I have a bit of an obsession with finding recipes that sneakily swap in good-for-you ingredients. Chocolate muffins made with beets? I’m there. Blondies with chickpeas baked in? Sign me up. So I was psyched when I came across this black bean brownie recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Laura Lea Balanced.
The recipe couldn’t be easier: Combine seven simple ingredients in a food processor or blender, dump them in a pan, add chocolate chips (because of course), then bake for 50 minutes. Done.
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Even better, the black bean brownies taste like the real thing but pack major protein you won’t even taste. “My inspiration for adding legumes into a dessert came from the most wonderful stand at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City, called Body and Soul Bakeshop,” Laura Lea, who’s also a holistic chef, told me. After tasting their inventive creations—like baked goods made with chickpea flour—she tried her hand at making treats with beans.
“I thought gooey brownies were the perfect vehicle for the creamy nature of legumes and black beans would be best aesthetically,” says Laura Lea, who admits she riffed on other black bean brownie recipes by adding superfoods like almond butter to her version. Also in the mix? Maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract that lend rich flavor to the fudgy bars.
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The nutrition nerd in me fell in love with the beany brownies because they tasted decadent but were actually high in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and plant-based protein, meaning they left me feeling satiated instead of craving all the sweets. The toughest part about baking them? Waiting for them to cool (the agony!), then deciding how to enjoy them.
“My absolute favorite way to eat them is warmed up with a drizzle of almond butter and a scoop of Nadamoo vanilla ice cream, but I’ve also enjoyed them in a breakfast bowl with yogurt, granola, and fresh berries,” says Laura Lea.
Brownies for breakfast? Now that’s my kind of girl. Visit Laura Lea Balanced or see below for the full recipe. Happy baking!
1 15 ounce can unsalted black beans (organic if possible), drained and rinsed thoroughly
6 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup maple syrup, grade A
2 teaspoons vanilla powder or extract
1/2 cup unsalted almond butter
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a loaf tin with parchment paper, making sure there are at least 5 inches of parchment overflowing on each side.
Combine all ingredients except chopped chocolate in a food processor or high speed blender. Puree until completely smooth, scraping down the side as needed.
Empty mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in chopped chocolate/chocolate chips. Turn dough into loaf pan and shake gently to create an even layer. At this point, you can trim back some of the parchment but leave an inch or two overhanging.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a tiny bit of batter. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before removing and slicing. If you can wait an hour, the pieces will hold together better.