I had a bite of one – wow! It was amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this delicious, rich, healthy recipe!

  19. Ida says

    That sounds delicious! I Wonder how many dl there goes for one of your cups (we don’t have cups in DK, and I know the size of a ‘cup’ is different from country to country.
    Have a nice week!

  20. Ellen says

    So today is the first time I baked since going vegan two months ago, and this is what I decided to do. I wanted to do your lemon and blueberry cake originally since I love fresh fruity flavors more than chocolate, but my store was out of unsalted cashews(!!!!!!!) But these were divine, and so thought my mom who happen to be most skeptical about most things vegan.

  21. Lynn says

    I just made this last night and they are freaking awesome! My husband who is very skeptical and picky ate three last night! So good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

If you have any questions, feedback, or just want to say hi, leave it in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as time allows!