Many years ago, a wonderful sugar-free, gluten-free recipe creator shared her healthy black bean brownies recipe with us. Amy Green has since moved on from her days as a blogger and cookbook author, but we still have this great dessert from her collection. It’s naturally dairy-free, flourless, optionally nut-free, wonderfully rich, tender, and moist. Yet each bite is relatively low sugar, and even boasts a little dose of protein and fiber. In fact, these delicious treats are seriously snack worthy!
These Dairy-Free Black Bean Brownies are Low Sugar, Flourless & Fudgy
Amy’s recipe was buried in our news section, so we’ve updated it and given it a new home in our recipe section. We love that she uses everyday ingredients to make these healthy dairy-free black bean brownies, so anyone can bake them, special diet or not. I also have some quick answers to recipe FAQs.
Is Chocolate Dairy-Free?
Chocolate is a naturally dairy-free food. It’s what companies add to it that becomes problematic. Fortunately, unsweetened chocolate is usually made without dairy. Baker’s Chocolate is an old stand by, and Simple Truth is another cost effective option. But you you are concerned about may contain statements, I would look into brands like Scharffenberger (kosher pareve) and Pascha (allergy-friendly) to see if they are safe for your needs.
What’s the Best Substitute for Coconut Oil?
As noted below, Amy recommends using a non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening as a substitute, like Spectrum. You can use your favorite baking oil instead, but the brownies won’t set up as firmly when refrigerated. The coconut oil (or palm shortening) solidifies when chilled, giving these brownies a denser, fudgier texture. However, swapping another baking oil for the coconut oil will reduce the saturated fat (not the overall fat) by about 4 grams.
Can I Use Other Beans?
Black beans lend a darker “brownie” color. But in a pinch, similar beans like white or pinto beans should perform just fine.
What’s the Best Substitute for Agave Nectar?
If you don’t keep agave on hand, we like honey or maple syrup as substitutes in this recipe.
Do You Have an Egg-Free Option?
I can recommend consulting our Egg Substitute Guide, but this is a heavily egg-dependent recipe. I recommend trying this Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies Recipe instead. If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone! See this post: Are Eggs Dairy?
I Love Coconut! Can I Use it Instead of the Nuts?
Yes! If you want to add even more coconut flavor and another layer of texture, toast 1/2 to 3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes in a 350ºF oven for 3 to 5 minutes, just until it begins to get lightly golden brown. Omit the nuts. Before baking, sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes across the top of your brownies, and gently press them part way into the batter.
Special Diet Notes: Healthy Black Bean Brownies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, gluten-free, grain-free, optionally nut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
For coconut-free black bean brownies, substitute your non-hydrogenated shortening for the coconut oil. You can alternatively substitute your favorite baking oil, but the brownies won’t set up as firmly and fudgy when refrigerated.
- 4 ounces dairy-free unsweetened chocolate
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 very ripe banana (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 extra large eggs
- ⅓ cup agave nectar
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted, chopped and divided (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and line the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. Grease the pan and paper.
- In a bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave. Heat for 1 minute, whisk vigorously. Heat in additional 15 second intervals, whisking vigorously between each heating, until the chocolate is just melted. Do not overheat or the chocolate will sieze.
- Whisk the instant coffee and salt into the chocolate.
- Add the beans, banana, 1 egg, and vanilla extract to your food processor or high-power blender. Process until completely smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add the chocolate mixture and process again until smooth.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the agave and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, until light.
- Scrape the bean mixture into the bowl with eggs and mix on medium thoroughly incorporated. Mix in ½ cup of the chopped nuts (if using).
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Top with the remaining nuts (if using), and press the topping lightly into the batter.
- Bake the brownies for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.
- Let the brownies cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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