brownies dessert gluten-free

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

April 20, 2014

No one needs to know there’s black beans hidden in these delicious Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies. There’s also another secret veggie in there and are lightened-up with just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. A healthy alternative to typical brownie recipes!

It took all of my will-power not to name these “special” brownies. It is 4/20 after all…if you don’t know what I’m talking about then have fun googling it!

No one needs to know there's black beans hidden in these delicious Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies. There's also another secret veggie in there and are lightened-up with just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. A healthy alternative to typical brownie recipes!As profitable as it might be to start baking edibles, I don’t think that would be my wisest career move. That and the fact that I don’t live in either California or Colorado…I mean Canada is basically on par with their stance on da ganj but as much of a rebel as I might be, I’m not one to mess with the law. That and the fact that my parents are reading (hi guys!).

I prefer my special brownies drug free. Unless you count beans and spinach as drugs in which case happy high times to ya! Apologies if all of this food porn gave you the munchies.

Fun fact, brownies are my least favourite baked good. I like chocolate as an undertone, not the star of the show. Chocolate chip anything sounds fab to me but anything straight chocolate overwhelms my taste buds. It’s like my mouth is begging for some peanut butter…which btw you need to smear a hella ton of peanut butter on these. Or eat them plain if you’re one of those people. Then again I’m the type of person who hides veggies in her brownies so I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to judge.

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies This post is officially all over the place. I’m starting to think I ate a few too many “special” brownies….uhhhh I mean Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies!

SAVE print

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

PREP TIME 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins


  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T coconut oil, softened*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar***
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips****


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine black beans, spinach and almond milk. Add more almond milk if needed.
  3. Once done blending, add to a bowl and stir in softened coconut oil, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl combine cocoa powder, brown rice flour, baking powder, coconut palm sugar and sea salt.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined.
  6. Add in chocolate chips.
  7. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil or non-stick spray.
  8. Add batter to pan and smooth out top.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes (less time if you like them fudgier).
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and removing from pan.
  11. Store in refrigerator.



or sub unsalted butter.
*can sub in any flour EXCEPT coconut flour.
**or sub brown sugar.
***I use Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips.

No one needs to know there's black beans hidden in these delicious Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies. There's also another secret veggie in there and are lightened-up with just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. A healthy alternative to typical brownie recipes!Favourite baked good? Are you celebrating 4/20?…just kidding…not kidding…kind of kidding…


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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    April 20, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Thank you so much for posting these steak squares!

    I too would schmear (said in a Sandy Cohen voice) peanut butter on these like a mofo.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Spill it, Sundays #21- The Family Edition

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    April 20, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I have actually yet to try a black bean brownie, which is odd considering that unlike you, brownies are one of my absolute favorite desserts (ok, you caught me, foods!). I think I hold back from getting adventurous in the kitchen because I don’t like to waste things, so I’ve been afraid to try something like beans in my dessert because if they don’t taste like brownie heaven and we don’t eat them I’ll feel awful. I feel more confident trying yours though. And honestly, John will eat anything so I’m not sure what I’m always so worried about!
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…Planning for weekend travel

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    April 20, 2014 at 6:24 am

    You make me laugh lol…I love fudgy brownies, fudgy cake, super chocolate fudgy anything but hate chocolate ice cream. I guess we all have our ways to love chocolate.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Lulu Finds and Links I Love This Week

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    April 20, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I’m gonna need to come visit and have you feed me these brownies without telling me the “magic” ingredient… I’ve only made black bean brownies once, and they were so horrific that I’ve basically been scarred for life. Granted, that was back in the day where I basically healthified everything to an extreme and most of my baked goods weren’t really edible, but the thought still makes me cringe 😯
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. 11 helpful wordpress plugins for your blog .

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    April 20, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Haha not going to lie, I would have died a little if you posted a recipe for ‘special’ brownies today. Although black beans are still pretty special :-p
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Weekly Eats & Workouts 04/20.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Washington is legal too! Us crazy hippies want our edibles, and by us I DO NOT MEAN ME! I will admit to the internet that I had a “special” brownie ONCE in my life. It was when I was like 19-20 and it was the worst experience EVER and I never want to do it again. I also prefer my brownies drug free, BUT I LOVE brownies in their complete chocolate form. I legit JUST saw another GF black bean brownie recipe yesterday and told myself that I will be making GF black bean brownies next time I bake..and now it’s confirmed. I made some black bean brownies that were more like a fudge a while back, but I like the textured look of these! These look wonderful, please shit me an entire batch!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I’ve seen black bean brownies before so I would have given you extra special bonus points if you had posted the other kind. 😉

    Now I’m afraid you’ve given me the munchies so I gotta whip up some breakfast. Have a lovely 4-20, er I mean Sunday.

  • Reply
    Ang @ Nutty for Life
    April 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Question: what’s the diff between normal cocoa powder and dutch processed?? Help a sista out. (a comment from a nice girl named Angela)
    Ang @ Nutty for Life recently posted…Dessert Before Dinner [WIAW #43]

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Dutch-process cocoa powder has been slightly alkalized to make the beans slightly less acidic and bitter tasting. You don’t need to use baking soda when you use it but can be used interchangeably with reg cocoa powder if you add a 1/4 tsp of baking soda 🙂 I don’t typically use it but the grocery store was out of reg cocoa powder so I made due!

      p.s. I’m waiting for your comment from mean Angela!

  • Reply
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner
    April 20, 2014 at 9:42 am

    These brownies look so fudgy and delicious! 🙂 Also, I’ve always wondered the same question from Ang @ Nutty for Life.
    Tina @ Tina’s Chic Corner recently posted…Crumb Carrot Cake

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Dutch-process cocoa powder has been slightly alkalized to make the beans slightly less acidic and bitter tasting. You don’t need to use baking soda when you use it but can be used interchangeably with reg cocoa powder if you add a 1/4 tsp of baking soda 🙂 I don’t typically use it but the grocery store was out of reg cocoa powder so I made due!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I read the recipe. Stood up. Preheated the oven. Started pulling out ingredients. I thought I had everything. Alas, no black beans (I had pinto). I’m heading to the store. Can’t wait to make this. And, they are Kosher-Passover-Enough for me!!!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Laurie you’re hilarious!!! I hope stores are open for you today and you’re able to find a can of black beans! They’re K for P enough for me too 😉

      • Reply
        April 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Yep. Stores are open. I had to go anyway. I just rotated the pan in the oven.

        It’s funny, I used to do bake on the spur of the moment frequently. I’d see a recipe, then I’d pop up and make it. For most baked goods, I used to have practically anything I’d need (including various milks, creams, etc). But, that was during my stay at home mom days. When making these today, I was/am concerned that I was too heavy handed with the spinach; the black bean/spinach puree was more green than black/brown. But, it was definitely brown when I mixed it with the dry ingredients.

        • Reply
          Davida Kugelmass
          April 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

          you should be fine!! You’d have to use a lot of spinach to taste it. There’s enough cocoa in there to mask to flavour 🙂

          I always get baking urges at the most inconvenient times…mainly at 10:00 PM at night when I should be getting ready for bed!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate
    April 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I am totally making these. I made black bean brownies in college but lost the recipe and ever since I have been trying to find a good one. Thanks for this!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted…Heart Pumping Lower Body Workout

  • Reply
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero
    April 20, 2014 at 11:16 am

    These look great. Just pinned them.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Weight Watchers

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Those *look* good, but I have to admit I’m skeptical about the beans…although I guess they’re pretty mild in flavour; what is their role in the recipe? Are they the binder? Help me understand 🙂 🙂
    TriGirl recently posted…A Shoe Review! Women’s New Balance W980 Fresh Foam

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 20, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      They are a more nutritious alternative to flour! They do work slightly as a binder but mostly you’re just getting more protein than you would with typical brownies. Oh and it makes them fudgier 🙂

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    What a great way to sneak some extra veggies in!
    Yeah, 4/20 is definitely noticeable in San Francisco today. I get ya! 🙂
    Emily recently posted…Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    Megan @ The Skinny-Life
    April 20, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I made black bean brownies few years ago and they were awful. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to make it again though. What’s the difference between cocoa powder and dutch-process?
    Megan @ The Skinny-Life recently posted…4/20/14 Sunday Funday & Happy Easter

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 20, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      I promise you, these are delicious! Dutch-process cocoa powder has been slightly alkalized to make the beans slightly less acidic and bitter tasting. You don’t need to use baking soda when you use it but can be used interchangeably with reg cocoa powder if you add a 1/4 tsp of baking soda I don’t typically use it but the grocery store was out of reg cocoa powder so I made due!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Yes I love hiding healthy ingredients in desserts 🙂 Sneaky, sneaky!
    Paige@FitNotFad recently posted…Need Vs. Want

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    April 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    It totally escaped me that it’s 4/20. High school Gabby would be so disappointed in me. But oh well. I indulged in a fantastic Italian style brunch with Prosecco so at least I did something fun today!

    These look awesome. I am not the biggest brownie person either but I could totally get on board with these.
    Gabby @ the veggie nook recently posted…15 recipes for a long weekend stay-cation or easter entertaining

  • Reply
    Heather @ Better With Veggies
    April 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I remember making black bean brownies ages ago – and was pleasantly surprised with the results! I am not a big sweets person, but sometimes a batch of half-baked brownies calls my name. 🙂
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted…Get Ready to Create with Vanilla!

  • Reply
    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan
    April 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Davida – these look freakin awesome! I am one of those people that can handle my chocolate straight up – or with PB/AB/spinach/kale/black beans – I don’t usually care what goes with it – it’s chocolate right?! I have never tried making black bean brownies before as brownies are not my favorite baked good either – and its not because of the chocolate factor – scones are my all time favorite to bake and eat!!

  • Reply
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    April 21, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Is it odd that the 420 reference alway pops into my head when I see it on a clock? You learn one thing and it sticks with you for life! And these are definitely magically delicious. I’m Jonesing!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Dare To Believe

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 7:43 am

    brownies are my least favorite too. But i like making them! maybe because you can fit a lot in them! haha. like crack. JK!
    lindsay recently posted…Fermented Foods Facts and Recipe Round Up

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    April 21, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Ok I’ve never made black bean brownies before because I’ve always been slightly skeptical of them… but dang, don’t these look good! I think you may have finally convinced me.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…Kefir breakfast bowl

  • Reply
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
    April 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Veggies in brownies = best thing ever. Especially when I tell my friends they’re actually eating black beans he he he. These look glorious, and although I’m not a brownie person either (who wants brownies when cheesecake exists????), I’d love to demolish a few of this right now!
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…Cookie Dough & Whipped Cream Chocolate Cake

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Haha special brownies. No idea what that is. Clearly your not shy to mention anything in a post. These brownies sound and look awesome, i’ve had black beans in them before and it’s great! Cannot taste them at all. I’ve also had brownies made with squash. I’m totally a chocolate overload lover…pshhhh how are you not?? You’re missing out! Anyways, thanks for the recipe lady! Enjoy Monday 🙂
    Kelly – LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE recently posted…My NYC Foodie Adventures

  • Reply
    Alex @ Alex Runs For Food
    April 21, 2014 at 9:53 am

    These brownies look amazing!!! I’m not celebrating 4/20 but I may have celebrated it once or twice in high school 😉 4/20 was always or senior skip day!!

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    April 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    After my own heart 🙂 I’ve been craving brownies (and any type of comfort food really–here’s looking at you, finals). Have a great week!
    Alex @ Kenzie Life recently posted…PopSugar Resort Must Have Review

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    These look amaze and so fudgy… when I saw your FB post I was like “OMG DID SHE SERIOUSLY” but then saw the spinach… you got me!
    Cassie recently posted…Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    April 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I have NEVER seen spinach in brownies – black beans yes, spinach no. So pumped to try this … in celebration of 4/20 (duh) Pinned!
    Mary Frances recently posted…Skinny Vegan Key Lime Pie Bars {Guest post for Blahnik Baker}

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    April 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    OMG….I couldn’t think of any better way to spend 4/20 than these oh so fabulously fudgy gems. LOVE that they’re not only hiding beanies, but spinach tooooo! Obvi I’m gonna make them and text you like ten pics, cuz I only have two of your cookie left—eeeek!!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I seriously don’t know how you it!!! These sound delicious and we already have most of the ingredients… gonna get the rest tmrw and give them a shot!!! 😀
    Amanda recently posted…It’s Friday. Here’s some favorites.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
    April 21, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    I love black bean brownies! Will have to try out your version – there’s nothing better than a hot, chocolate-y treat. Great pics, too!!!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Sriracha Grapefruit Salmon

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    April 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I have never imagined putting spinach in brownies! I am one of “those” people – I simply love brownies! The more chocolate, the better 🙂
    My hubby made a great black bean brownie recipe. I was surprised at how delish they were!
    Heather @ Run Like a G! recently posted…Pet Peeves

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  • Reply
    John @ Garage Gyms
    April 30, 2014 at 1:28 am

    I’ve never heard of beans or spinach in a brownie, but those pics look pretty legit. I kinda want a brownie now, and by kinda I mean I do, and by brownie I mean these brownies.
    John @ Garage Gyms recently posted…3 Great Workout Programs for Garage Gyms

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  • Reply
    May 31, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I made these yesterday and they were so good, between my husband and I almost half the pan is gone…oops haha. Very delicious, and will definitely make them again. PS: For the brown rice flour I used 1/4 C of processed oats.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I finally found something I can indulge in! Not for everyone. Heavy on the cocoa flavor, but as long as i don’t get a stomach ache, I’m in! I can’t have wheat or white sugar.

  • Reply
    Gloria Huerta
    August 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    What a great idea of including spinach into the batter! I veganized the recipe by using aquafaba and psyllium husks instead of eggs, added a dash of cardamom, omitted the chips and added waluts, added a little agave, then sprinkled chopped almonds on top. Can’t wait to see how it turns out … it is in the baking mode right now.
    Gloria Huerta recently posted…El agua

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