Gluten Free Vegan (Flourless) Black Bean Brownies

by on December 19, 2012

Ooh black bean brownies… Have you ever heard of them before? They’re gaining popularity in the vegan, gluten free and health food movement. It’s a completely flourless brownie and has very few ingredients.

This is my take on the black bean brownie inspired by Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe. If you’re looking for something that is vegan and gluten free and a “better for you” treat, check these out.

I promise you will not taste beans in this recipe! When they are pureed they act as the batter in brownies and plain unsalted black beans have little flavor anyway. This recipe is also sugar free! It gets its sweetness from whole pitted dates, so it has natural fibre and vitamins in it instead of plain old sugar.

The only thing really essential to making this recipe is having a food processor or a high powered blender with a tamper such as a Vita-Mix. You need to get these ingredients pureed into a batter/dough to press into the pan.

If you’re craving brownies you should give these a try!

Gluten Free Vegan Black Bean Brownies

(Inspired by Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Bean brownies)

Makes 12 brownies


1 19 oz./793 g can black beans (salt free) or 2 cups fresh cooked black beans, drained
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
12 large medjool dates, pitted (18-24 if using smaller dates)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp ceylon (sweet) cinnamon
2 tbsp quick/instant oats (optional, use only if mixture is too wet)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 177 C.

2. Chop the dates into small pieces. Combine black beans, dates, vanilla and almond butter in a food processor or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth. (Food processor preferred.)

3. Add cocoa and cinnamon and blend again. (Do NOT add cocoa until the previous ingredients are blended or it will be virtually impossible to mix)

4. If mixture is too dry, add another tablespoon of peanut butter. If mixture is too wet, add oats and process again.

5. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper leaving enough to fold up the sides.

6. Spoon mixture into pan and spread out with spatula or hands.

7. Bake for 30 minutes.

8. Allow to cool and then cool in the freezer for 2 hours to set up before slicing.

9. Top with frosting or fruit if desired and serve.

Nutritional Info: 12 Servings Amount Per Serving: Calories 134.0 Total Fat 2.3 g Saturated Fat 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium 10.1 mg Potassium 349.4 mg Total Carbohydrate 28.3 g Dietary Fiber 5.8 g Sugars 16.0 g Protein 4.2 g

Have you ever had black bean brownies before? What’s your favorite way to use black beans? 

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nora February 5, 2016 at 6:44 PM

So good !! I ate the whole pan in two days 🙁 BUT it’s healthy !!


2 Stephanie May 29, 2015 at 9:11 PM

I have been indecisive about trying these. Black beans? Really? But I made them today. Since I don’t have a Vitamix, I used a 1.5 c. Cuisinart food processor. It did NOT go well – stuck like glue. Ended up using a potato masher in a stainless bowl.

Other than that, I followed the directions precisely. I was joking with a friend that when California gets the Big One, we’re covered because now I know how to make bricks.

But then I baked them. And tasted them. And OH WOW!!! I’m just stunned! If these were sugar-based, I would have had to fight with myself not to eat the whole pan in one night. But because these are SO rich and delicious, I was quite satisfied with just 1″ square. My size 12 jeans are probably going to have to go to the Good Will someday very soon! THANK YOU!


3 Kimm May 4, 2015 at 6:18 PM

I found this recipe today and had to try it! My Husband and I are on a Nutritarian diet and anything that sates our sweet tooth and still keeps us on track is worth trying! I altered it a bit and they came out fantastic. Instead of the Almond butter, I used all natural peanut butter. Instead of the dates I used 3 super duper ripe bananas. I also added 1/2 cup Truvia (baking blend) and 1/2 cups chopped walnuts. Tasted like Nutty fruit bread with a lovely hint of chocolate. This was an day breezy recipe and delicious. Thanks for sharing it!


4 Kendra December 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

my vitamix could not handle this. Added almond milk because I didn’t know what to do…still couldn’t!


5 Veronica Grace December 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

If you dont put them in the right order it jams up. You have to follow the directions or else it cannot blend from too much powder on top. The powders need to be blended with liquid first in the bottom.


6 Naomi September 20, 2014 at 5:28 AM

Finding this recipe has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me haha.
Cruelty free, good amount of protein, low in fat , minimal and whole ingredients , no gluten or sugars or baking powders/sodas. WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR?!?!

I tried them and they tasted amazing.

Thank you for this recipe, it is a godsend 🙂


7 Missy August 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Love this recipe! We just began following Dr. Fuhman’s nutrition plan and these brownies helped take the edge off while our bodies were adjusting to the lack of carbs in bread/pasta/sugar form. Next time will try to make a little “frosting” like another post mentioned which will help keep them moist. Thank you!


8 Brenda April 21, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Just found your website, and I’m looking forward to trying these soon. I read through all the comments and questions and found that one time “Veronica said” 8″x8″ square pan, and another time she said 9″x9″ square pan. Which is the best one to use to get the thickness of brownie in the picture. Thanks for all the healthy recipes.


9 Veronica Grace April 21, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Use what you have and cook them as long as you need to. Oven temperatures, elevation and moisture content are all variables as well.


10 Pauline November 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Hi Veronica, Tried these brownies and my family enjoyed them. Just a bit on the dry side. Next time I’ll try a bit more almond butter and I’ll press nuts into the batter just before cooking. I love nuts. Thanks for this most interesting recipe.


11 Lovisa May 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM

I created a frosting out of mashed avocado, date paste (soaked blended dates) and cocoa powder. Topped it with some coconut, and served it to unknowing guests. They all loved it.


12 Jacqueline May 1, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I live in Australia and am unable to find black beans canned or dried. I love the sound of these brownies can you suggest any other type of bean that may be used in its place. Thanks


13 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 1, 2013 at 10:25 PM

When I was there I never looked for black beans, but really they don’t even have them at the health food store? I guess you could try small white beans as they are also mild tasting, it just might not look like a dark chocolate brownie, more a blondie!


14 Lovisa May 18, 2013 at 6:15 AM

I live in Australia too, I have no problems finding dried black beans at my local health food shop, and also my local Indian grocery store. Try to shop around, I’m sure you will find some. If not, go to a larger town =).


15 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 11, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Thanks for the tip, I knew there had to be black beans in Australia somewhere. They are a common bean in other cuisines. Even in Canada not all regular grocery stores have dried black beans, but they all have canned black beans. I just go to a larger store, a health food store or an ethnic store to get dried beans and lentils that typical grocers don’t have.


16 Dustin May 20, 2013 at 6:05 AM

Try an Asian grocer – we’re also in australia and get dry ones from there


17 Marcia Rosen June 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Try chickpeas. They work well in place of black beans.


18 Shelley January 9, 2014 at 2:23 AM

I’m in WA and Blackbeans are readily available, both dried and canned. Commonly used in Mexican Food, so you may locate them in the Supermarket with the taco dinner kits etc. Also, continental shops have them dried and tinned.


19 Lynn April 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Could I possibly use prunes instead of dates?


20 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM

I’m not sure. Prunes are much moister, but are much less sweet so I can’t say how they would turn out.


21 NBMaggie May 4, 2014 at 6:47 AM

Prune puree as a replacement for all or part of the fat in a recipe has been around for quite a while:


Prune Puree (Fat Substitute for Baking)
By Sandra Woodruff

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (3 ounces) pitted prunes (dried plums)
1 cup water

Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Use immediately or store for up to one week in the refrigerator. Replace a given amount of butter, margarine, or shortening in a recipe with 1/2 as much Prune Puree or replace a given amount of oil with 3/4 as much Prune Puree. For instance, replace 1/2 cup of butter with 1/4 cup Prune Puree or replace 1/2 cup of oil with 6 tablespoons Prune Puree.

Prunes are rich in dietary fiber and have a high moisture holding capacity, which makes them a good fat substitute for use in baked goods like muffins, quick breads, cakes, and cookies.
When trimming fat from baked goods, keep in mind that fat adds tenderness, color, volume, and richness so trimming too much fat can result in a product that is pale, dense, tough, and unappealing. To avoid these problems, start by trimming one-fourth of the fat from a recipe. Evaluate the results, and then trim a bit more the next time you make the recipe if desired. Often, you can trim half the fat from a recipe with good results.

© Copyright by


22 Kym Mulvey April 2, 2013 at 4:32 AM

I made these for Easter- they were delicious!
I told my teenagers they were instead of chocolate and they were happy to have these.
I’ve shared the recipe with friends and everyone loves them!
Black beans are hard to find here but I’ve found a supplier, so these will be on high rotation!


23 Michelle March 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Have made these for myself a couple of times and love them! Today I served them for dessert to my non-vegan sisters and it was a solid hit!!! Imagine that…..


24 Leah February 18, 2013 at 7:40 AM

I’m making these today and I was wondering what size pan to use?


25 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica February 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM

A standard square 8×8 pan


26 Leah February 18, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Thanks! Just put them in the oven. Can’t wait to see how they turn out. I used unsweetened cocoa powder. Do you think this will this make a significant difference in taste? I’m planning on sautéing some berries to put over this.


27 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica February 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I don’t use sweetened cocoa powder. Usually it’s sold unsweetened no? Unless you mean hot chocolate or hot cocoa drink powder that may be sweetened as it’s an instant mix.


28 Leah February 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I just tried them. They’re delicious, just a little to bitter for my personal taste. However, I think they’re very different from normal brownies. Still awesome, though. Thanks for sharing this!

29 Norene January 24, 2013 at 10:46 AM

What kind of frosting would you put on this brownie


30 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM

I don’t frost my brownies anymore. You can do a simple icing sugar chocolate frosting, or use fruit preserves. There is no such thing as a healthy frosting, at best it will be 100% sugar, at worst it will be 80% fat and 20% sugar and be incredible calorie laden (using earth balance or margarine and sugar).

I have smashed fresh berries on top of brownies before for some natural sweetness.


31 Lisa April 2, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Dr. Fuhrman has a “frosting” of raisin or date paste and nuts mixed with cocoa but my formerly omnivore husband prefers–of all things–cultured soy yogurt either sweetened with juice (or a little sweetener of your choice) on his, like cream.


32 lauren January 23, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Hey i would love a receipe like this something healthy and tastey using a type of vegie but im allergic to beans 🙁 could your use chickpeas or kumera or something else instead of beans?


33 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 23, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Hi Lauren

Chickpeas are beans… so I am not sure if you are allergic to some, or all. Kumara is a potato like vegetable and too moist. This recipe works because beans have lots of fiber and aren’t too moist and when blended become a thick paste. I really can’t think of a vegetable you can do with this instead. It’s meant as a whole food alternative to regular brownies and is gluten free.


34 Karen January 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Hm. I made these and they were basically the same when I took them out of the oven as when I put them in. The top crusted over but the rest was still the consistency of bean dip. Is this how they’re supposed to be?


35 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Did you see the step about having to refrigerate them after baking?

8. Allow to cool and then place in freezer for 2 hours to set up before slicing.

They will be a little batter-like yes, but perhaps you added too much liquid to them so they need to bake longer first. You want to have a really thick batter that isn’t too moist.


36 Karen January 14, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Ah, I put them in the refrigerator instead of the freezer! Maybe that’s why. Thanks.


37 Kathryn January 8, 2013 at 6:57 PM

My husband cannot eat peanut butter or any kind of “butter” – can you think of a substitute in their recipe? thanks


38 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

What do you mean any kind of butter?

It’s used to give moisture and bind the recipe together. I’m not sure what else you could use. You could try mashed banana but it’d be an experiment. Try different things.


39 Kathryn January 8, 2013 at 8:05 PM

He is on a no oil, no nut, no animal products regiment for preventing east disease. Would pumpkin puree work?


40 Kathryn January 8, 2013 at 8:07 PM

That is preventing heart disease – sorry about that . . .


41 Celticbutterfly May 24, 2016 at 8:48 AM

Nuts actually help prevent heart disease! Check out the results of the Adventist Health Study & the Nurses’ Health study, for example. Five major studies have shown that nuts should be included in a heart healthy diet. Check out pages 135 – 137 in Dr. Furhman’s Eat to Live paperback book, copyright 2003.

42 Willemina January 1, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Veronica, Can these brownies, your banana bread and pumpkin carrot muffins be frozen? I’m the only one who will eat these products. The recipes sound great.


43 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Hi Willemina! Veronica has frozen all of the products you asked about with great success. You can certainly do that to keep them for your use, but I would be surprised if your family didn’t dive in before you have the chance to freeze them all. Even the guys at work found the muffins irresistable when her friend took a few in for lunch! Jody (Mom)


44 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica January 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Veronica suggests Saran Wrap or vacupak for freezing!


45 Robyn December 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Uuumm,,,Yummm! Pinned and will definately make once I ‘m done my cleanse 🙂


46 MaryLou December 20, 2012 at 2:29 PM

I will try this. I LOVED your strawberry apple “pie”recipe. The flavors were wonderful. I am making it again for the holidays. It was SO easy to make. Thanks for the great recipes.


47 Lee Ann August 23, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Hi MaryLou
Strawberry apple Pie???
Sounds wonderful!
Would you mind sharing this recipe and any others that you have tried and loved?

Lee Ann


48 Teresa de Souza December 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM

GREAT , V eronica !

All these Ingredients are Healthy ! They are all me !

Thank you for the Tip !

Teresa ***


49 Christine December 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I am thinking that a frosting could be made from cashews and dates…a sort of cashew cream. (maybe add strawberries for extra flavor) Just a thought since I haven’t experimented with it.


50 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica December 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

It might be a little hard to blend, you can try it in the food processor, or use a nut butter to make it easier to combine.


51 Mindy December 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

You can make raw frosting out of avocados, raw agave and raw cacao powder.


52 Shauna February 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I made chocolate syrup to put on these brownies. 1/2 c pure maple syrup, 2T cocoa, 2T coconut oil, 2T coconut milk ,2 tsp pure vanilla. Mix and Bring to a boil in all sauce pan. Boil for 3 min. on med- high heat. It’s so good with sliced fresh strawberries on top with this fudgey chocolate poured over it:) yum !


53 Shauna February 17, 2013 at 5:09 PM

That’s suppose to say small sauce pan 🙂 sorry

54 Tamee December 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

What size baking pan?


55 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica December 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The standard 9×9″ brownie/square pan


56 Valerie December 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Do you soak the dates for a smoother consistency?
Also, I’ve been unable to find the ceylon cinnamon. Do you recommend any adjustment if I use regular?

Thanks for all the great recipes & for your website. I have bought many of your offerings-both hard copy & downloads & have been very happy with everything … except maybe the “What Do Raw Fooders Eat” book. I know it took tons of research but just wasn’t what I was expecting.


57 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica December 20, 2012 at 9:52 AM

If you use soft medjool dates and remove the pits you won’t have a problem. If you soak them it will be way too wet and make the batter too wet so I’m not sure how long it would take to cook. I wouldn’t use old hard dates.

Ceylon cinnamon just tastes better, you can get it at specialty spice stores or on Amazon, otherwise just use regular cinnamon.


58 Gail December 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM

I was wondering if you would have any recipe suggestions for a frosting. I have made gluten free black bean brownies before with three different types of flour. They were good, but we definitely missed a creamy frosting. I ended up adding sliced strawberries on top. Also, would it alter the taste of your recipe too much if I used cacao powder instead of cocoa powder?


59 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica December 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I find cacao is very bitter and negatively affects me. It is extremely stimulating as it’s just raw fermented cocoa. I prefer to use cocoa because it does not give me any negative effects like headaches, racing heart and keeping me awake late.

I have not come up with a healthy frosting. Just standard vegan chocolate frosting when I made this for guests, but it’s all sugar and earth balance and not healthy.

You could spread them with jam or fruit preserves. Frosting is a little difficult to make healthy lol.


60 Chris Fretwell December 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I’ve tried this one with success – it has a small amount of maple syrup (very small but some). You can play with cutting back on it and adding stevia. If you use coconut oil in it, then you can likely cut the maple syrup in half anyway. Maybe add some cocoa or if you like it raw cacao


61 Lorraine December 20, 2012 at 9:28 AM

I used carob powder instead of cocoa just to make the recipe a bit healthier and the brownies were great! I cut back on the dates as the carob powder is not bitter like cocoa.


62 Stephen@HappyHeart December 20, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Love the idea of using the black beans in brownies…favourite way to use black beans is on some vegan tacos!


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