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Recipe: Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

heart shape brownie

Rich, dark chocolate: It’s not only delicious, but it’s healthy, too, because it’s rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that is thought to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce other risk factors for heart disease.

In fact, some health experts recommend eating one ounce each day of dark chocolate, with from 40 to 70 percent cocoa bean content or “cacao.” Unsweetened cocoa powder also provides nutritious benefits. One tablespoon contains anywhere from 3 to 9 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc.

Of course, cocoa is a common ingredient in sweet baked goods, such as this delicious brownie recipe, but it also can be a surprising ingredient in savory dishes. It adds a rich, slightly bitter taste that perfectly complements meaty flavors, while providing the nutritional benefits of chocolate.

This simple, delicious, flourless brownie is made with both healthy dark chocolate and cocoa. The black beans give it body and a moist texture (without a beany taste), along with added fiber, protein and even more disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s also a gluten-free treat, for those who need or want to avoid wheat flour.

Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed) for the richest chocolate flavor with the highest content of flavonoids.

For easy preparation and clean up, make this in your blender or food processor.

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Coat a 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a blender or food processor, combine eggs, oil and vanilla, and pulse to mix well. Add beans and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape sides of blender or processor with a rubber spatula, as needed. Add sugar and cocoa, blending until mixed, about a minute. Add optional chocolate chips at the end, pulsing just to mix into batter.

Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees about 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.

Nutrition information (per brownie): 104 calories, 17 g carbs, 4 g fat, 3 g protein, 121 mg sodium, 9 g sugar

About Karen Stutzman RD

I am a Ascension Via Christi Hospital clinical dietitian and certified diabetes educator. I received my master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from University of Kansas Medical Center. When I’m not working, I enjoy feeding and watching birds.