Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Battle of the Bean Brownies

There are all kinds of bean recipes popping up lately so I've naturally had to try some.  Who knew that you could bake beans in all kinds of yummy treats?!

One treat that I was intrigued with was the bean brownie.  Within a matter of a week I was surrounded with four different recipes. The first I heard of it was when Mrs. X presented me with a tasty brownie fresh out of the oven when I was picking E up from day care.  I immediately asked for a copy of the recipe.  Two days later, Liisa posted this recipe on Fit for a Kid. I then came across this recipe on Dinner with Julie and then finally, the following weekend I visited my parents and my Mom told me she had a recipe to share too.  My Mom's recipe was very similar to Mrs. X's (so I only tried one version).

So with three new recipes (with rave reviews) of a healthy bean brownies, what is a gal to do?  Make them all of course!

Exhibit A: Mrs. X's Bean Brownies

1 cup cooked kidney or romano beans, pureed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these)

Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan. In mixing bowl, combine beans, sugar, flour, cocoa and salt.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat on low speed or by hand, scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth. Stir in walnuts.  Pour batter in prepared pan; spread into corners and smooth top. Bake at 350 F for 20-30 min or until tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into squares. Makes 24 brownies (a lot!).

Mrs. X used romano beans and instead of sugar used Sucanat.  Her brownies turned out to be a little dry.  I used kidney beans and replaced half of the sugar and half of the oil with applesauce.  My brownies turned out to be a little too soft and squishy. 

An overall yummy snack that I would try again (while altering some of the ingredients). Even though my version was a little soft and dense, it tasted great along side a scoop of Rice Dream ice cream. 

Exhibit B: Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies from Dinner With Julie

I didn't add nuts and I used Earth Balance Soy Free buttery spread instead of butter.

These tasted almost like fudge and I would only have a sliver of it at a time (many times) because it was so rich. The chocolate chips are my favourite part. We poured fresh pureed strawberries over top and enjoyed it as a decadent dessert.  I loved that they were gluten-free.

Exhibit C: Vegan Black Bean Brownies from Fit for a Kid

I used agave nectar and brown sugar in my version. I added flax meal for some added nutritional punch.

These tasted more like a yummy snack bar than a brownie.  The cocoa taste is masked by the bananas and cinnamon. I would still make them again. I had to bake mine about 10 minutes longer to bake all the way through.  I love that they are vegan and I didn't have to make an substitutions.

So there you have it - three very different bean brownie recipes broken down for you to pick from depending on your mood. 


P.S. No, I did not make and eat these all in one day! It has taken me several months to put this together and it was a lot of work doing all of this taste testing so I hope you are thankful! Now, on to a new post about weight loss after a brownie bake-off...


  1. Next time you make them you need to take pics so I can be super lazy and pin this post, these sound wonderful *g*

  2. I have to be honest: I haven't made them again since I posted the recipe, mostly because I was the only one who really enjoyed them. One of my kids ate them cause he'll eat anything sweet, but I'd rather make something that at least three of us really likes.

    However, if you're vegan, have an allergy in the family or are super-obsessed with every food being nutrient-dense then black bean brownies are definitely a good treat!

    Way to go on the recipe testing Alicia!

  3. Ok - bean brownies NEVER would have crossed my mind. BUT I may have to try this!