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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

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 (181)

(4.63 from 87 votes)
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Janet3 mins ago
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Has anyone ever doubled this recipe? If so how long would you cook them if they baked all in same glass pan with parchment paper?
Thanks
Janet

Jane MacArthur6 days ago
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Amazing!!! So good even non PB peeps like.

Amy2 weeks ago
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Excellent brownies! I had no pistachios so I subbed with raw walnuts otherwise I followed it exactly. Delicious! They look like any yummy brownie you would make. It will be nice to enjoy these guilt free brownies as an occasional treat! Go Chef AJ!

Michele2 weeks ago
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After reading other reviews, I also ground my oats into flour first, reduced the date syrup to 3/4C, and added 1/2C plant milk. Because there are no eggs or wheat flour in this recipe, you can always taste the batter and adjust the sweetness before baking. When serving at a dinner party, I drizzled with the chocolate sauce from Frozen Grapes With Chocolate Sauce recipe (Also delicious BTW)

Elizabeth C3 weeks ago
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I’ve fixed this recipe numerous times and served it to both plant-based and non-plant based eaters. Everyone has raved about them, and I don’t tell the latter group what’s in the brownies. Good topped with date syrup or strawberry-pineapple preserves, too. I put the pistachios in the batter.

James Leibensperger3 weeks ago
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We could make these Carob brownies, and use Carob powder instead of cocoa powder! I remember when carob was used in a lot of Vegan cooking! Let’s give it a try! This is an awesome recipe , because the black beans add that extra boost of protein, and fiber! Thanks

Tereze2 months ago
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This turned out rally nice, even my grandchildren loved. I subbed the date syrup with 1 cup of dates soaked in some soy milk

Sheri2 months ago
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Made this with hesitancy but WOW…so surprisingly good!!!!

Ruth2 months ago
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I happen to have unsweetened cacao powder on hand instead of cocoa powder. Can I substitute with cacao powder?

Trompeter2 months ago
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Cacao works well, too.

melissa2 months ago
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does this recipe freeze well?

Lisa3 weeks ago
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Yes!

Isabelle Payne2 months ago
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Delicious! I used cannellini beans as I didn’t have black beans. Added some maple syrup as didn’t have enough date syrup and crushed hazelnuts to the top as I didn’t have pistachios! Very popular with the whole family! Will definitely have to make them again.

Tk2 months ago
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Looks yummy

Pamela2 months ago
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These are ridiculously good!!! And healthy!’

Sandie2 months ago
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What is the nutritional breakdown? Specifically the carbs and sugar.

Susan Wright3 months ago
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we love them and I am going to make them before Thanksgiving so we can have Dr Joel Furnham’s pumkinpie because we love that too

Denise3 months ago
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Absolutely delicious! I’ve made these several times and they are always a hit. Question:. Can I freeze them?

Johanne3 weeks ago
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You sure can !

Diane Hart3 months ago
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I have learned that it’s really important not to overcook the brownies. If you do they will come out dry. They may not seem quite done when the time is up but they will set once they have cooled. Baking too long will definitely make them dry.
Depending on where you live and the relative elevation and humidity, you will have to experiment with this.

When they are good, they are very very good!

Marian Blum2 months ago
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Thanks for the tip, Diane!

Jett3 months ago
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Aloha, I read through all the comments and picked and chose what I wanted to add to my first try at these little beauties.
I opted for a little vanilla, oatmeal flour and chopped pecans. A little extra water at the end.
My brownies turned out perfect! Can’t wait to make more for my Halloween get together. No one will ever know the better nor guess there are black beans in dem brownies- ha!
Dey are da bomb!
Mahalo for such an amazing recipe.

makuahine3 months ago
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Ok if they’re da bomb, I definitely will try making them.
Mahalo

Jan R4 months ago
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Oooey Goooey and gooood! So rich and satisfying with nothing in them that spikes allergies for me like nut butters. I left off the pistachios because I’m allergic to nuts but sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top. So good. Will make these again for sure!

Diane Lynch4 months ago
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Excellent

Jennifer4 months ago
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The first time I made these, I disliked the texture of the bits of oat that were left when following the order of the recipe as written. I made them again, processing the oats into a flour first, then proceeded. Much smoother. I also decreased the date syrup to 2/3 cup and replaced the remainder with plant milk – still plenty sweet. Yum!

T3 months ago
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Did you use quick oats or old fashioned the first time?

Carol4 months ago
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Love this recipe and made it multiple times. I have made adjustments based on my taste. Too sweet so I use half cup of date syrup and half cup of unsweetened applesauce. Everything else the same.

Sheri2 months ago
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I used sugar free maple syrup…less sweet and came out really good.

Anne Marie Tate4 months ago
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I make these brownies all of the time. A family favourite. Can you please tell me the fat in each serving.

Darlene Loves2 months ago
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You can always use My Fitness Pal and upload the recipe and it will tell you the nutritional break down.

KUH4 months ago
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If you use the chocolate chips & pistachios, then you can look on the label to see how much fat is in the amount you use (same with oats). If you omit the chocolate chips and pistachios, then the only fat is in the oats & that can also be found on the label.

Alice4 months ago
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I followed the directions to a T. No substitutions. My brownies came out dry and not sweet at all. Not sure how others say they turn out sweet and gooey?? I have read other reviews about using maple syrup instead of date syrup for the sweetness. Following the reviewers that used blended dates instead of date syrup should help the moisture level, but I was also thinking of adding applesauce for moisture… Anyone try this? Maybe I should have left some liquid with the beans after rinsing them?

Stephanie Cavallaro1 month ago
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Mine also turned out like yours. I was very disappointed and my husband thought the same thing. Other recipes are better. Easy? Yes. Delicious? Not so much.

Suzanne6 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.

Smith3 months ago
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And because it was too sweet in your own opinion then it’s only 3 stars? Maybe wait and Adjust to your own preference and give it 5 stars?

Jennifer4 months ago
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First time making these and they came out gooey and delicious! Thank you for this recipe! Definitely will become a regular treat in my house!

Grace6 months ago
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Carb count/nutritional info on all your recipes would be really helpful for type 1 diabetics.

Denise3 months ago
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You can easily figure up all the nutrient content yourself with simple math and label reading. FOK leaves it out on purpose, but it’s not rocket science.

Lucy5 months ago
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If you have MyFitness Pal and upload the recipe to “recipes,” it will calculate info for you.

Forks Over Knives6 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.

Rebecca6 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,

sylvia6 months ago
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Absolutely DELISH! Defi improved with vanilla flavouring and I add some pre-soaked sultanas

Kim7 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 Heiny7 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 Sacamano7 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.

Megan8 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.

Barbara8 months ago
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Why is this recipe not on the actual site?

Diane9 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.

Susan6 days ago
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Thank you for the great suggestion for how to substitute dates for date syrup. This is very helpful!

LeslieA9 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 Weisbin9 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.

Wendy2 months ago
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Trader Joe’s now sells pure date syrup…reasonable and tastes delish! Nothing but dates….

Juli9 months ago
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Yummy and filling!

Robin Roth10 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 Fournier10 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!

Mario10 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…

TracyK11 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 Hudgins11 months ago
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Best brownies I have ever eaten. Fooled our grandkids

Kathy12 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.

Noreen7 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.

Dawn12 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.

eileen3 months ago
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I’m curious about what the flax seeds add to the brownies?

Corissa Turner12 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.

Wendy12 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.

Ali12 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 Larson12 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.

Erin1 year 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!

Nicole1 year 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 Hogan1 year ago
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Wish I could post a picture, nobody knew the difference.

Carolyn1 year 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.

Ali12 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.

Carolyn1 year 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 Hogan1 year ago
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Mine extremely sweet, it’s 1 full cup of date syrup. Check your bottle.

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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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