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The next time you’re craving rich, chewy, densely chocolaty brownies, make a batch of these. Cooked black beans keep them lusciously moist, while date syrup (also called date molasses) lends a caramel-like sweetness. If you can’t find date syrup at the store, you can make your own by simmering equal amounts of chopped dates and water in a saucepan for 30 minutes, then allowing the mixture to cool before puréeing until smooth. The syrup can be strained through cheesecloth for more of a syrupy consistency, if desired. Store these healthy brownies in an airtight container for up to three days.

Recipe from chefajwebsite.com

Healthy Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked)
  • 1 cup pure date syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Unsalted pistachio nuts, finely chopped (optional)
  • Vegan semisweet chocolate pieces (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (or use a silicone cake pan).
  2. Combine the beans, date syrup, and cocoa powder in a food processor; process just until smooth. Add the oats, baking powder, and baking soda; process just until combined.
  3. Spread batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle with pistachios and chocolate pieces (if using). Bake for 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into wedges.

Comments (141)

(4.57 from 72 votes)
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Suzanne2 months ago
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I used Date Lady date syrup and they turned out WAY too sweet even though I increased the cocoa powder to 3/4 cup. I may try them again, but would definitely cut the date syrup in half and just add water.

Grace2 months ago
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Carb count/nutritional info on all your recipes would be really helpful for type 1 diabetics.

Lucy3 weeks ago
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If you have MyFitness Pal and upload the recipe to “recipes,” it will calculate info for you.

Forks Over Knives2 months ago
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Hi Grace! We have chosen not to include nutritional information for our recipes as we would not encourage nutrient tallying and calorie counting, which we believe can create more problems than they solve. The general guideline to follow is that, with a whole-food, plant-based diet, you can eat until comfortably satiated.

The higher water and fiber content of whole plant-based foods allows our bodies to more accurately gauge how much food we need to eat. Whole plant foods contain all the essential nutrients (with the exception of Vitamin B12), and in proportions that are more consistent with human needs than animal-based or processed foods.

However, we do understand that certain medical conditions do require knowing specific nutrient information, so for those instances we recommend entering our recipes into online nutritional software: http://www.cronometer.com. If you have a health issue or have concerns, be sure to consult a physician.

Rebecca2 months ago
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I am making these now. Idk why, however, I cannot stomach dates. So I will be using maple syrup,

sylvia2 months ago
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Absolutely DELISH! Defi improved with vanilla flavouring and I add some pre-soaked sultanas

Kim3 months ago
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I might give these a try. But date syrup is expensive so I would sub with pure maple syrup and use half a cup to 3/4 of a cup max.

Stacey Heiny3 months ago
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I highly suggest just making your own date syrup with equal parts dates and water in your blender until smooth. 🙂

Bob Sacamano3 months ago
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10/10 on first attempt, double batch. Will def make again. I ground up the rolled oats (ROLLED OATS == OLD FASHIONED OATS) in the food processor separately before combining other ingredients. Only had 3/4 cup of date syrup (out of the 2 cups total needed), so made up the difference with pure maple syrup. Added 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for fun based on comments here.

Megan3 months ago
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I made these with homemade date paste the first time and did not love them. The second time I also used homemade date paste but added a banana, soymilk, oat flour instead of rolled oats, and a bit of peanut butter. They were definitely better. I think I might try them again but next time add maybe another banana, a bit more flour, maybe a flax egg, and bake them a bit longer.

Barbara4 months ago
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Why is this recipe not on the actual site?

Diane5 months ago
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Delicious! I used 1 cup of dates pureed. I added, I banana, 1/3 cup of peanut butter and about 1/4 cup of soy milk. Also 1 cup instead of 3/4 cup oats. I love all of the comments. Next time will add coffee and vinegar. I like that with chocolate brownies.

LeslieA5 months ago
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I made these without any sweetener. Then plated a slice and lightly sprinkled with turbinado sugar. That was a lot less sugar, not sure what the FOK docs would think…

Randy Weisbin5 months ago
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Is there a table on this site for amounts to switch sweeteners? Like how much stevia to maple syrup to date syrup, etc? I’m thinking of doing half Truvia and half maple syrup. I have to cut back on sugars. Too lazy to make date syrup. Or is there a better bean brownie recipe for me? Thanks.

Juli5 months ago
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Yummy and filling!

Robin Roth6 months ago
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I loved these, soft fudgy, chocolaty, delicious. I did read through the reviews and make some minor changes and additions, used oat flour, added vanilla and Tahini. Will definitely make these again. Mindblown they are made with black beans but taste like a brownie. I am going to try adding coffee in the next batch. Recently started following The Meditteranean way of eating and came across balck bean brownies, did a little research and found this recipe. This gets 5 stars for me!

Ellie Fournier6 months ago
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Wondering if you’d mind elaborating on some of the additional ingredients you incorporated? I’m especially interested in how much tahini you added. Also, did you use 3/4 c. oat flour (same amount as recipe called for using rolled oats)? Or did you modify the amount of oat flour? Any tips or cautions?
Thanks so much for your feedback!

Mario6 months ago
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I halved the recipe and baked in an 8” loaf pan but I made a mistake and used the entire can of beans and they still turned out fine and less sweet than if I had used half a can. I also used 1/3 cup of oat flour instead of the rolled oats and I added 1 tsp of vanilla and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. I mixed in chopped walnuts and topped with whole walnuts.
The first time I tried them I really missed the buttery flavor of regular brownies and the lack of fat reminded me of Snackwells cookies from the 90s lol, but in subsequent days I got used to the taste and they satisfied my dessert cravings.
Next time I want to use a high end cocoa such as Valrhona and Adzuki beans as someone suggested, and perhaps add a little tahini for fat and top with a few salt flakes…

TracyK7 months ago
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These brownies are so fudgy delish! Even my meat eating friends love them and have no idea how they are made ; )

Chuck Hudgins7 months ago
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Best brownies I have ever eaten. Fooled our grandkids

Kathy8 months ago
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I made these today and they were pretty good, but they need a little salt. I used maple syrup instead of date syrup because that’s what I had. I agree with someone else who said they would use oat flour instead of rolled oats next time to create a smoother texture.

Noreen3 months ago
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I made these but your recipe for date syrup is all wrong. It makes date paste not syrup. I added some water and maple syrup to thin it down. They turned out fudgey and very good.

Dawn8 months ago
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Fabulous! These tasted just like conventional brownies, great texture too.
I added:
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp. instant espresso powder (to enhance the chocolate flavor).
-1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
-1 tsp white vinegar (a necessary acid to give the baking soda a quick lift).
I topped the brownies with walnuts & vegan chocolate chips.

Corissa Turner8 months ago
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Awesome. Excellent consistency. A delicious chocolate delivery system that doesn’t make me sugar crazy. I’m a little bit lazy so I use a combination of whole dates and maple syrup. And i add a splash of soymilk.

Wendy8 months ago
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Yum! I just made them and had to convince myself to save more for tomorrow! I added 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract, which was the BOMB. Next time, though, I would sub with oat flour or another ground up grain, because the rolled oats made the texture rather gritty.

Ali8 months ago
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Delicious!! Even my non vegan family members love them and ask for again and again. Have always made them exactly as the recipe except without any nuts. Just know that if you use date paste instead of date syrup they will turn out different. Not bad, just different than the original recipe.

Tobin Larson8 months ago
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I’ll be making these next weekend for Valentines Day to share with my beautiful wife. I know I am supposed to make them because date syrup was the only thing I don’t have close at hand and when I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday on the “new products” shelves was Trader Joe’s Date Syrup!
I’ll send a review after we’ve tried them next week.

Erin8 months ago
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I just made it and it is delicious. I used 3/4 cup of maple syrup instead of date syrup and it was sweet!

Nicole8 months ago
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Holy cow! These are AMAZING! So moist and rich! I just cannot get over the fact that the main ingredient is black beans! I felt no guilt any time I wanted one – I will be making these regularly (probably too regularly ;)). Thank you!

Debbie Hogan8 months ago
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Wish I could post a picture, nobody knew the difference.

Carolyn9 months ago
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I followed the instructions and made date syrup and then, step by step, I followed the recipe. The results are brownies that are very dry and in need of sweetening. So disappointed.

Ali8 months ago
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I think you will enjoy them much better with date syrup. The homemade version was of date syrup is really date paste with water added. It’s just not the same.

Carolyn8 months ago
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I would delete my one star review if I could and rewrite because I realize it is actually a very good recipe once taste buds and expectations for a “sweet” are adjusted. I didn’t have date syrup and made my own (which was a bit of a chore) so that’s where I got lost and why the brownies were not at all sweet. Looking forward to making these again when I’ve bought date syrup.

Debbie Hogan8 months ago
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Mine extremely sweet, it’s 1 full cup of date syrup. Check your bottle.

Lisa Ham9 months ago
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These ARE delicious! I used a cup of date paste instead so they weren’t overly sweet but they still gave off a true brownie impression. The texture was nice, it held together easily but didn’t feel heavy. I don’t like things too chocolatey so I thought the half cup cocoa was perfect. I did add a spoonful of vanilla and instead of chocolate chips on top, a teaspoon of powdered sugar covered the whole pan and fooled your tastebuds into thinking the brownies were far sweeter than they really were. My husband says to spread rasberry jam on one and make a brownie sandwich but I leave that idea up to you!

Virginia9 months ago
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Just made these today. They are amazing!!

Kris Errecart9 months ago
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I asked my 8 and 9 year old grandkids to taste test, letting them know that they were healthy enough to have for breakfast. They both asked for seconds and gave 5/5 stars. Delicious. I did make my own date syrup/paste. It was a bit thick. The brownies were soft and chewy.

Drk9 months ago
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Horrible

Barb9 months ago
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Doesn’t anybody just make it according to the recipe? I want to know how the recipe turns out please.

Chuck Hudgins7 months ago
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Yes we filled the recipe to the letter
I have been a meat eater all my life.I am one of those guys who. Loves bbq grew up in Tenn.

We started this journey to WFPB just 2 months ago.
I must admit. That I have not found anything in Forks over Knives that I have not liked. We have not eaten any red meat or chicken or meat at all in the last 2 months I have a freezer full of our farm raised chickens and another full of red meat.
We have a organic hobbit sized farm
We have raised our own garden for 35 years
We are now looking at ways to grow even more fruit and veggies. I am a changed man
We have watched the documentary. Plus just last night watched the 10 year anniversary of forks over knives we love this new lifestyle. I now want to open a food truck that is whole foods plant based.

Nicole8 months ago
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Yes, they are amazing as written! (I used jarred date syrup, fyi, rather than making my own).

Catherine9 months ago
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I have — I love them as the recipe is written and so do those I’ve shared them with.

Karen9 months ago
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I made it exactly how the recipe is written and they were delicious

Howard9 months ago
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Instead of date syrup, I soak 1 cup of dates in 1 cup of hot water for about 1 hour or longer. But all the other ingredients and amounts are good.

This recipe is a winner

Moni9 months ago
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I made these and they didn’t turn out very good. So I got online and went to Chef AJ’s youtube to watch her making them and see what I did wrong. She calls for added ingredients in her recipe which are 1/2 cup of unsweetened plant milk; 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds and 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder. Those are in addition to the other ingredients listed in this recipe. I will try her recipe next and see if it makes a difference. I am wondering if anyone else has tried this.

Rae9 months ago
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No body will ever know this was made GF, SF, DF, and with BEANS. It is a straight up chocolate brownie that takes less time and is more tasty than traditional brownies.

Veguy10 months ago
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OMG You have the audacity to give this recipe only 1 star WHEN YOU DIDN’T EVEN FOLLOW THE RECIPE! LOL

Lisa10 months ago
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Easy to make and provides a nice dense chocolatey dessert that is even sneakily healthier than others.
I don’t drain the beans (sometimes partially) or add pistachios, and find it to turn out gooey and tasty especially when warm. (The first time was on accident, then I kept making them this way).
Tried it with maple syrup when I was out of date syrup. It was spongier in texture and tasted OK, but I prefer date syrup.
I’ve shared it with a few others and it’s been a hit or miss pending individual preferences (if they do/don’t like darker chocolate taste or prefer conventional brownies) but it’s become a staple dessert to make.

ANGELA CAYNE10 months ago
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date syrup? what is that

Laura Kelso6 months ago
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How did Shingo’s unkind remark make it past Admin?

Matthew Ciuccio10 months ago
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What a game changer! Thank you for this recipe. I was a bit nervous if it didn’t taste good, what with a CUP of date syrup, that is expensive. I made mine with carob also so there was no caffeine from cocoa, and well, it was FANTASTIC. Yum Yum.

Lisa Reyes10 months ago
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What the purpose of the oats? Are they used as a binder? Can homemade almond meal or chopped walnuts be used instead?

Jay10 months ago
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The MB comment below replaced the oats with ground almonds and it worked well.

Monica10 months ago
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Yummy! Made this by using 1/4 cup of date syrup and 1/4 cup of maple syrup. I added walnuts too.

Cynthia10 months ago
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I’m allergic to oats any other option to use? I’d rather not use quinoa flakes as a replacement as they do have a strong flavor.

Gale Roanoake9 months ago
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Cynthia, try replacing oats with rolled spelt.

Tonya Skelly11 months ago
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Get in my belly!!!! I just made these suckers…substituted pinto for black beans as that was what I had. Added vanilla and tablespoon of tahini. I double the recipe. I will be taking these to church functions going forward just to get the church ladies tongues a wagging!

Bri12 months ago
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These are great. I used homemade date syrup (1 cup hot water + 1 cup packed dates, blended with a high-powered blender) and skipped the toppings. Used an 8″ baking pan lined with parchment paper, and 35 minutes at 350°F was just right. Delicious!

Jojo12 months ago
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I just made this. Moist and rich but a bit too sweet with a full cup of date syrup. Not bad with a cuppa strong black coffee. Will use less date syrup next time and maybe add walnuts.

kat12 months ago
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Which diameter bake pan for that temperature and cooking time?

Liz12 months ago
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I haven’t made these yet, but have made black bean brownies before, by modifying a non vegan recipe. Instead of sugar I use date paste. 1:1 ratio. The key is not to bake it for too long. The middle should not be as dry as the edges. Black bean brownies are fudgie and moist and delicious. The concept or preference of a brownie’s texture is subjective to each individual.

Catherine12 months ago
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These didn’t turn out well at all. Used maple syrup instead of date syrup, and added some vanilla extract and a bit of salt. They were really bland and dry, practically inedible, and ended up in the trash.

Blu5 months ago
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Oh gosh my comment went to the wrong place… the comments for the 1 star are hilarious!!!!

Sarah9 months ago
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Dammit Catherine

Brenda9 months ago
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Maybe you should have followed the recipe!

Veguy10 months ago
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OMG You have the audacity to give this recipe only 1 star WHEN YOU DIDN’T EVEN FOLLOW THE RECIPE! LOL

MB12 months ago
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Made a few modifications. Half cup maple syrup (replace one cup date syrup), ground almonds (replace rolled oats), one teaspoon baking soda (instead of half). Blended with everything else in one go. Topped with chopped Lindt 70%, no other nuts, baked for only 25 minutes, left to cool in pan for 7 minutes before turning out on wire rack to cool completely.
Result – decadent, rich, moist and just right on the sweetness, that the whole family loved.

blu5 months ago
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This is hilarious!!!!

Su10 months ago
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Thanks for your mods and rating. Sounds even better your way!

MB12 months ago
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I also added about 3 tablespoons of orange juice for more moisture.

Claudine1 year ago
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Delicious!

Rebecca1 year ago
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These surprised me. I’ve made black bean brownies before and could taste the beans. I couldn’t taste them here and could swear they were made with flour. I also appreciate that they’re not overly sweet. I added walnuts on top. Excellent!

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Healthy Brownies

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about the author

Chef AJ

Chef AJ has been devoted to a plant-exclusive diet for over 44 years. She is the host of the television series Healthy Living with CHEF AJ airing on Foody TV. A chef, culinary instructor, and professional speaker, she is author of Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight and the best-selling books The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss and Own Your Health. Chef AJ was the executive pastry chef at Santé Restaurant in Los Angeles where she was famous for her sugar-, oil-, salt- and gluten-free desserts. She is the host of YouTube show Chef AJ Live. She is proud to say that her IQ is higher than her cholesterol. In 2018 she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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