Substitute beans in brownies, desserts

There’s something disturbing about making desserts from beans.

There’s nothing sweet about the fibrous legumes.

I had seen a few recipes for cookies and other sweets made with beans in Rocco DiSpirito’s book “Now Eat This! Diet.” I’m a big proponent of substitutions in cooking and baking to make dishes healthier, but I just didn’t think I could stomach beans in my dessert.

I was wrong.

A week ago, I wanted to make a healthy dessert using cocoa powder and coconut. After some Googling, I found a coconut brownie recipe, which calls for 3 cups of pureed black beans.

I love black beans. As a soup. As a side dish. In burritos. I gagged a little when I blended the beans with a little bit of water, the mixture a mud-like cyclone. Mixing the puree with cocoa, flour and sweeteners mitigated my nausea. I wondered if the brownies would emanate smells of baked beans as the batter transformed in my oven.

I smelled chocolate. The brownies looked like brownies. They tasted like brownies — healthy brownies, of course. I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that these brownies are made with beans rather than butter and eggs, which majorly reduces the fat and calorie content and adds fiber and protein.

I adapted the recipe from to reduce sugar and fat. Here’s my recipe for coconut black bean brownies.


Serves 20

3 cups pureed black beans
2 cups Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup skim or low-fat milk
1 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat, or mix whole wheat with all purpose)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Puree black beans with a little water to get a smoothie-like consistency.Add sugar to mixer or bowl, then pour in puree. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla and milk. Add dry ingredients, chocolate and coconut. Pour batter in pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition info: About 155 calories in one serving (compared to 250 calories plus in other recipes)

1 Response

  1. November 7, 2012

    […] More: – A perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe – Try kid-friendly applesauce ornaments – A smart substitution in baked goods — beans! […]

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