Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cake of the Week: Black Bean Banana Brownies

As you may remember, I had a pretty busy weekend. BUT no weekend is to busy for baked goods! Due to a visiting friend’s moral/dietary complex, the project was less decadent-layer-cake and more vegan-exploration than normal, (I’m none to judge – I’m sure she thinks my weekly mileage is inhumanly insane –we all have our quirks!).
It’s not that I don’t love animals, or think the meat industry is disturbing, or recognize that the best way to “go green” is to stop eating red meat. The thing is, I just really love food, and the thought of limiting my eating possibilities is just too depressing. I’m happy to eat vegan and vegetarian food (and do so often), I just do not want to be limited by self-imposed dietary constraints.
Anywho, I was actually very pleased with the results of this vegan experience! Especially when eaten with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a sprinkling of granola for crunch.
[Sidenote: get some rice-cream if you’re going for the pure-vegan, or check out this site forDIY vegan ice cream.]

The brownies did not taste like beans at all (let’s be real, beans don’t actually have that much flavor anyways). There was definitely a strong banana flavor going on – but that’s pretty yummy when combined with chocolate. They had a really legit-brownie fudgy texture too! We went for the extra ¼ cup of sugar, and the instant oats. We also added half a bag of chocolate chips, but skipped the walnuts – I think that both would have been a bit much.
And a final selling point – they’re ridiculously good for you in all ways possible: protein (beans), vitamins (banana), and really low-calorie (so you can eat like 3 of these brownies for every one regular brownie!!)
Makes 9 squares:

15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 bananas

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract
or a few drops mint extract
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup quick/instant oats

*optional chocolate chips
chopped walnuts
** if you’re bananas are really ripe (browning) you probably won’t need the extra sugar; I suggest making the batter without it, then taste testing it to see if you need to add more sugar.

1. Preheat 350F

2. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender

3. Blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed

4. Stir in the oats

5. Pour into a greased 8×8 in pan

6. Bake approx 30 minutes, toothpick test

7. Allow to completely cool before slicing

** if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudgey, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour
Nutritional Info:
(without optional ingredients)
each: 85 calories, 1g fat, 16g carbs, 4g protein
(with additional 1/4 cup sugar)
each: 105 calories, 1g fat, 21g carbs, 4g protein

And if you liked this, you might what to try these: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes.


  1. MMMMMmmmmm..... I cant wait to make these again!!!

  2. Molly,

    I'm a longtime lurker and love your blog! I was surfing around and came across this post, and I just felt like I had to say something.

    Above, you state that you recognize the best way to "go green" is to stop eating meat. The article you linked to references "Livestock's Long Shadow," the FAO report which states that animal agriculture accounts for more carbon emissions than transportation. However, the FAO has backpedaled on that statement, as their measurement methods were inconsistent-- therefore, the numbers are skewed (if you're interested, Dr. Frank Mitlohner of UC-Davis has published a ton of research debunking the FAO report, which led to the retraction).

    Modern livestock production in this country has improved by leaps and bounds over the past 100 years. Production has increased dramatically, while animal agriculture's carbon footprint as decreased substantially. Dr. Jude Capper has an interesting white paper on the subject (which you can find here: http://animalagalliance.org/images/Current_Issues/20110927_MM_White.pdf).

    Again, I love your blog, and I've bookmarked several of your recipes to try out over the holidays. I just felt that I needed to say something about a statement that simply isn't true (and my family is in the beef industry, which is why the subject is dear to me). Keep up the great work!


  3. Hi Virginia,

    Thanks for reading! And thanks for your comment! I think it's really important for people to be educated about this stuff, and of course there are always two sides to every story. I checked with a friend who knows far more than me about the subject, and she said:

    "The impacts of the meat industry aren't just linked to emissions from the animals - also think about other environmental impacts like runoff into water sources, land degradation for grazing, emissions from trucking mass-processed meat all over the country... small-scale locally produced meat is MUCH better for the planet than CAFOs. Also, in many cases a lot of effort goes into producing grains that feed the animals instead of feeding people - clearing huge tracts of land to grow corn to feed cattle is just an inefficient way of keeping humans fed. Would be much better for people to eat the plants - would greatly reduce the overall impact on the environment."

    So there's the other side...I still eat meat, so I guess I'm not really allowed to have a strong opinion either way.

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion!