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Black Bean Brownies

Date Night:

It’s Valentine’s Day this week and whether or not you spend months trying to figure out what to buy or do for your beloved, or plan on skipping it entirely, I thought it worth a mention. As for me, I figured this was a punny time to discuss something I’ve been playing around with – Silan, or date syrup. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, silan is a dark brown, sticky sweetener made from dates and it’s very popular in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. It’s much sweeter than honey or maple syrup, so use sparingly and keep tasting and testing.

A Short History of Black Beans in Desserts:

Remember how popular black bean brownies were a few years back when Jessica Seinfeld whipped up a batch on Oprah? Everyone oohed and aahed and marveled at her innovative recipes. But the thing is that sweet bean paste and the use of red or black beans in desserts has been used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian cooking for centuries and can be traced back as far as the Ming Dynasty.

Back to the Brownies:

Here’s the thing, as delicious as these rich chocolate chip and pecan studded dessert squares are, they really don’t taste like brownies. Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing….they’re just not the brownies you might pick up at a diner or bake from a Duncan Hines mix. I have a fierce sweet tooth that I’ve managed to tame over the years, but it’s still there demanding its just desserts. I try to come up with dessert options that are visually pleasing, while including healthier ingredients.

I also try to use distraction techniques, so my taste-buds are happily confused. For example, traditional brownies are most often made with walnuts; I used pecans in these intentionally so that there is already a different taste combination going on that will hopefully work well with the whole black beans thing. I also used silan, because I wanted to go for a richer, darker brownie. Maple syrup or honey work equally well.

(You can also check out my recipe for date based brownies here)

Till we beet again,


Black Bean Brownies from

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 1/2 hour


  • 1 1/2 cups black beans drained and rinsed very well ( a 15-oz can)
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup silan or 3/4- 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. chocolate extract or good chocolate liquor (optional)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup really good dark chocolate chips
  • 12 whole pecans



Preheat oven to 350 degrees


In a food processor, add the drained black beans and 1 Tbsp water. Process until extremely smooth.


Add the cacao powder, silan, extracts, salt and oil and keep processing.


Add the almond flour and coconut flour if you're using it.


Add the remaining water if needed and process until you have a perfectly smooth paste. (Now would be a good time to unplug your food processor).


Use a spatula to blend in the chopped pecans and all but about 12 of the chocolate chips.


Spoon mixture into a greased small pan (8x8 or 8x10 should work).


Use a silicon tipped spatula to draw lines down the top of the batter so that you appear to be cutting individual brownie squares. Top each square with a whole pecan and/or a chocolate chip.


Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes and keep checking for doneness. Top will appear just the slightest bit flaky or crisp.


Allow to cool fully and refrigerate for about 4 hours before serving since through the magic of fridge alchemy, the bean-y part will seem to become even more fudgy.


Add as much or little water to the batter as you prefer to keep things moist. I almost always add a tablespoon of coconut flour to my recipes using almond flour since the almond flour can be heavy or oily and can weigh down the recipe. Coconut oil is almost a desiccant and works well in the majority of recipes, *but* with brownies it could cause them to become crumbly. -Optional- melt another 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and drizzle on top after cooling- but before refrigerating. If you want to up the decadence factor, melt the chocolate and drizzle and serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Did you make this recipe? Hashtag it #EvolvedFoodie and share on social media or below if you’re so inclined. I love to see your delicious dishes!

Want to talk about black beans, brownies or anything else food related? Use the handy dandy contact form below to start a conversation:


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