Guilt Free Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

During pregnancy people would often ask me about any “weird” cravings I had. I have to admit, there weren’t any. I mean, I craved a ton of sweets, but that isn’t really that different from non-pregnancy me. What I did notice though, is that I was having a lot harder time saying no to those cravings than when I wasn’t pregnant (and tired, and uncomfortable, and sore and wanting just one little sweet to “cheer me up”.)

I did pretty well for the most part. I know that it only takes a few months to create a habit, and I did not want the habit of sweet-eating formed during pregnancy to affect me afterward. So I limited myself to 2 sweets a day (one at work and one at home) and for the most part that helped. But sometimes, sometimes two just wasn’t enough. And if I broke my own limit rule, I felt awful. Awful about my choice, my lack of willpower, and a hormonal funk just sort of settled in.

Until these brownies. Inspired by the Amazing Chocolate Covered Katie‘s recipe for Black Bean brownies, I decided to try my hand at it. I’d avoided them for a long time because a) I hate beans in almost anything, so figured I would hate this and b) ew, brownies don’t have beans. But then someone reminded me that some cultures have been using beans in desserts for thousands of years. That coupled with my implicit trust of Katie and the comments on her recipe made me give it a shot. The next thing I knew I’d tweaked the recipe to my liking and then invented a way to get the crackly crust that traditional brownies have and bean brownies don’t. This is the result of those efforts!

Another cool thing about this recipe, is that if you use gluten free oats (oats are naturally gluten free, but you can’t always trust they haven’t been cross contaminated) then these are gluten free brownies!


  • 2 cans of Black Beans (Low sodium, 15 oz cans. Drained and rinsed really well)
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup quick rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 2/3 cup Honey, Maple syrup, agave, or even just sugar. (I limited refined sugars by using honey).
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Optional for Crinkly top:

  • White of 1 egg
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs cocoa powderThis mix gets finely spread on, so I don’t consider it to add anything much to the recipe in terms of sugar, etc. But obviously if you are trying to keep vegan or refined sugar free, you can skip the topping and live with the normal appearance.


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and coat a 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter. (I always make brownies in my springform pan. Its a little harder to cut into lovely squares, but a lot easier to get that first warm brownie out without making mush of it.)
  2. In a good food processor, make the oats into a fine flour like powder. The finer, the better. Set aside.
  3. Add your beans, honey, oil and vanilla to the empty food processor and blend until the means have a fine, smooth batter like texture.
  4. Add the cocoa, salt, baking powder and instant coffee to the beans. Blend until mixed well.
  5. Pour bean mixture into a large bowl. Add the oatmeal and the chocolate chips. The batter should start to thicken as the oatmeal absorbs the moisture.
  6. Spread into your pan evenly.
  7. For the crinkly crust, it turns out the in regular brownies, that is created from whipping the eggs and the sugar dissolving. So, I made a very simple sort of meringue topping that I spread on top of the brownies. The result was a crispy and crinkly crust that mimicked that of a “normal” brownie. It did soften the next day, but still looked great. Whip the egg white, until it is light and foamy. Slowly add your sugar while whipping. Whip until you reach stiff peaks and then add in your cocoa powder. Spread the mixture thinly onto the top of your uncooked brownies.

  8. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Time will depend on the size of your pan and the thickness of the mixture.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into the brownies.
  10. That’s it! I’ve found that the flavor improves a bit after a night in the fridge, and the brownies are best eaten at room temp. I haven’t had a pan last longer than a week, so I couldn’t tell you the keep time!



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Kayla Domeyer

My name is Kayla and I am a Graphic Designer. That means that I love pretty things, and also that I like to make free printables! I'm so happy that you've stopped by to visit my blog, and I hope you will follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest or Instagram!! (Yeah, and I'm totally addicted to the internet).

17 thoughts on “Guilt Free Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

  1. I must have done something wrong.. I couldn’t for the life of me get the beans, oil and honey to blend to a better consistency?!?! I added an egg to add some more moisture. I dont think these taste like regular brownies at all.. I am a fan of healthy brownies however sweet potato or banana brownies win over this sadly!

    1. Hayley – It sounds like something went wrong! Maybe give it another try ;D It is a very popular recipe and I still make them regularly!

  2. Made these for the first time today and oh my gosh YUM! I added an egg as another commentor suggested, and subbed unsweetened applesauce for the oil. They turned out so fudgey and chocolatey, I’ve already had two pieces! Will definitely make again. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Best black bean brownies ever! I haven’t ever used the topping but the base recipe is a real winner. I’ve made it at least a dozen times using either honey or maple syrup or some of each. Thank you for sharing it! Also, If I only have one can of black beans at hand but a can of chick peas I will do one of each and it still works great. I have an immersion blender that I use (and my coffee grinder just for the oats) I just can’t face a food processor. I find them intimidating 😅

  4. As many times as I’ve made these brownies, I figured it was about time I left a review! My husband requests that these are always in our fridge. We microwave them for about 20 seconds when we eat them and top them with fresh berries and they’re AMAZING. We’ve even made them for our neighbors and friends who request the recipe and don’t believe they’re made with black beans. Thank you!!

  5. I made these for a co-worker when celebrating birthday, everyone loved them. couldn’t believe they were made from beans. Will definitely be making these again!

  6. These were good but I found they were better with an egg added, so for the non-vegan crowded you may want to try that!

    1. Aww, Thanks Nora I’m so glad you like them! I bring them for potlucks and work things – people usually can’t tell the difference!

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