Healthy black bean brownies – flour-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free

black bean browniesWhat is it about baking that is just so much fun? Is it taste-testing the batter as you’re preparing it? Could it be watching things bubble and rise in the oven? Devouring the finished product has got to be up there too. Whatever part of baking you love the most, don’t worry – you’ll be happy to hear you DON’T have to give up this most enjoyable pastime when beginning a healthy lifestyle journey. 

Introducing: HEALTHY BAKING!

I know, it sounds like a complete oxymoron. When you think of traditional baked goods – like cookies, cakes, slices, brownies, quiches and whatever else takes your fancy – they all have one thing in common: less-than-ideal ingredients. I mean even the most basic of cake recipes involves creaming together pure fat in the form of butter with pure simple carbs in the form of table sugar, before dumping in a pile of fibre-less white flour. While these recipes make for some pretty delicious treats, they offer very few nutritional benefits. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this healthy black bean brownie recipe, we swap out some of those traditional ingredients for foods that we know our bodies prefer. This healthy brownie recipe swaps:

  • refined table sugar for dates for added fibre, vitamins and minerals
  • white flour for black beans and oats for more fibre and other complex carbohydrates
  • milk chocolate for 70% dark chocolate to lower the sugar content and add a source antioxidants.

As you can see from the easy and effective swaps above, changing ingredients of traditional baking recipes can make these treats much better for you. However, these brownies are still to be considered a “sometimes food,” and their nutritional benefits should not be used as an excuse to eat them after every meal. 

Next time you’re looking for a chocolate hit that won’t leave your gut in distress, try this healthy black bean brownie recipe.

Healthy Black Bean Brownies
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1 cup rolled oats (or equivalent amount of oat flour)
  2. 1 cup dates, pitted
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. 1 can black beans (400g), drained and rinsed
  5. 125g unsalted butter (half a stick)*
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 tspn vanilla essence
  8. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  9. 1 tspn baking powder
  10. 90g (half block) 70% dark cooking chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/395°F
  2. Microwave dates with 1/4 cup water for 1 minute, or until soft
  3. Add oats to a food processor and blend into flour.
  4. Add dates, black beans, butter, eggs, vanilla and process until smooth
  5. Add cocoa and baking powder and blend until completely combined.
  6. Line a baking dish with baking paper.
  7. Pour in brownie mix and crumble dark cooking chocolate over the top.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  1. *Can be subbed for coconut oil, but this will slightly change the flavour and texture.
Sarah in Shape

Let’s chat below! What are your favourite healthy baking ingredient swaps?

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