Bean Brownies

Yes, you read it right, we used beans and brownies in the same headline. And we don’t mean cacao beans or coffee beans. No, these brownies are actually made on black beans and garbanzo beans instead of flour, which makes them gluten free and much more nutritious than your ordinary brownies. Pretty cool, right?

If you follow a lot of food blogs this combination might not come as a total surprise to you, there are a couple of different bean & brownie recipes out there. And if you travel around in Asia you might come across a couple of desserts based on red or yellow lentils. But you still have to admit that it is pretty mind blowing that you can use one of the most nutritious food ingredients in one of the least nutritious cakes.

And how is the result, how beanie do they get? The truth is that they don’t taste beans at all, and I used quite a lot of beans in this recipe. I even brought them to work, and no-one could guess the secret ingredient. They do however taste a little bit different to an ordinary brownie recipe. The beans makes them a little bit more dense and they have a very rich taste, which basically means that you can’t have 10 of these at the same time, but that’s only a good thing, right? The agave syrup makes them sweet, but maybe not as crunchy as with sugar. In all other aspects they are similar, and depending on which dark chocolate you use you will get a variation in taste.

Bean Brownies Adapted from 101 cookbooks
makes 16 squares

125 g butter
180 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1,5 cup cooked or canned black beans & garbanzo beans (chick peas)
3 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
a pinch of sea salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup agave syrup

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 11-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter on low heat in a medium size pan, break 150 g of the dark chocolate into small pieces and add them to the melted butter. Stir around until the chocolate mixture is completely melted.
Put beans, cacao powder, coconut flakes and 1/2 cup of the walnuts in a blender or a food processor. Blend for about two minutes, then add the chocolate mixture and blend for one more minute.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, add the agave syrup and whisk for one more minute. Save four spoonfuls of the egg mixture in a separate glass and pour the rest over the chocolate and bean mixture. Add the remaining walnuts and dark chocolate and stir everything gently with a spatula until the whole mixture has the same color.
Pour into the baking pan. Drip the remaining egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and use a toothpick or a knife to create a marble effect. Bake for 30-40 minutes. They might still feel a little bit loose in the middle when you take them out, but the trick here is to wait until they cool off completely (I know, it’s hard, but it’s totally worth the wait). Enjoy!


  • alice
    They are just fabulous! I made a batch for a end of semester apero and they were all gone :) I will definitively bake them again because they taste less buttery and heavy in the stomach than usual brownies but at the same time more filling so thanks for sharing!
  • Just made them !!! YUM :)
  • Dell
    Hi Guys, I came across your book at my local library and thought ld give it a go. I've since made so many of the recipes having great success. It's my fav recipe ATM. The hemp bar recipe has been circulating at my local gym. I wanted to ask why you often remove the egg yolk in your sweet recipes? Is it because it makes the batter lighter? Last night l finally managed to make your black bean brownies- a recipe not in the book but worthy of it! It took me quite a while to find raw black beans for this recipe. I'm in Australia and they aren't as common, especially as l live in the country, l had to travel. It was worth it as they are fantastic! Can't wait to put them into my girls lunch boxes today and share some at the gym. What a treat! Do they freeze well? Thanks, Dell :-)
    • Hi Dell, thank you for your comment. I'm glad you like the recipes. I know that the bars are great to freeze but I have actually never tried freezing the brownies (we always eat them right away). But I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't freeze well. Let us if you try it. /David
  • hannah
    what can I use as a substitute for butter? Would coconut oil work?
  • Jen
    Could you replace the butter with anything? Would coconut oil work?
  • Sine
    Hello :) This recipe is very interesting, but I'm not sure if I should use 1,5 cup black beans and 1,5 cup chick peas? Or do you mean that I should just use 1,5 cup mixed beans and chick peas? Thank you for this amazing web site :)
  • Just made these brownies today — they are really, really delicious! I only have one minor complaint which is that the sea salt was mentioned in the ingredients list, but not in the instructions so I did end up forgetting to include it. But I'm sure I'll be making these again, so it's in my mental notes for the future!
  • OMG! These brownies turned out sooo good! The only changes I made were switching coconut flakes with coconut flour and exchaning half of the agave sirap with honey, since that was what I had at home.
  • Mayouski
    trop bon ! Sooo sooo good !
  • Michelle
    Just wanted to thank you for all your amazing recipes! I have tried many so far and have had nothing but good luck with all of them! Especially the blackberry chocolate vegan cake- delicious! I wanted to attempt these bean brownies but was a little confused by how many beans I need. I am not sure what 1,5 means. If you could let me know I would sincerely appreciate it and will attempt another recipe of yours that I believe will be another success! Thank you!
    • Hi Michelle, 1 1/2 cup cooked beans is equal to around 375 ml. Hope that helps you out. /David
  • Lindsay
    Just wanted to thank you so very much for this great recipe and enticing photos! My boyfriend and I are vegetarian and runners, always on the lookout for sweet treats that are flavorful and healthful at the same time, while still feeling like a reward. These came out so satisfying and delicious, and will definitely be taking these to work soon to share. Thanks again for your wonderful blog!
  • Alastair
    This is an interesting one !! I think I'll try it with a few substitutions as follows: Help oil instead of butter. Soaked and sprouted garbanzo and black beans instead of tinned(avoid). Grated fresh coconut instead of flaked. Almonds (soaked overnight) instead of walnuts. Mashed green bananas and some tofu instead of eggs. 2/3 cup of agave is about 160ml isn't it? Maybe some stevia and chopped dates for sweetness and soaked flax blended into flaxmeal for binding might do to swap for some of the agave. That would be much more alkalizing than the original recipe above - need time to go shopping before i can tell you whether it is edible!!
  • Lynne
    Great recipe! I did accidentally change a small bit of the recipe: I didn't swirl in the egg/agave mixture--I just mixed it in with the batter. The recipe is right: wait until they cool! I HAD to try one while still tasted nice, but was very cake-like. Once cooled, it tasted richer, and was very fudge-like. Yum! And, on a side note, these brownies are super filling! I knew it was a lot of protein and fiber, but WOW!
  • Cecilia
    I just made these the other day. They´re delicious!! We ate them with wipped cream and my kids just wanted more... I'll definately make these again!
  • Bean brownies, who knew?! Looks delish plus its healthy, love that.
  • Åh, va goda de blev! Har ni några fler shyssta bönrecept på lager?
  • I still have not tried the famous bean & brownie combination but it does look super dense and fudgey! Which is exactly how I like my brownies! Yum!
  • What a great idea - I can't wait to try them!
  • I have these bookmarked along with Heidi's marathon cookies. Glad to hear they turned out well. :)
  • Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Yummy brownies that are pretty nutritious too. I'll bet the high fiber in these beauties will make them low in weight watcher points. Gonna check it out. Thanks!
  • I've been wanting to try black bean brownies, but have been somewhat hesitant. No more! These look great and I'm definitely curious to try them out.
  • I think I've told you about my black bean brownie TOTAL FAIL in the past. But I'm willing to give black bean brownies another try if the recipe comes from Green Kitchen Stories!! Everything you guys put up is perfection!
    • Thank you for your kind words Teri! We would really like to know more about your total-black-bean-brownie-failure. It sounds scary but also kind of interesting, something must have gone terribly wrong!? /David & Luise
  • I've made a similar version before, quite tasty and exactly how you described. Beans and chocolate, I love that two of my favorite things can mingle so well together.
  • Matilda
    What can I use instead of 'agave syrup'? It's hard to find in Sweden... and, as a black bean fan, I really want to try these brownies.
    • Hi Matilde, we have recently started to find Agave syrup both at Ica and Coop in Stockholm, look in the health section. You can also replace it with an equal amount of honey. /David
  • Fyndigt! Och gud så gott. Jag känner mig som ett browniemonster just nu....
  • I love the combination of beans and chocolate. A while ago I found a recipe for black bean chocolate cake, and I've made it loads since then as it's so delicious!
  • This is such an intriguing recipe. I need to make this with my wife - who looooooves brownies. I like that these brownies pack a nutritional punch.
  • Yum! I have a recipe for black bean brownies sitting on my desk! You've motivated me to try them. I've actually made brownies with spinach and carrots before, and they were surprisingly good. Chocolate makes everything better ;)
  • Right, I had seen this combination of ingredients before and it's really intriguing for Western minds, but it's in my to-do list, because it's a really healthy twist on a usually rather "unhealthy" dessert...

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