Secret Ingredient Brownies


Written by Rachel, Contributing Writer

Everyone loves brownies or at least everyone that I know. There is something about that rich, chocolate-y, fudge-y taste. Most brownies are about 400+ calories per serving, loaded with unhealthy fats and are carb rich most of the time.

For a while, I have been wanting to try black bean brownies but I was skeptical that they would actually taste good. After looking through several recipes, I decided to make my own batch. While making them and smelling the aroma while they baked in the oven, the house smelled delicious! However, I was still a scared-y cat to try them once they were finished… needed to see someone else eat them first.

My kids tried them and loved them! My hubby tried one and he said “aren’t you going to try one?” I did after hesitating for a couple seconds and they truly are good, not GREAT like the bad brownies we’re used to but they would definitely satisfy a chocolate craving. After my husband and I ate ours, we discussed ways to make them have a more traditional feel/taste toward them and decided that adding a gluten free flour and chopped up walnuts into the batter would make them even more tasty!

If you’re like me, you just have to get over the weirdness of it!

Secret Ingredient Brownies
Recipe type: Desserts and Sweets
  • 1 can of 16 ounces of organic black beans, or cooked soaked beans
  • ¾ cup Sucanat (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla (if you have homemade that would be best, I'm going to be making some myself very soon!)
  • pinch of salt
  • chocolate chips (optional)
  • walnuts (optional)
  • For a more cake-like brownie, add ⅔ cup flour (gluten free or whole wheat) and ¼ cup water


    Key Step: Rinse the beans
  • *you don't want to be having a beany taste while eating these*

    Mix ingredients in a food processor or a blender

  • Mix well, you don't want beany chunks, do ya?

    Add optional toppings and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees

    All done!
  1. The first thing you need to do is to rinse your canned or cooked beans thoroughly. This is extremely important as you don't want that beany liquid taste!
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Next, you pour the beans, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, sucanat, and cocoa powder into a food processor or blender.
  4. Blend until smooth, add the pinch of salt (and flour and water if you want to add it) and pulse until well mixed.
  5. Grease your a 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil and pour batter into dish.
  6. Top with optional walnuts and chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until middle is done.
  8. Cool before serving and enjoy!


Stephanie’s note: I can attest to the fact that these brownies are GOOD! Are you looking for other healthy treat ideas for this Valentine’s Day, or just to replace conventional treats in general? Check out the recipe eBooks Smart Sweets and Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts. Both are full of delicious sweet recipes, made with whole, unrefined ingredients.

Have you ever made a dessert with non-traditional ingredients?

This post includes affiliate links.



About Rachel

Rachel is a mother to 3 kids and a wife to a wellness doctor. Her passions are faith, family and health. She supports her husband in helping to change the way people look at their health and uses her blog as a tool to do that, her husband also has a feature on her blog called "Ask Dr. Jake", he would be happy to answer any of your health related questions or at least direct your path to some better options. You can find her writing about her family adventures and inspiring you to make healthier choices for your family and more at day2day joys or on Facebook. Also, if you subscribe to her blog via email you will get Spring into Summer Smoothie E-book for free.

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  1. I made these for a bible study last night, ALL the ladies in my group loved them! In fact I only have a few left. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. Hi! I only have dry black beans on hand. Do you know how much dry beans will be equal to 16oz cooked? I know there is quite a bit of expanding that happens.

    • You’ll have to soak & cook your dried beans, but once they are cooked you’ll want two cups. So about 1 1/4 cups (give or take) dry.

      Completely unrelated- my daughter is on a (medically necessary) very high fiber diet and these brownies are WONDERFUL for sneaking in extra fiber. I add about 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour.

  3. These were the best brownies ever! My son loves sweets and my husband who rarely eats sweets ate the whole pan. I followed the recipe exactly maybe used a little less raw sugar ( was running low) but could not taste the beans at all I really rinsed well in a strainer. The chocolate nuttiness was all we tasted. Making another one now . Thanks

  4. Hey I’m sure you could even add 3/4 cup cooked down dates to this recipe as an alternative to sugar/apple sauce. Though sucanat/rapadura and apple sound delish!

  5. This is such a great idea I’m making some tomorrow!
    I live in Sydney, Australia and when we go for Yum Cha at my favourite chinese restaurant, there’s always a sweet bean dessert. The best is a layered jello type dessert but made with agar agar (instead of gelatine),coconut milk and sugar. The top layer is either a black or red bean mush (made with agar agar and sugar again). It’s heavenly! Once you get past the “I’m eating sweet beans” thing, you’re hooked. :o)
    I’m so thrilled I found this blog.

    Apart from being tasty, this must have a great (low) GI, high fiber and high protein rating. Plus being high in antioxidants from all that raw cacao in your organic chocolate.
    Tick! Tick! Tick! Tick! Tick!

    love it.

    • Hey Suzi, are you the same Suzi from above comment? Anyhow, Hello from Australia, Keeper of the Home is a great website full of awesome natural living posts! How did your brownies turn out?

      • Yes that’s me.. commented twice.
        Yes, I made the brownies today and … well… er… I think I’ll tweak it and try again. It reminded me of a sweet bean filled bun from the Chinese grocer.

        I’ll report back with take two (if it’s good!).

  6. I don’t have any coconut oil… is there something else I could use instead? Also, what is substitute for sucanat? Sugar?

  7. I’ve made a version of these brownies, and this recipe looks even better, but I’m quite surprised to see the Nestle in the photo. There are lots of alternative brands for cocoa that aren’t made by Nestle. If you google Nestle Boycott you can find lots of information about their highly unethical marketing of infant formula, particularly in the third world where water used to mix formula may not always be safe for infants.

    • Sarah, I totally understand the controversy and never used formula but have heard about it. A family member bought that particular cocoa to make something here once and just used what I had left for this recipe, when I buy my own I don’t use that kind. Thanks for your concerned comment!

  8. To make these treats even healthier – no cholesteol – replace the eggs with 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. They are very good!

    • That is a great idea and suggestion, however, I don’t particularly think eggs are bad for you. I think they are part of a balanced diet. I have though, added eggs in place of fats (once in a while) to breads or baked desserts.

  9. I was the same way I when I first started making black bean brownies! :) I was so scared, I totally fed them to people who didn’t see it coming. They loved them but it was hard for me to not think that I was eating sweet refried beans. Add chocolate chips and walnuts helped a lot. Great idea about adding a little flour.

  10. Awesome. I’ve seen a similar recipe but didn’t realize the flour is optional. I will try these for Valentine’s Day. Plus, I’m trying to get in more protein since I’m pregnant and these have to have more protein than regular brownies. Thanks for sharing.

  11. In my mother’s days, it was zuchinni bread, and eggless chocolate cake. My trick to get vegies into kids was to blenderize onions and peppers into the spagetti sauce. I can’t wait to try these brownies!

  12. I just saw a similar recipe in “Living Without” and was pretty weirded out, but I think you’re tempting me right over the edge. Especially because, wonder of wonders, I think I actually have all those ingredients on hand right now!
    I think I may not invite my little bakers to join me on this, though. I’d like them to experience the finished product without any contaminating prejudices. :-)

  13. I have a recipe for black bean brownies, but I haven’t tried them yet. I have made chocolate chip cookies with chick peas in them though. They were tasty!

  14. My three youngest children and I made these today for the older ones. We didn’t tell them what the secret ingredient was until after they ate them. They were delicious! We will be making them again. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  15. They look decadent. Just curious did you add flour to the brownies pictured?

  16. My little girls LOVE black bean brownies, and your recipe looks delicious, Rachel! I can’t wait to try it!

  17. I’ve never gotten up so quickly to make a weird recipe as I did just now. I got my bulk order of sucanat in yesterday so I’m trying all sorts of things with it and I just made up and froze a bunch of black beans this week so I was set. These smell awesome in the blender! I’ll let you know how they taste in about 45 min. :D

  18. Gonna try this! If I can make a zucchini pie that tastes just like apple I am sure I can make black beans brownies that taste yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I’ve made these too! I had to see for myself if they really were any good. My family almost didn’t believe me when I told them what was in them. These are a must-try!

  20. I just love sneaking in veggies into desserts! These look so fudgy and delicious! :-D


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