Black Bean Brownies

black bean brownieThis recipe is from the archives. These brownies were made for my mother for her birthday dinner back in March, but as I was thumbing through my recipes (you know, the ones that I have stowed away with the best of intentions to post) I stumbled across them, and decided they were just too good not to share with you. Besides, they are full of fiber, gluten and sugar-free. But aside from health benefits (if you can call it that – this still is, after all, a brownie), these babies are brimming with rich chocolate flavor. (And if you’re wondering, no, they don’t taste “beany” at all!) They make a wonderful, simple dessert as is, but they could always be adorned with a ball of ice cream on top (for my Mom’s birthday, I used them as a base for a hot fudge sundae). I found this glorious recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, who found it through Ania Catalano’s Baking with Agave Nectar. If these brownies are any indication of how awesome Ania’s recipes are, perhaps I need to pick up a copy of this book myself!

Black Bean Brownies, adapted from Ania Catalano

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c unsalted butter
2 c canned black beans, drained well
1 c walnuts, chopped
1 T vanilla extract
¼ c (granulated) instant coffee
¼ t sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ c light agave nectar (or honey)

 Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, instant coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

 Makes about 28 3-4 inch brownies.

Update: I am so excited about the flexibility in this recipe. A Dash of Sass created a raspberry brownie cake with this recipe, and it looks absolutely amazing! I was so inspired, that I’m in the process of making this for my mother-in-law for her birthday!  Check it out – it looks divine!


  1. nutmegnanny says

    As soon as I read the title of this post I knew immediately where you got this recipe. I just love Heidi’s recipes:) I’m glad you liked this recipe. I have been thinking about making it but was not sure how it would turn out. Obviously delicious:)

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Nutmegnanny – I love Heidi’s recipes too. I have her book, Super Natural Cooking, and while I’ve only made a few things from it (so far), I love to look at the amazing photographs and read those recipes!

      Jenn – Thanks, they were very moist and fudgy!

      Lululu – I thought the swirls were cool too, thanks!

  2. says

    They look so fudgy, but it’s hard to believe they’re not beany tasting. I believe you though! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe and since it’s inherently gluten free, I can!

  3. says

    I’ll bet these are totally worth a try! Amazing what you can do with a legume… even after years of cooking wonderful things with beans, I’m still always amazed!

    I’m torn on the agave nectar, though. I know it’s low-glycemic, but it’s also really high in fructose (which, from what I’ve read, isn’t the best). Any good news on that? I’d welcome it!!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Almost Slowfood – They’re more fudgy than chewy, but delicious nonetheless. Chewy is my favorite, and I will soon be working to make a gluten-free chewy brownie. I’ve been craving one…

      • tastyeatsathome says

        Ellen – Promise they’re not beany! They’re fudgy and chocolatey for sure though!

        Katrina – when you have a chocolate craving next time, these should be on your list! :)

        Lo – I am of course not a nutritionist or a doctor, so I can’t speak that one sweetener is healthier than another. I’ve read information that talks both highly of agave, and some that does not. And I’ve seen some information that says that too much fructose is not good for you. The key, in my non-expert opinion, is moderation of any sweetener. I prefer agave because it tastes good (unlike some sweeteners that taste bitter or “off”), it doesn’t cause a sugar “rush” or “crash”, and it’s from a natural source. Of course, you can choose to use any sweetener you desire – honey is an easy substitute, or you could use sugar (which I do still use in my baking too!). I don’t wish to make huge health claims – I just know that when my family eats sweets, I like to use agave when possible. Thanks for asking – and if you find anything else about it, I’ll be happy to hear about it!

  4. says

    I LOVE this recipe! In fact, I used the same recipe to make a double layer brownie cake with a raspberry filling. Utterly delicious and not-so-sinful. :-)

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Kate – wow, that sounds AMAZING. Do you have it on your blog?

      Teanna, hanna, Simply Life, Reeni – Thanks!

      Amy – I wonder how your version would compare too! Interesting…maybe we should do a beany brownie-off!

  5. says

    These look awesome. I’m forwarding the recipe to DH who is the dessert maker around here. He’s also going gluten-free, so this will be a Godsend!

  6. other says

    Somebody sent me a link to these brownies and they look great. But that recurring pop-up-like box was soooo annoying I’ll avoid this site in the future.

  7. says

    I love black bean brownies and made them for the last family get together. No one knew there were beans in them. Mine did not have swirls though, so I really love yours!!

  8. says

    Wow, interesting! Sounds unique to we Americans but why wouldn’t it be delicious? I’ve eaten many sweet red bean desserts in China.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Amber – Agreed! So many things that are the norm in other parts of the world sound strange to Americans (and vice versa, I’d imagine). Beans and chocolate go well together naturally, I think, because of the earthy flavors both possess.

      Meatlessmama and MaryMoh – Thank you! I love the swirls too.

      Other – I have checked and have had others check, and no one sees a pop-up like box. I sent you an email asking for more details – if you do see this, please let me know. My intention is never to annoy, especially not with pop-up boxes.

      SippitySup/Greg – Thank you! I can’t take credit for the creativity, of course, but I’ll go ahead and take credit for the beauty part! LOL

      Cindy – I hope he loves it!

      Duodishes and Figtreeapps – Thank you!

  9. says

    Wow I must make these! My boyfriend loves brownies and so do I, but he understands portion control and I don’t! I wouldn’t feel as guilty eating 2 or 3 of these :)

  10. says

    I’ve read about black bean brownies before but never had the courage to make them. After seeing your black bean brownies, I’m so tempted to make these now because they look delish!

  11. says

    Alta! Ted made 2 batches of these brownies – one as a test, that the family will pick at for a couple of days, and another batch to take to a church pot luck today. They were a huge hit! Thanks so much for this cool option!

  12. says

    Those are the best black bean brownies I’ve ever seen. I’ve made them a few times myself and the results were good but never stellar! Yours look delicious!!


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