Vegan Black Forest Brownies with Cherries

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 16 brownies
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Black beans are the secret ingredient that make this plant-based twist on a classic recipe extra moist and chewy. Don’t worry about the bean flavor: It’s masked by the delicious combination of dark cocoa, dried cherries, and shredded coconut. A touch of cinnamon adds extra depth and warmth to this decadent dessert (make it gluten-free by using certified gluten-free flour). Simple to make and even easier to devour, whip up a batch of these brownies when your sweet tooth is craving a goodie that’s also good for you! 

By Katie Simmons,

Last Updated:


  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon regular or sodium-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • ¾ cup mashed ripe banana
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried cherries
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a bowl combine dates and ½ cup warm water; let stand at least 5 minutes to soften dates.
  • In a large bowl sift together the next five ingredients (through salt). In a food processor or blender combine dates with soaking liquid and the next five ingredients (through vanilla). Process until smooth.
  • Add bean mixture and the dried cherries to flour mixture. Stir to combine. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle coconut over top.
  • Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and top starts to crack. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 16 brownies. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freezer up to 1 month.

Comments (16)

(5 from 7 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Kim Wright

The consistency is great but needs to be SWEETENED when I make it next time…..

Sandy Tieman

Sweet Potatoe brownies with garbanzo beans work well too….my version is less processed, flourless. One recommendation on this one is use less processed ingredients…CACAO instead of cocoa?


Should these be stored in the refrigerator?

Courtney Davison

Hi Ray, Great question. We checked with the recipe developer, Katie Simmons. This was her response: "I always recommend storing in the fridge for any baked goods. Without any preservatives, brownies and muffins tend to only really last a couple of days at room temperature. They also freeze really well." We've updated the instructions to recommend storing in the refrigerator. Thank you! Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives


Loved it! Made them 2 days ago. Will make again. Used oat flour instead of whole wheat. Added a pinch of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor. And used dried cranberries instead of cherries as another commenter mentioned.


For a coconut allergy, what would you recommend for a replacement? Thank you Recipe looks great!

Bhakti Karla Sikora

I've used oat flour in a recipe very similar to this one to make it GF. xxoo


The beans go into this whole?


You process them in a food processor, or a blender.


What if I can't find dried cherries what can I substitute it with


I made these with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. They turned out great.


For people who are used to this WOE, I can see these brownies being decadent. But, for people like me who are starting out, to call these “brownies” is a stretch. They are more like unsweetened bean fudge. I might try the recipe again but add some chopped walnuts and a more open mindset. To the person who wants nutritional information, FOK is not going to provide that because they want you to eat more plants and not worry about calories and serving sizes. However, you can copy the URL for this recipe and paste it into the MyFitnessPal app or many other websites to calculate that information for you.


I agree! I have been WFPB for a long while but my husband has taken baby steps and it definitely takes a while for your palate to adjust from all of the processed stuff. Try for lots of delish recipes that are kind of bridges to completely WFPB. It has worked with my husband and now he enjoys the black bean brownies!

Heather K

Can you please show the nutrition information including serving size and calories? Thank you.


Tried the brownies today, they turned out great and my whole family enjoyed them! Thank you for the recipe!


The nutritional info is very helpful for people like me who are paying attention to carbs and fats since insulin dependent and use it to determine how much insulin to use—to expand your thinking process on this would be very helpful

About the Author

Headshot of Katie Simmons

About the Author

Katie Simmons

Chef Katie Simmons is a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special concerns including gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue diets. Outside of the kitchen, she is a fitness instructor for Equinox, with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry. Learn more at her Plants-Rule website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
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