Two years ago around Valentine’s Day, I was working as a nutrition coach for the Vermont Biggest Loser competition, and I wanted to offer my hard-working team a delicious treat: something they had been avoiding diligently, such a brownies. We had turned their diets around in order to stabilize their blood sugar levels. The team was doing a fantastic job sticking to low-glycemic meals which were helping them feel satisfied longer, have fewer cravings, enjoy consistent high energy levels and lose weight! Along those lines, I made them a batch of low-glycemic brownies for a great-tasting, high-protein, high-fiber chocolatey treat. Being flourless, these brownies are also a great dessert for those following the Paleo (who allow themselves the flexibility of including legumes, as I do) diet, wheat-, grain- and/or gluten-free diet.
How to turn moist decadent brownies into something healthy? Well, you need an unexpected ingredient. I thought if I included it in the name of the recipe, it might turn you off before giving it a try. So I renamed them “true love brownies” since I think one of the best way to show love is to offer healthy foods.
“True Love” Black Bean Brownies (I know that sounds strange, but try to stay open-minded…)
- 2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 15-oz can), rinsed (to remove any added salt)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons natural cacao powder
- 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
- 3/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup or 2-3 teaspoons stevia (depending on desired sweetness)
- 4 eggs (or to replace eggs: for each egg, use one tablespoon ground flax seeds whisked together with 3 tablespoons water)
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee substitute (such as Inka, Roma, or Pero)* or instant espresso
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup ground flax seeds (if you used eggs)
* While great for people cutting down on coffee/caffeine, instant coffee substitutes are made from grains, often barley, which contains gluten.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Grease an 8″x8″ baking pan.
- Melt butter or coconut oil in a small saucepan.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs (or whisk together flaxseed meal and water).
- Combine all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender and puree until smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until set. Do not over bake
- Let cool. Cut into small squares (or hearts using a cookie cutter) and enjoy one at a time.
This rich combination of chocolate, eggs, flaxseeds and black beans offers a substantial amount of protein and fiber, making these brownies wonderfully filling and satisfying, very tasty and full of love.