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Monday, April 6, 2015

Recipe: Healthy Grain Free Black Bean Brownie Cake

Healthy Flourless Black Bean Brownie Cake Recipe | low fat, gluten free, grain free, flourless, refined sugar free, clean eating friendly, low calorie brownie recipe

Note: This recipe isn't strictly paleo as it contains legumes. That said, some people on a paleo diet do consume beans/legumes so be sure to make your own decision based on your own personal diet! 

I often find that the recipes I don't expect to be a huge hit are the ones that become family favourites. You see, in the midst of the Easter chocolate madness, I asked Jesse what his favourite chocolate recipe I've made lately was (as I was putting together our Healthy Chocolate Recipes post) and he said "those brownies you made the other week...." 

I was racking through my brain, training to figure out what brownie recipe he was talking about when he said "the black bean brownies". 

Say whaaaat?

I knew he loved them and I knew they were delicious - but out of all the chocolate recipes I've made lately my fussy husband chose the recipe with beans as a base?!

Even I was skeptical when I first started experimenting with this recipe. Beans in brownies? Sure, people did it - but people also eat some ridiculously gross tasting combinations and call it delicious just because it has a healthy tag...

Healthy Gluten Free Black Bean Brownie Cake Recipe | low fat, gluten free, grain free, flourless, refined sugar free, clean eating friendly, low calorie brownie recipe

I'd tried some pretty awful black bean brownies, but I was determined to come up with the ultimate recipe - and based on Jesse and my family's response, I think it's safe to say I did just that! 

Best of all? These brownies are totally healthy as well as low fat, low calorie, grain free, gluten free - and they can even be refined sugar free too! They're so good that we now buy extra black beans just so we can make up a batch whenever we feel like some fudgy brownies. 

But perhaps don't tell your fussy husband/kids/friends/family that they have beans until after they're raving about how delicious they are ;) 

But let me give you the recipe so that you can try them for yourself! >> 

Flourless Low Fat Black Bean Brownie Cake Recipe | low fat, gluten free, grain free, flourless, refined sugar free, clean eating friendly, low calorie brownie recipe

Healthy Flourless Black Bean Brownie Cake Recipe makes 9 brownies
gluten free, low fat, low calorie, grain free, refined sugar free option
get the nutritional information here

260g black beans, drained and rinsed (this is simply a regular 425g/15.5 oz can drained and rinsed)
3 eggs 
3 tbsp coconut oil or neutral tasting oil of your choice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder 
Pinch of salt
1/4 + 1/8 cup - 1/2 cup (75-100g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
Optional but recommended: About 1/4-1/3 cup chocolate chips to mix through your batter
  • Preheat your oven to 180C/355F 
  • Grease and/or line an 8x8" or 6x6" brownie pan and set aside (we like to use a smaller tin for thicker fudgier brownies, however, the photographed brownies were made in an 8" pan)
  • In your food processor, process your black beans on high until smooth. 
  • Add in your eggs, oil and vanilla and process until smooth. 
  • Add in your cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt and process until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Stir through your chocolate chips (if using) and pour into your baking tin. 
  • Bake for 20-35 miutes (depending on the size of your tin) or until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the centre of your brownies removes clean. 
  • Allow to cool before slicing into squares and/or frosting if desired (we love frosting them with this frosting recipe or this refined sugar free coconut chocolate fudge sauce)
In the Cuisine Companion: Blend your black beans on S12 for 1 min with the ultrablade, scraping down the sides halfway through to incorporate everything. Add in your eggs, coconut oil and vanilla and mix on S8 for 30 seconds. Add in your cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, mixing on S8 until combined. Stir through your chocolate chips and pour your batter into your baking tin.

But tell me, what was the last recipe you made that was a huge hit with your friends/family/partner?
And what's your favourite chocolatey treat?



  1. Beans really aren't what I'd normally put in a brownie, but these do look really tasty. Wish I could just try one right now.

  2. That's happens with me too! I'm always surprised by the things they do love the most!

  3. Great recipe! I lost a TON of weight by cutting my carbs! I've been doing low carb/paleo
for over two years. I recommend it to all of my friends needing to 
lose weight. I also recommend the 21 day sugar detox to get started. 
It really helped me get goin! 

  4. beans/legumes are not paleo, so the paleo tag/title is misleading.

  5. Thank you for picking that up, Steph! It's all fixed now - that's what happens when this blogger spends all weekend eating chocolate ;) xx

  6. Perhaps we need to experiment more often! ;P

  7. Hey Alice, they're definitely not what you'd usually put in a brownie! I was very skeptical at first but after lots of testing and tweaking, we came up with this ultimate black bean brownie recipe that Jesse has requested over and over!

  8. Haha yes! If Jesse likes it I think ANYONE would! :P

  9. I was really confused when I was making these because your instructions didn't mention the sugar. But I added it and I'm throwing everything in the oven now. I can't wait to try them!!!

  10. Ah, silly me! Thank you so much for picking this up! I hope you love them! xx

  11. Oh. My. Goodness.
    These are unbelievably delicous!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!

  12. Yay! So glad you love them, Jeannie! Jesse said to let you know that he recommends trying them with white chocolate chips or with peanut butter swirled through - they are his two current favourite additions to these brownies :P (Really, he just keeps suggesting additions so that I keep making more brownies!)

  13. I am on the Auto-Immune Protocol, and am not eating any nuts or seeds. The coconut flour is fine in moderation (since it's not really a nut), but I can't use any nut/seed flours for the almond meal. Could I use Yuca root, or arrowroot/tapioca flour? Or perhaps mashed sweet potato or squash, and reduce the liquid? It sounds much nicer than many "bread" recipes out there that are AIP compliant.

  14. Hi Kate, I have no idea how this recipe would work with substitutes as we only tested it with almond meal, tweaking it until the recipe was absolutely perfect. Any substitution to any recipes will effect the taste, texture and end results so it's important to be aware of that.

    If you're substituting it with anything, I'd perhaps try substituting the almond meal with ground oats/oat flour or possibly arrowroot/tapioca flour. Definitely don't substitute mashed sweet potato or yuca root as that's completely changing the makeup of the bread.

  15. Hi! I am making this recipe today and only have 1/4 cup of almond meal. Any idea what I could do for the missing 1/4 cup of almond meal? I have brown rice flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour?

  16. Hi Melissa, you will get a different end result when substituting ingredients, however, you could try to replace the other 1/4 cup almond flour with 2 tbsp brown rice flour or tapioca flour.

  17. I agree with other comments - this is great! Will definitely be making again. Thanks for the recipe, Kristy! I followed the recipe to the tee and it worked out really well. An interesting non-flavour-related comment I would also make is that it slices really well. I find that my favourite gluten-based banana bread recipe has to rest overnight before slicing, otherwise it crumbles and it's really hard to make straight slices (kind of silly but it really annoys me!). This one, though, slices perfectly, even when piping hot from the oven, so no need to delay the om-nom-nomming. Hurrah! :)

  18. Hi I'm just wondering if I can substitute the almond meal with almond flour? I would love to make this banana bread but I only have almond flour! Thanks!

  19. Hey there! Almond flour and almond meal are actually the same thing! Almond flour isn't actually flour, but ground almonds (thus it's a nut meal!)

  20. Hey Lisa, I am SO glad you loved the recipe! I agree that the recipe is so easy to slice and it really can be eaten straight out of the oven!

    Thank you so much for following the recipe as well! We often get emails from readers who are disappointed when a recipe doesn't work, only to find out they've changed most of the ingredients. We spend HOURS testing and tweaking recipes to make sure they're perfect so it's awesome to hear when readers love them!

  21. I followed your recipe exactly (I weighed my ingredients), and it was wonderful! It was a little too wet, despite being very brown on top, so I'm going to try it again right now and add a tablespoon of chia seeds! I'll find any excuse to use chia ;) thanks so much for the recipe!

  22. Hey Taylor,
    As I mention in the recipe, if your top seems to be cooking faster than the middle of your loaf, simply cover it with foil and allow it to keep on baking until the middle is cooked through. This way the loaf won't dry out and your crust won't burn!

  23. I used a little agave nectar instead of the vanilla extract (I am intolerant to vanilla) and added a little more honey to it and it was just delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  24. My pleasure, Helena! I am so glad you loved the recipe!


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