Pushing the Boundaries of Baking: Can You Turn a Tin of Black Beans into Delicious Brownies?

As someone who is gluten-intolerant, I often struggle to make decent cakes and bakes that aren’t too dry and crumbly. I generally find that recipes that are naturally gluten free, instead of using a gluten-free flour, work better which was why I was curious when I started seeing recipes circulate for black bean brownies.  

Refined sugar-free, full of vitamins and fibre, easy to make and vegan-friendly ... they sounded like a pretty good (& tasty) idea. But can you really mess with a classic like this? 

Here’s what happened when I decided to give this unusual bake a try! 

Step 1: The ingredients 

The recipe I found required: 

  • One 400g tin of black beans, drained & rinsed 
  • 200g ground almonds 
  • 3 tbsp of coconut oil 
  • 100g of raisins 
  • 200g Greek yoghurt 
  • 200ml almond milk 
  • 6-7 tbsp raw cocoa powder 
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds 
  • 2 tbsp honey 

If you want to make these vegan-friendly just substitute the Greek yoghurt for a plant-based yoghurt or, to give your brownies an extra fruity kick, apple puree. Similarly, any kind of milk will do, almond milk complements the ground almonds in this recipe, but ordinary semi-skimmed or soy milk will work just as well.

Step 2: The Prep

This recipe requires very little prep, but it is best if you leave your chia seeks to soak in 25ml of water for about thirty minutes before starting. And be sure to pre-heat the oven to 180°C whilst you’re at it!

Step 3: Blend, mix, and pour!

I’ll be honest, what attracted me to this recipe was how simple the actual process was! All you need to do is combine all the ingredients (except the raisins) in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth mixture.

Next, pour this mixture out into a bowl, and stir in the raisins. The recipe calls for 100g but use however many you like, some people love a good load of raisins in a brownie, others not so much, so I suggest you do this step with regard to personal taste.

Finally, pour this mixture out into a greased and/or lined baking tray and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out almost clean.

Then all you have left to do is the washing up...

Step 4: Now to see if it was all worth it...

With all the hard work done, it is time to see how this baking-experiment has turned out.

The key thing to remember here is that you need to leave the brownies to cool in the tray for about 45-60 minutes to allow them to finish setting, otherwise you’ll just have tasty little crumbs.

One cooled & set, cut into 8-12 squares (depends on how big you like your portions!) and enjoy.

So, after all that, would I make them again?

I have to say, I was surprised by how well these brownies actually worked. I was expecting something of a veggie aftertaste, but the cocoa masks it so well! That said, they don’t have that ‘indulgent’ sort of feel to them, and their texture isn’t quite gooey and oozy enough for me.

As a healthier, refined-sugar free alternative to the classic bake, these work really well, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up the real thing just yet!