Black Bean Brownies With Walnuts

Ready for a super secret superfood twist to your usual brownies? Today, for Guest Bloggers’ Week, Sharon Palmer — a registered dietitian, food and nutrition writer, and plant-based nutrition expert — is sharing her Black Bean Brownies With Walnuts recipe with us! This recipe comes straight from her new book Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes. (© Sharon Palmer, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.)

Credit: Heather Poire

Credit: Heather Poire

Black Bean Brownies With Walnuts
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
Here’s the perfect scenario—a dense, moist brownie packed with cocoa polyphenols and bean nutrition — protein, fiber, and even antioxidants! The beans replace the grains and some of the fat in this gluten-free, egg-free black bean brownie recipe. I guarantee that nobody will guess the magic ingredient—black beans — in this delicious treat. What a great way to get kids (and grown-ups) to eat their beans.
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • One 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained (or 1¾ cups cooked)
  • ½ cup (170 g) honey or agave nectar
  • ½ cup (43 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, expeller pressed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (85 g) dairy-free, dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (58 g) chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the black beans, honey, cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla, canola oil and baking powder in a blender. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides halfway through blending if needed.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts evenly across the top of the brownies.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges pull away from the side of the pan and the brownies are firm.
  6. Cool for a few minutes, and then slice into 16 squares.
This makes a chewy, moist brownie.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-by-2-inch brownie Calories: 149 Fat: 8 Saturated fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 20 Sugar: 11 Sodium: 99 Fiber: 3 Protein: 3

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  1. Joanne says:

    Hi Jenn- I have never tried baking brownies with black beans, so this will be a first. Is it okay to add the chocolate chips to the batter, instead of sprinkling on top?

    1. Jenn says:

      You know, I bet you could do that — might end up being a little gooey, but that sounds like a kind of delicious thing. 😉 Try it and report back!

  2. Melissa says:

    I like sneaking in spinach into my brownies… its so hard to detect!

  3. Deb E says:

    I’ve pinned many of Sharon’s recipes and it’s so easy to sneak in chia seeds to desserts since they are practically tasteless and loaded with good nutrition. I have to take Beano if I sneak in the beans!

  4. Nicole says:

    My kids’ favorite dessert is my “unbeetable” chocolate cake. Yep, it has beets in it…2 cans to be exact The best part is they have no idea! They love it! my son even asked for it for his birthday cake:)

  5. Jana says:

    I love adding canned organic pumpkin to just about anything, really amps up the nutrition! You can also add pumpkin seeds 🙂

  6. Kaitlyn says:

    I try to add in avocado whenever possible. It’s great to add to spreads!

  7. Lauren says:

    I love a vegan cookie dough recipe that uses chickpeas as the main ingredient. But for the less brave I love supplementing butter for plain geek yogurt.

  8. Jenn says:

    Our lucky winner is Kaitlyn — #7! Woot! Emailing you now Kailyn to get your address. Congrats — and thanks to all who entered!

  9. Kelly Champ says:

    Chocolate covered raisins are great in homemade granola bars. Some health food stores allow you to measure and weigh exactly what you need so this is a great way to try wholesome snacks (like crystallized ginger or dried cherries).