The last vegan brownies I baked had sweet potato as a key ingredient. These ones have black beans and dates. Black beans are a great source of fibre and protein. Soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol, and insoluble fibre adds bulk and helps with digestion. Dates have been around for thousands of years, mainly in countries in the Middle East which is still the area where most dates are cultivated.
Dates are very sweet (and therefore high in carbs) but because of the fibre they have a relatively low glycaemic index. This means that glucose is not released into the blood stream in a big rush, causing big spikes and subsequent drops in blood glucose. These brownies have no refined sugar – dates are used as the only sweetener.
The recipe is from another Instagrammer with a great IG name: cakeontherun! Love it! (Her real name is Laura Nightingale – also a cool name…) I like this recipe because it’s not too sweet, and the dark chocolate taste really comes out.
Here’s how I did it:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
200g dates, roughly chopped and soaked in hot water for 5 minutes or so
100g cocoa powder
100g oats blitzed to flour in a blender
100ml dairy free milk (I used oat milk) I actually used 150ml in the end
2 tbsp (30g) coconut oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (a pinch?)
2 tsp vanilla paste
Optional: 50g dark choc chips; 50g chopped walnuts (I didn’t use these this time)
Heat the oven to 180 deg C or Gas mark 4. Line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. Using a stick hand blender puree the beans – I found adding some oat milk made this easier. Drain the dates and blend in the same way. Put everything into a bowl and mix well. I found I had to add a little more milk than the original recipe stated to get it all to mix together.
Put in the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 mins. Mine took 25 mins. Cool on a rack. I finished off the brownies with the same chocolate ganache that I used for the sweet potato brownies and decorated with walnut pieces.
These were very successful and popular with family and friends. I will definitely make them again. They are not quite as sweet as the sweet potato brownies, and not quite as squidgy. But for a ‘healthy’ chocolate fix they are great.