It’s time for a sweet Valentine recipe that protects your heart, too! Black beans add fiber and calcium, making these healthy raspberry protein brownies a nutritious indulgence. They are naturally vegan, made of whole food ingredients, and free of saturated and trans fats, which can more than triple your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Image by Kathy Patalsky
According to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, antioxidants and flavonoids, found in foods such as berries, chocolate, and colorful vegetables, help fight inflammation and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D. offers a few tips and a recipe to help incorporate antioxidants into your everyday diet:
- When grocery shopping for healthful foods, let your eyes be your guide. We are naturally drawn to colorful immune-boosting antioxidants. Aim for at least three green, one red, one purple or blue, one orange-yellow, and one white fruit or vegetable each day.
- Due to lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fiber, and phytochemicals, plant-based diets continue to help protect against heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
- Get creative! The protein brownies below using black beans, dates, and natural raspberry jam. This adds about 5 grams of fiber and protein per serving while remaining free of cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats.
Special Diet Notes & Options: Raspberry Protein Brownies
By ingredients, these protein brownies are vegan, vegetarian, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free (with an all-fruit jam).
We haven’t tested them gluten-free, but if I were to trial, I would use 1/4 cup certified gluten-free oat flour or your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour. Because this recipe uses just a small amount of flour, it is not as reliant on gluten.
- 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup all-fruit raspberry jam
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
- Combine the black beans, dates, jam, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and process again.
- Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top looks set. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week.