Most of the time, I prefer to enjoy foods in their simplest, most un-f***ed-with form (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?), but a side of me also loves playing around with food science and seeing what kinds of stuff you can do just by tweaking a few ingredients. I try to avoid vocab like “slimming down” dishes (remember, “gluten-free” or “vegan” does not automatically mean “low-cal”), but I’m eternally curious, especially when it comes to texture. From knowing so many people with various allergies and intolerances, I’m especially intrigued by recipes that allow you to create versions of old favorites to suit people with special needs.

So, last night, I decided to try my hand at black bean brownies, since I have picnic plans with friends for this evening and wanted to bring something that everyone present could enjoy, gluten-intolerant or not. It’s very, very rare that I get in the mood to bake, so I figured as I may as well seize the opportunity…Otherwise, this post would have been about, like, quinoa salad or something.

I have to admit, these tasted really good! I legitimately could not taste the black beans. These were objectively good brownies, in my humble opinion—not just good for gluten-free. The mad scientist in me is satisfied.


  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 egg-whites (could probably have gotten away with less)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 square baking dish. You could also use parchment paper to streamline clean-up.
  2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30-40 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center—if it comes out clean, they’re done.
  4. Allow to cool before slicing. I ended up with a little more than a dozen, but you could cut them into bigger or smaller pieces, depending on needs/wants.

I happen to prefer gooey, moist brownies, so these were right up my alley, but if you’re more into cake-like brownies, try adding a teaspoon or so of baking powder.  Either way, these are just begging to be served warm and topped with ice cream. Enjoy!

For those of you interested in the nutritional content of these (in a 14-brownie batch)…

  • Calories: 182 (kcals from fat: 28)
  • Fat: 3.6 g (0.8 g saturated)
  • Carbohydrates: 31.2 g
  • Fiber: 5.2 g
  • Sugar: 11.2 g
  • Protein: 7.7 g
  • Calcium: 4%
  • Iron: 10%

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