Black Bean Brownie Bites


The moment I placed these brownies in the oven, I started whining like a disgruntled teenager because Luise had persuaded me to only sweeten them with dates and mix a whole can of black beans into the batter. “They are going to taste like sh*t” might have been the carefully formulated phrase I used. Baking brownies was my idea to start with and I usually don’t complain about healthy desserts, but I was tired that day and my mind was set on the caramel-tasting brownies from the bakery across the street. More than the flavor, it was their texture I wanted to recreate. The crusty top and caramel fudge center that you only can achieve with sugar, butter and flour. I knew these would be far from that. And in my mind that was all Luise’s fault.

The whining escalated into a discussion (aka argument) and by the time the timer on my phone rang, things were, well, kind of tense between us. I cut off a corner piece of the baked brownie and quickly realized that they weren’t as awful as I had expected. Of course when Luise asked me, I did what any 36-year old teenager would do and grunted: “They were okay I guess”. In reality, they were actually pretty good. They didn’t have that crusty texture or typical sugar taste but they were still sweet, gooey but not heavy, chocolatey, energy packed and rich. I added frosting to make them a little more sassy – using dates as sweetener and avocado and coconut oil for an ultra lush and creamy consistency. They turned out really beautiful and jam-packed with good stuff. Rather than a dessert, I’d say that this is more like an energy bar-style brownie, and I found myself sneaking back to the fridge several times that day for another bite.

We’re sharing the recipe and some notes below. But first, check out this little video from our youtube channel where we demonstrate how to make them.



Since that first batch of brownies, there have been at least six more batches. A few vegan attempts and various flavor and texture variations. I have gathered a few notes that might come useful in case you want to give them a try.

  • We use very soft fresh dates that we buy in card board boxes and they are pretty affordable compared to loose weight or medjool dates. Sizes differ so use a scale if you want to be exact.
  • If you can’t find fresh dates you can use dried dates that you soak in water for a couple of hours. Drain the water before mixing. However, I wouldn’t use dried dates for the frosting as they need the dates to be super soft to achieve a smooth consistency. Try maple syrup instead.
  • If you aren’t used to sugar free desserts, you can add a couple of tablespoons maple syrup, honey or sugar to the batter. We have tried this recipe both with and without additional sweetening and they taste good both ways. It all depends on what you are used to and your expectations are.
  • We use a quite mild olive oil and it works really well with the chocolate flavor (not strong at all). However, if you don’t like olive oil, you can use, coconut oil, rapeseed oil or butter instead.
  • We have also tried a vegan, egg-free version using aquafaba (chickpea water) that we are sharing at the bottom of the recipe. We also tried making aquafaba using black bean water (because it’s a rest product of the beans in the recipe). It didn’t firm up as much when whisked but it did work as a binder. However, it looked kinda gross and added more bean flavor so we decided to stick with chickpea water instead.
  • We add coffee to the frosting to disguise the avocado flavor. If you don’t like coffee, you can use almond butter or peanut butter instead to give it a flavor twist.
  • Sea salt flakes are great on top and we love the salt + chocolate combo, but desiccated coconut would also look good.
  • If you are allergic to nuts, you can mix toasted sunflower seeds into a flour and use instead of almond flour. And use pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts.


Black Bean Brownie Bites with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
Makes 24 bites

These taste sweet but not overly so, see notes above if you prefer to make them sweeter. Vegan version below.

20 soft dates (approx 230 g / 8 oz)
1 1/2 cup / 185 g cooked black beans (rinsed)
1/2 cup / 125 ml olive oil or other neutral oil
1/2 cup / 125 ml plant milk or regular milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup / 50 g oat flour (or same amount rolled oats, mixed into a flour)
1/2 cup / 50 g almond flour
6 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 handful crushed walnuts (optional)

Chocolate Avocado Frosting
6-8 soft dates

3 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp strong coffee
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 avocado

Sprinkle with
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Pit the dates and add them to a food processor along with the rinsed black beans. Mix on high speed. Add oil, milk and eggs (leave out if you are vegan) and mix until smooth. Add almond flour and oat flour (you can make oat flour from rolled oats by simply blending them in a food processor or grinding them in a mortle and pester), cacao powder, baking powder and salt and pulse until everything is mixed. Stir in walnuts (and whipped aquafaba if you are making the vegan version). Place a baking paper in a 28 x 20 cm / 11 x 8 inch rectangular baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven once they are firm to touch and leave until completely cool.

Make the frosting by mixing all the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the flavors, adding more dates (or maple syrup if you want it sweeter) and more cacao powder if you want it richer. Spread the frosting over the brownies, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into bite-size pieces. Store in the fridge.

To make them vegan: Use 3 tbsp more oat flour. Leave out the eggs and whisk 1/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea water) into soft peaks that you stir into the mixed batter together with the walnuts. The vegan version needs approx 45-50 minutes in the oven and will come out slightly stickier but firms up once it cools.


  • victoria
    I would love to bake this but don't have enough dates, what can I do to replace them? thanks, really love your recipes! ♡
  • I made this for my little sister yesterday and she was so overwhelmed. She loves to cut brownier on her birthday and not cake. Being a pastry chef myself, I can vouch for the flavour and texture of this brownie
  • Agata Pociejkowicz
    By far the healthiest and the tastiest brownie I've ever tried! I was never a big fan of brownies anyway, always found them too rich and too sweet. But my husband loves it so I've been looking for a healthier alternative and I quite never found a tasty version to be honest. Until today that is. You can't taste the beans at all. I didn't mind avocado taste in the ganache that I always used to make but dear God - coffe gives such an interesting tone to this one! It can be a dessert by itself. I can imagine this being served in liitle glass dessert dishes and make a hit at the fancy dinner. Also, I didn't expect such a lovely texture to the cake, very light and yet still quite rich. So, I'm not a big fan of brownies but I am massive fan of this particular one. Thank you for your work D&L. 🙏
  • Hi David, Unfortunately, my partner does not like avocados (very sad, I know, but he gets sick just from tasting a tiny bit of it... :( Are these brownies delicious even without the frosting?
    • Green Kitchen Stories
      Yes, you can skip the frosting. Or use another frosting recipe. We sometimes also put whipped cream on top, our kids love that. /D
    • Agata Pociejkowicz
      Hi Michal, Yes they are, even without frosting- even though I trust D&L I was still very surprised at how delicious these turned out. I promise you and your partner won't eat just a bite, you will want to go for the regular cake portion. I had it for breakfast in the morning and it kept me well into lunch time - good quality calories and nutritious and so tasty - you wouldn't expect this from dessert, would you?
  • Laura
    Hello!! Would LOVE to try this but if I can't find GF oats, what could no do instead? Thank you
  • Tanya
    We gave it a shot last night, and it was amazing! Three things: 1. I have to disagree with David regarding fresh dates. Dried and soaked in hot water for about 1.5 hours worked just fine for the dough as well as for the frosting. 2. FROSTING. I cannot praise it enough. Do add the coffee, it will make your day. 3. The only drawback we had was absolutely dry consistency. I figured it was either because we had to swap almond floor with chickpea floor or because 30' in the oven was too long in this specific case. Luckily the frosting saved it all! Anyways, Green Kitchen Stories, please keep amazing stuff coming! We love you! Greets from Germany
  • R.
    Just made these for Mother's Day... had a little taster myself and they are amazing! Love all of your posts and recipes and looking at buying your newest book soon!
  • Linda Christensen
    Den smager så godt. Har bagt den mange gange
  • Linda Christensen
    Har bagt den mange gange. Den smager så godt
  • Amanda
    Hello David, Louise & Family, I'm curious if you have successfully frozen these lovely bites? I love your original bean brownie recipe which works well for me to have on hand in the freezer and always satisfies my ever sweet tooth. I'll test these out soon, however, I'm wondering if you've tried this already and have any suggestions. Happy new year! Thanks so much for all you do!
  • Just made these with 12 dates (80g) and 70g rice syrup to keep the fructose sugar a bit lower. Followed the recipe exactly otherwise and they came out delicious! :) I'm no stranger to veg in desserts, but I hadn't yet tried black bean brownies, and I'm so glad we did! It makes LOADS, so I'll be attempting to freeze them and seeing how they go when we defrost some over the next couple of weeks. SO yummy, thank you. :) I've had to be gluten free and low dairy for a few months now and you guys have been a lifesaver. Since I was already eating a low sugar diet, it became that much harder to find recipes that ticked all of my boxes. We eat very little meat so I already used your website and books often, but I've been making so much more of your food lately as it nearly always fits what I am looking for.
  • Veronica
    I'm very excited to try the recipe this week :) Do you think it's ok to substitute the 50g of oats with 50g coconut flour? thank you!
    • Anne SchefferLeander
      Hej Veronica, I just did that switch from oats to coconut flour and it worked out very well! Maybe you already tried it too.
  • You guys looks so adorable! Can I use butter instead of olive oil? Never tried the brownie with black been. It must be great mix!
  • Elisa
    Should I use ground almonds or proper almond flour (the kind that contains less fat) for those delicious looking brownies? And do you have any advice for cooking dried black beans except for soaking them overnight? In my experience they cook very unevenly - some fall apart whereas others remain very hard. Cannot buy good-quality canned ones here in Austria :( Thank you! Elisa
  • Love that you've provided a nut allergy substitute - and frosting! :o We've used black beans in our savoury recipes but I feel like maybe black beans are made for dessert... 100% trying these.
  • Kelly Pagano
    Hello! I was wondering how these brownies would taste on their own without the frosting? Would it still be sweet and taste ok? Thank you!
  • I like it brownie looks so good thank you
  • Sorry, overseen the already given answer. You guys are amazing. I love your blog from the very beginning.
  • They are great! Thank you! Did you try to freeze them?
  • Frida Bergman
    Hej! Supergoda browniesar! Vi upplevde dock en lätt stickande känsla på tunga och gom? Någon som känner igen sig? Smaken påminner lätt om chili. Hälsn Frida
  • Flora Eichler
    Hi, I tried out allready an other black bean brownie recipe and it turned out pretty bad. After reading your story I gave the idea of black bean brownies an other try. Now I enjoy together with my boyfriend these brownies and it's allready the thired day and they tast still extremly delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
  • Sophia Csepreghy
    Just made these. They turned out really well, as I imagined from watching the video. Best of all, I can happily share a chocolate treat with my 3 year old, knowing she's enjoying something that is nutritious and delicious!

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