Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Vegan, Low-Fat, Black Bean Brownies (Sugar-Free Version)

Beans, eh?  Such a controversial little foodstuff. If it's not one side taking a swipe at their dreaded antinutrients, it's the other declaring them to be non-delicious hippie food. I'm rebelling.  I'm making some bean brownies.  Because they are chocolatey and chewy. Shuddup. 

Unless you have a compromised gut, FODMAPs issues* or otherwise can't handle starches, beans are great. I wouldn't recommend cooking the black ones from scratch if you're easily distracted though. I did that three years ago and permanently stained the ceiling. Bean pigment carries very well in steam. Therefore, we'll be using canned beans today. Canning greatly reduces the fart-inducing oligosaccharides too, in case this is of personal concern to you. 

These brownies are vegan and low fat.  That's because I have low-fat vegan friends to feed. I also have HCLF and paleo friends. They keep me versatile. I made these brownies sugar-free as well, but that's not compulsory.


1 can (425g net) of Black Beans (I used these ones)

Either: 3/4 cup erythritol and 1 flat tsp stevia
3/4 cup sugar
Note: if you use erythritol, you don't get the crust on top. For that, you definitely need sugar.

1/2 cup packed medjool dates
1 smallish banana
3/4 cup cocoa (or raw cacao powder)
2 tbsp of psyllium husks (or husk powder)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
Handful of cacao nibs and raisins

1 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cardamom or other warming spice
1 shot of espresso (or tsp instant coffee)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (vegan, if you're aiming for that)


If you are using the erythritol+stevia blend (or just erythritol for less sweet brownies), it is best to give it a whizz in the blender first. This mixes the sweetener properly and minimises the chance of erythritol grainy-ness.

Remove the erythritol from the processor.

Chop the dates and add to the processor slowly. Blend to smoothness.

Add the beans, vanilla and salt and blend until there are no visible bean chunks and you're pretty sure there are no invisible ones either.  Go hard on this phase, give it a few minutes.

Add the erythritol mix (or sugar), banana, cacao, espresso and spices. Process.

Taste test. Add more sweetener if it's not to your liking.

Lastly add the psyllium, arrowroot and baking soda. Process those in quickly (but thoroughly) then add your extras and either quickly process or stir through.  In the picture above, I used figs, but since then, I've preferred cacao nibs and raisins. This adds texture to what would otherwise be just a delicious, chewy experience.

The mix should be nice and thick.

Spoon it into a silicone (or baking paper lined) tray, smooth it and bake at a moderate heat (180C) for 25 minutes, or until a probe comes out relatively clean.

It will still be quite soft, but firms up as it cools.

These freeze very well, and can easily do time as a work snack or, with some creative pimping (think: chocolate sauce), a fancy dessert.

* I'm not 100% sure that black beans would create problems for those on a low FODMAPs diet. I can't find them specifically mentioned in any of my reference materials. Can anyone enlighten me?


My earlier brownie recipe (similar but different, still good)
Black beans on World's Healthiest Foods
Another great black bean brownie recipe (higher fat version, I've also made this and it was ultra yummy, probably a better version if you've got small people to feed).
And another one

Vegans: This is a great resource for how to do veganism healthfully


  1. I have issues with oligosaccharides, but I'm told that canned beans, chick peas etc are less problematic than dried ones, because most of the nasty fermentable sugars leach out into the water in the canning process and are discarded. I have yet to test it out - I may give my favourite pumpkin, spinach and chick pea salad a run at Christmas time and see how I go.

    1. Yes, I'm very interested to sort it out, but don't have any FODMAPs people in my immediate sphere right now that could test it. Pages and pages of reference materials and no mention of black beans. I can't find if they have another name either. For now, it's a mystery.


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