These fudgy vegan Black Bean Brownies are an easy, gluten-free, flourless dessert that is delicious and healthy! Add some espresso powder for a mocha flavor or chocolate chips for an extra dose of rich chocolatey flavor. Cut into cute heart shapes for Valentine’s Day or serve them in bar form for any day of the year.
What Valentine’s Day would be complete without a little chocolate? And how about a little chocolate you can actually feel good about eating?
These super rich, fudgy, vegan Black Bean Brownies are full of protein and fiber and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free.
They are also kid approved. In fact, my youngest daughter can’t get enough of these! She requests them often.
With no noticeable black bean flavor, no one will know there’s beans in there!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Black beans ~ Black beans make these vegan brownies moist and fudgy while adding protein and fiber that you won’t find in traditional brownie recipes.
They are essentially acting as the flour in this recipe.
Canned beans need to be drained, rinsed, and dried very well.
These brownies are very soft, moist, and delicate. If you like a firmer, more cake-y texture, you can replace ½ cup of the beans with oat flour.
Cocoa powder ~ Cocoa powder provides a rich, deep chocolate flavor. Use unsweetened cocoa powder.
Flax meal ~ Flax meal is used as an egg replacer and helps to hold these flourless brownies together.
Maple syrup ~ Pure maple syrup is the liquid sweetener of choice. Make sure to use 100% pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup!
Applesauce ~ Applesauce is used an oil substitute.
You can use nut butter or seed butter if you prefer.
Salt ~ Don’t forget the salt! It enhances the chocolate flavor by balancing the bitter and sweet notes.
Chocolate chips ~ I like the surprise of a few chocolate chips in the brownie batter. You can leave them out or use chopped nuts, like walnuts or pecans, instead.
Espresso powder ~ Instant espresso powder is another optional ingredient. Just a pinch will deepen the chocolate flavor. If you want more of a mocha flavor, add a bit more espresso.
Powdered sugar ~ For sprinkling before serving.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Add all ingredients, except the chocolate chip and powdered sugar, to a food processor.
I do not suggest the use of a blender here.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Remove the blade, add the chocolate chips, and stir well with a spatula to incorporate evenly.
Pour the batter into a prepared 8×8 baking pan and spread out evenly.
Bake until set up on top, but still fudgy in the center.
Allow to cool, then cut into cute heart shapes for Valentine’s Day or simply slice into bars.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Pro tip: I love using a mesh tea ball infuser for sprinkling powdered sugar. The sugar comes out slowly if you gently tap the side.
Counter: Store in an air-tight container on the counter at room temperature for no more than 2 days.
Fridge: Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Freezer: You can even freeze these vegan black bean brownies. Place individual brownies in an even layer on a parchment-lined large plate or baking sheet and stick in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the brownies to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container with a small piece of parchment between each brownie. They should keep well for up to 2 months.
Pro tips and tricks
~ If using canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse them and then dry them really well. Any excess moisture left on the beans will affect the texture of the brownies. I let them sit in a colander while I gather the remaining ingredients and then I roll the beans around between two clean dish clothes (or paper towels).
~ The texture of these brownies are incredibly fudgy, but quite soft and delicate. If you prefer a firmer, more cake-y texture, you can replace up to ½ cup of the beans with oat flour. (If you do this, bake the brownies no more than 30 minutes).
~ Process the mixture really well in a food processor. Stop and scrape down the sides, as necessary. This can take several minutes to ensure a perfectly smooth texture. Taste the mixture and make sure there aren’t any bean skins that have been left unprocessed.
~ Unfortunately, there is no easy way to check the doneness of these brownies. A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean. The top will be set but the center will still be fudgy and moist. I prefer the brownies to be cooked 35 to 40 minutes.
~ Let the brownies cool completely before attempting to cut them. They will be very soft and pliable when they come out of the oven.
~ Store them in the fridge for best texture.
The beans in this black bean brownie recipe is essentially replacing the flour found in traditional brownies. They also help to replace the oil.
I prefer cocoa powder for brownies. It’s more consistent as chocolate bars will differ in the amount of cocoa butter and added ingredients. Cocoa powder provides a deep, rich chocolate flavor.
The instant espresso powder is optional, but enhances the chocolate flavor and balances the bitter and sweet notes.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Black Bean Brownies
- 2 cups canned black beans drained, rinsed, and thoroughly dried
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder optional
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dairy free chocolate chips
- organic powdered sugar optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Overhang the parchment paper on both ends by a few inches. This is very important as the brownies will still be very soft when they come out of the oven and the parchment paper will allow you to take the whole square of brownies out of the pan with ease.
- Add all ingredients, except the chocolate chips and powdered sugar, to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Remove the blade and set aside. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and gently stir to incorporate.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The top should be set, but the center will still be soft. A toothpick will not (and should not) come out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully lift them out of the pan by holding onto the parchment paper overhang. They will probably still be soft and "bend" a little. This is ok, just be careful not to pull up on the sides too hard and break them.
- Let cool on a wire rack for another 20 to 30 minutes. The brownies should be firmer now, but still soft and fudgy. Carefully cut out into heart shapes or into bars.
- Once the brownies are completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Nutrition facts calculated without the powdered sugar topping.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.