• Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 16 brownies

Black beans are a secret weapon of whole-food, plant-based bakers. Blended, they help create a fudgy base for chocolatey treats, such as Outrageously Healthy Brownies and these delicious vegan Mexican chocolate brownies. Cayenne pepper gives these rich brownies a little kick: Add more if you like the heat.

Craving more wholesome vegan desserts? Check out these 5 Scrumptious Plant-Based Desserts.


  • ¾ cup no-salt-added canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup pure cane sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon powdered pure cane sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick foil, extending foil over edges
  2. In a food processor combine beans, applesauce, and chopped chocolate. Cover and process until smooth. Add granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla; cover and process until combined.
  3. In a small bowl stir together the next six ingredients (through cayenne pepper). Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Cover and process just until combined.
  4. Spread batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or just until center is firm and edges are slightly puffed. Cool in pan on a wire rack. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Using foil, lift brownies out of pan. Cut into squares.

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about the author

Carla Christian

Carla Christian, RD, LD, received her associate’s degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Michigan State University in 2009. She finished her dietetic internship from The University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010 and is a former chef in the Better Homes and Gardens® Test Kitchen. Photo by Jason Donnelly

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