Uh oh, it’s April 1. We all know what that means… April Fool’s Day!
What if I told you that this indeed is no joke. These brownies really are made of veggies!
YES, HEALTHY BROWNIES DO EXIST!
Trick all of your friends, coworkers, and family members with the tastiest, healthiest April Fool’s prank yet! They will have no idea that these rich chocolate brownies are made of vegetables! Not to mention; vegan, gluten free, and contain no refined sugar, butter, oil, or salt! Take that Paula Dean.
Just make sure that no one is allergic to the secret superstar ingredients first… because that would not be fun!
I love Chef AJ’s original Black Bean Brownie recipe, but I didn’t have barley flour or date syrup on hand, so I did some trial and error with flours, making my own date paste/syrup, and added spinach! I made 2 different batches to ensure they were perfect before posting, and I found that almond meal/flour tasted the best and gave the greatest consistency. I wanted to give whole-wheat flour and try, but it came out like rubber! As I was experimenting, I found that blending the ingredients in a particular order made the process much more efficient.
Remember, even though these are made from whole healthy ingredients, that they are still treats and should be enjoyed in moderation. But go ahead, lick the batter straight from the bowl, there are no eggs!
Black Bean & Spinach Brownies
Recipe adapted from Chef AJ
Makes 9 servings
15oz, can no salt added black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups fresh spinach
12 medjool dates (pitted)
1 cup water
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond flour
Optional 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips or vegan carob chips – as a topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a high-powered blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix!) combine the dates and water, blending until thick smooth paste is formed. Add the fresh spinach to the paste and mix until smooth. Next, add the beans and vanilla extract and blend. Finally, add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and almond flour. Blend until batter is mixed evenly. Scrape the sides of the blender or food processor as needed, as the batter will become very thick. Once batter is smooth, pour into an 8 x 8 cooking pan, lightly coated with olive oil spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Optional: when brownies have finished baking, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let them melt in the oven for 1 additional minute. Remove brownies from the oven and spread melted chocolate chips evenly with a spatula.
Note: I checked the brownies after 35 minutes and they were still raw in the middle, so I kept cooking them in 10 minute increments, checking with a toothpick each time. The brownies took around 50 minutes to completely cook.
Side Note: I have not tried using deglet noor dates (the smaller, lighter dates) but if you use them in place of medjool, I suggest doubling the quantity to 22 since they are half the size.