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15 Healthy Substitutions for Baking and Cooking (BONUS: Recipe Challenge!)

Everybody loves a good brownie, chocolate chip cookie, or piece of pumpkin pie. However, for this holiday season try lightening up your favorite desserts and side dishes. You may be shocked at how similar they taste; you probably won’t even notice a difference!

(from chefinyou.com)

1.     Butter – mashed avocado, banana

2.     Oil - applesauce

3.     Flour – ground black beans or ground oatmeal

4.     1 Egg – 1 cup of water and 1 TBSP chia seeds (let sit for 15 minutes)

5.     Eggs - canned pumpkin

6.     Sour Cream – Greek yogurt

7.     Sugar – honey, applesauce, or maple syrup

8.     Heavy cream – evaporated milk

9.     Chocolate chips – carob chips

10.  Frosting – marshmallow fluff

11.  One cup whole milk – ½ cup of evaporated milk and ½ cup of water

12.  Pasta – zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash

13.  Rice – grated steamed Cauliflower

14.  Mashed Potatoes – grated steamed cauliflower

15.  Mayo – mashed avocado


Recipe Challenge: Black Bean Brownies

(from choclatecoveredkatie.com)

Although this combination might sound disgusting, promise me you’ll give it a try! I bet you'll taste no difference. Test the brownies on your friends, after they eat one tell them they’re made with black beans and watch their reactions!

(Recipe borrowed from Chocolatecoveredkatie.com)

Black Bean Brownies

•    1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)

•    2 tbsp cocoa powder

•    1/2 cup quick oats

•    1/4 tsp salt

•    1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave

•    ½ cup pure maple syrup

•    1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil

•    2 tsp pure vanilla extract

•    1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! Makes 9-12 brownies

Nutrition Comparison:

1 Regular Brownie from Starbucks: 410 Calories, Fat 24g, Carbs 46g, Protein 6g

1 Black Bean Brownie: 115 Calories, Fat 5.5g, Carbs 15g, Protein 2.5g


Enjoy and tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with your recipe challenge results! Happy (and healthy) eating!


I am a Museum Studies POE with two secondary emphases in business and education. In my free time I love to play tennis, hike, ski, and kayak. I have a Labradoodle named Lady and two cats named Georgia and Ginger.
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