Black Bean Brownies with Nutella Frosting (GF, Vegan)

IMG_0028The funny thing about plant-based foods is that whenever a non- plant-based eater tries them, obsession and euphoria ensues- until the ingredients are listed!

Cupcakes are devoured by the mouthful and then abruptly placed back on the plate, half-eaten, when I mention that they are made of beets. “Cheese” pâté is dolloped in globs on bread and then I say that the creaminess comes from blended cashews and suddenly, the knife is left on the side of the plate, full of uneaten goodness to be discarded.

It’s funny how conditioned we have become to accept only refined processed food as “tasty.” I am in the process of deprogramming myself, and hope to help those around me as well.

Great strides are being made however certain prejudices or preconceived notions creep up and I occasionally struggle to overcome them.

For example: black bean brownies. I know this is a new phenomenon and all the best plant-based bakers are touting their black bean brownie recipies (I mean, even my mom makes black bean brownies now), but something was holding me back.

Beans are meant to be savory and spicy, right? Beans go in enchiladas and burritos…not brownies! Or so I thought…

Yesterday I made black bean brownies for the first time and WOW. Just WOW. I have no other words. Fiber, protein, Omega 3 and total deliciousness!

Make these. (And don’t tell anyone what’s in them until they’ve cleaned their plates!)

Black Bean Brownies with Healthy Nutella Frosting


For the brownies:

  • 1 ¾ cup black beans (I soaked and boiled my own organic dried beans but you can use canned)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with with 5 tbsp water. Let sit for a few minutes)
  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil melted
  • ¾ cup raw cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup coconut sugar (ground to a powder in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

For the “nutella” frosting:

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt


For the brownies:

  • preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  • Rinse and drain the black beans
  • prepare flax egg (wait a few minutes to add it in with the other ingredients)
  • Add all the brownie ingredients to a food processor and puree for a couple of minutes until the batter is smooth.
  • Distribute the batter into 12 silicone cups (3/4 of the way full) or grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.
  • Smooth the tops and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start pulling away from the side of the cups/pan.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the cups or pan. Be gentle, they are very tender and soft and fudgy in the middle!

IMG_0041For the “nutella” frosting:

  • Roast the hazelnuts by taking whole shelled hazelnuts and bake at 180C (350F) for 10-15 minutes. Then rub the skins off with a damp dishtowel. (Or just buy hazelnuts already roasted if you’re in a crunch for time!)
  • Add the hazelnuts to a food processor or high speed blender (I used my new Vitamix!) and process until they become a nut butter…scraping down the sides occasionally.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it is smooth and shiny and nutella-ey.
  • Store the rest of the spread in an airtight container in the fridge

*If you want to use rawtella, my recipe can be found here:

Composing the brownies:

  • Once the brownies are cooled, frost them with the nutella and sprinkle on whatever toppings you desire. I used raw cocoa nibs and edible flowers but crushed nuts or dried fruit or really whatever would work!

*Store brownies in the fridge!

*This black bean brownie recipe has been adapted from the Minimalist Baker’s recipe that can be found here: Minimalist Baker Black Bean Brownies

*I served these brownies with spinach infused almond milk. The recipe is simple: Just use any recipe for unsweetened homemade almond milk (1 cup soaked almonds and 4 cups filtered water) and add two large handfuls of fresh baby spinach, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla seeds (from a bean), 1/8 tsp salt, and 3 pitted dates or 1 tbsp maple syrup. Blend, strain with a nut milk bag and store. Delicious!

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