I Believe in Black Beans

(Two recipes for the price of one! Keep reading) I’ve never been a bean eater. Frankly, most of the beans that I’ve consumed in my lifetime taste like mud.

So imagine my surprise when my neighbor Sarah shared with me that she had made brownies, substituting the oil and egg with pureed black beans. I think I threw up on her face and then caught her hair on fire. Black beans? In BROWNIES? Ewwww. It took her a few weeks to convince me, but after I tried them, I was hooked. They are moist, dense, delicious, and you can eat the dough without worrying about eating raw eggs (which doesn’t really stop me from eating raw dough, by the way).

The recipe is straightforward, but it gets confusing. So I made some a few weeks ago and took pictures. Here goes!

Black bean brownies


– Brownies- You can get any kind that you like, although I would avoid the cheapest packages- not because the black beans make them taste bad, but because cheap brownies just aren’t as good.

-Can of black beans- make sure you don’t get a flavored kind. Jalapenos in brownies might be delicious…or disgusting.


1. Dump the black beans into a colander and rinse them off well.


2. Put the clean beansback into the can (which you might have also rinsed).  Now, you will fill up the can WITH THE BEANS with water. I’ve learned from sharing this recipe multiple times that this happens to be the most confusing step. You do NOT put an entire canful of water into the brownies. It’s the beans, in the can, plus enough water to cover them.


3. Now, you can add the whole can (beans + water) into a food processor. My food processor, which I love, happens to hate this recipe and shows it by spewing water and black beans into the air. As a result, I have to hold a towel around the processor and push the button at the same time, which requires the use of some of my feet.

4. After the beans have been throughly pummeled, then you mix them in with the brownie mix. Don’t add anything else. That’s it.

5. Follow the directions on the brownie box and you’ll have great, oil free, protein-enriched brownies in about 30 minutes.

I took these to a staff meeting and everyone had rave reviews, even the woman who eats What-a-burger everyday. That’s saying something.

So, my interaction with black beans was limited to stowing them away in brownies until a few months ago.

Picture this. I’m eating lunch at an urbanite place in the Bishop Arts District with my friends, Rebekah and Brooke. This was before my self-inflicted vegetarianism, but I decided to go for something a little daring- a black bean bowl. Avocado, tomatoes, rice, and black beans. I actually ate the whole thing. It was DELICIOUS! I ran home to tell my husband about it. We decided to make another foray into beans, especially considering our everpresent quest for plant-based proteins. 

I really like “wet” beans, if that makes sense. What makes the beans delicious is the liquid surrounding them. I also wanted to have a try at using dry beans, instead of canned, because we have more control over the sodium intake and we can also purchase organic beans (AND they’re cheaper).

The solution? A google search for “crock pot black beans” resulted in me finding this “recipe”. I couldn’t believe how amazing these tasted. They’ve completely revolutionized my no-beans mindset. You’d be amazed at how many beans I can eat now. Kudos to Chef Jenna at Eat, Live, Run for making a believer out of me.

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