Heart-Healthy Black Bean Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free)
A major underlying contributor to cardiovascular disease is inflammation. If you are looking to improve your heart health a good place to start is by removing the most notorious inflammatory offenders: gluten, dairy and sugar!
It is also important to add plenty of fiber to your heart-healthy diet. Consuming an abundance of fruits and vegetables and adding beans to soups and stews is an easy way to increase your consumption of fiber, but why stop there? Starchy veggies like legumes and sweet potatoes make them great for baking. These veggies can easily replace refined flours in desserts like cakes and brownies and your little one's won't even notice the difference- added bonus!
So why not add veggies to your desserts and make these Heart-Healthy Black Bean Brownies? They are chocolatey, chewy and so easy to make. They contain zero refined sugar, dairy or gluten, but most importantly they substitute regular flour for heart-healthy black beans!
Black beans contain flavonoids: anti-inflammatory compounds shown to aid lipid metabolism and increase bile secretion, improving digestion of fats. The fiber content in black beans can be associated with lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower instances of heart attack. Dietary fiber also helps fight inflammation by removing toxic waste that would otherwise get reabsorbed into our bloodstream if not efficiently eliminated.
Adding as little as 1/2 of cup cooked black beans to your diet provides 7.5g of fiber. To put that in perspective, the recommended daily intake for adults is between 28-32 grams. For a child between the ages of three and eighteen, an easy trick to determine fiber requirements is adding 5 to the child's age. So if the child is seven, the recommended daily requirement is roughly 12g.
Heart-Healthy Black Bean Brownies
This recipe is a definitely a treat and as with all other desserts should be enjoyed in moderation. Nonetheless, these brownies are great for those looking to add a bit more fiber and protein in all things, including dessert!
425 g (approximately) can of black beans, well rinsed and drained
2 large flax eggs (2 heaping tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher the quality the more antioxidant benefits)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tablespoons of water if needed to thin out batter
Optional toppings: crush hazelnuts or other nuts. Or leave out for a nut-free version
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan.
Place flax eggs in food processor or blender. Pulse a couple times and let rest for a 5-10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients minus the toppings and puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
If the batter appears too thick, add 1/2 tablespoons of water and pulse again. It should be thick and not at all runny.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in each muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips or pumpkin seeds
Bake for 24-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.
Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a knife.
Yields approx 9 fudgy and delicious brownies.
Store in an airtight container.
If you like this recipe, try my fiber rich Liver-Happy Sun-Dried Tomato GF Pasta Salad!