Black bean brownies

by Jenny Chandler

A deeply indulgent but gluten-free brownie

Black beans can be used to replace the flour found in a traditional brownie, giving a softer texture that keeps really well. These are gluten-free but still loaded with indulgent chocolate, sugar and butter—a truly healthy brownie would seem a sad aberration to me. I’d rather eat an apple!


200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
140g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 x 400g tin of black beans, drained or 250g home-cooked beans
3 eggs
80g walnuts, pecans, pistachios or almonds, roughly chopped
200g caster sugar
1 tsp rock salt for sprinkling 


Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line a 24cm square baking tin with greased baking parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl placed over a pan of simmering water or on a low setting in the microwave. Leave to cool a little and then add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

Meanwhile, blend the beans with one of the eggs in a food processor or using a stick blender. You want the mixture to be as smooth as possible otherwise your brownies will have a mealy texture. Now gradually stir the bean mixture and the nuts into the chocolate.

Whisk the remaining eggs with the sugar until light and creamy and fold into the brownie mixture. Pour into the tin, sprinkle with salt and bake for about 25-30 minutes until just set.

Place the tin on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before attempting to cut up into small squares (if the brownies seem very soft, placing them in the fridge for half an hour will make your life much easier). In the unlikely event of leftovers, you can keep the brownies in an airtight container for up to five days.

ALTERNATIVE: Try adding an extra dimension by mixing in chunks of white chocolate and dried fruit such as sour cherries or cranberries