Show Your Valentine Some Love – With Beans…

Valentine’s Day is all about romance. But it’s also a big industry.  A guy can’t afford NOT to buy flowers, choose expensive designer chocolates, and RSVP a table for two in a classy restaurant (which incidentally jacks up the rates for the special Valentine’s menu). And a gal needs to reciprocate, with a lovely gift as well.

So we show our love with money. Hey, it’s the American way.

But how about spending another currency?

Time. And culinary effort.

So why don’t you show your love today by coming home from work a bit earlier. Warm your significant other’s heart by heating up the stovetop and cooking something special. Or by just cooking (for those who usually just microwave a packaged food).

We have a suggestion for dessert:

Not to stray too far from the chocolaty tradition, here is an interesting twist on the classic brownie recipe. This recipe, courtesy of celebrity chef Amanda Freitag and nutritionist Julie Barto employs… black beans. Beans are a low calorie, protein and fiber packed ingredient we could all consume more of. Here is an opportunity to enjoy beans for dessert.

Black Bean Brownies


1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained very well
3 eggs
3 Tbsp canola oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed or ¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8” x 8” baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. In food processor, process black beans until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sugar, and process until smooth.
  5. Add ½ of the chocolate chips, and pulse a few times or stir, so that the chips are mixed in.
  6. Transfer the batter to the baking pan, and sprinkle the remaining chips on top of the brownies.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.


Note: the recipe originally appeared on MS Active Wellness.

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  • Lauren Slayton

    I’m not a Valentines Day gal either. I blogged about love though and I think love can be unloading the dishwasher, trying a healthy recipe to make yout *wife* happy etc. Lots of ways that are “free” and better than flowers. This recipe looks great. I don’t know if beans are a romantic food but you know what they say “beans beans are good for the heart” so in that way appropriate.

  • Belinda @zomppa

    Fantastic!! What a great way to sneak in some healthy beans…I mean, beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…in so many ways!

  • elisabeth

    after many years of doing the valentine’s day dinner thing, my dear husband and I decided it would be an equally good use of our money, and an even better celebration of our love to donate to the local “table to table” food charity, which works with grocery stores and restaurants to distribute food that would otherwise be wasted to free lunch programs and similar outreach.

  • anon

    Ok, I have to say, this just sounds gross! Please share if anyone ends up making them…how did they taste??!

  • Foodie, Formerly Fat

    Fantastic recipe! It reminds me of one I saw on 101 Cookbooks. I’m working on a recipe right now for a black bean brownie that uses olive oil and no refined sugar. It’s a challenge to get them right. I’ve been finding in my experimentation that it helps to add some “grown-up” spices to it: some cinnamon and just a tiny bit of cayenne! It should be up on my blog soon.

  • kat

    I’m so tempted to make these without disclosing the ingredients to the tasters. Great idea for gluten free diets. What is the nutritional breakdown?

    • Carol

      Nutrition per serving depends on the size of each brownie. If we assume 9 brownies (each about 2.5 ” square) per batch, each brownie will have: 205 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 62 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 5 g fiber, 75 mg sodium (assuming no salt left in the rinsed beans), 16 g sugars and 10-12% DV for iron. Not bad.

  • Kerri Arthur

    I made these for the first time earlier this month, slightly different recipe, but they were great! I now make them all the time,
    for those of you who are skeptical, try this experiment I did with my kids when they FIRS freaked out…make a paste of just flour and water, taste it. Now taste a bean. Not much difference. You are still basically starting with a paste but instead of refined flour, you are using whole beans. They really do taste just like the boxed brownies, but a whole lot healthier! Give them a try, one note tho, they are not the best right out of the oven, you should let them cool and refrigerate them for at least a few hours to allow the chocolate flavor to “mature” it really makes a difference.

  • Mysofteyes

    I am new to this site and am amazed to see a recipe touted as healthy that includes 2/3 cup white sugar. Come on people! I know these will taste good. I have had sweetened beans from Chinese bakeries… but on this site! Forgive me if I am off here.

    • Anonymous

      Hold your horses.
      Sugar is not evil and it’s what makes a cake taste good.
      And there is no nutritional difference between white or brown sugar.
      If you have a piece of cake on Valentine’s day, that’s wonderful.
      The problem is that most people find it too hard to say no to sugar laden treats, several times a day.

      • Abbywarmington

        If anybody is thinking that brownies could ever be “healthy”, they’re living in a dream world! This recipe is meant to make them a better “real food” option than processed boxed brownies. And think about the great fiber the black beans sneak in! As far as treats {read: occasional} go, these are a much better option than cake, cupcakes, or traditional brownies. Thanks for the education you provide here!

    • mari

      Here’s an adaptation with other sugar options:

      I think we can all agree that this isn’t out of a box…at very least.

  • Lisa

    I had bought a can of black beans the day before on our weekly shopping trip with no immediate plans for it. So, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.
    I told my husband he could go on his daily walk while I took care of our dessert. I just didn’t want him in the house while I made the recipe! I didn’t want him to see the beans because I thought it might colour his reaction.
    He loved the brownies and was blown away that they were made with black beans.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Anonymous


  • Mike H

    My lovely wife and I made these last night, for those that are curious – they were *delicious*. Seriously, and we’re not big ingredient substituters-for-health normally. Or, we try I guess but if it’s not good, we don’t pretend it’s good. These were really good! Thanks fooducate

  • Abbywarmington

    I’ve been making these black bean brownies and they are the best!!! Honestly, I love them way more than traditional brownies. Although that might not be a great thing either…since I’ll want to eat more of them ;)

  • Mandy Emel

    I made these and took them to a Daytona 500 party yesterday. The main menu items were ribs, brisket and pulled pork. I didn’t tell anyone what the brownies were made from and everyone loved them! They’re delicious and taste so much more decadent than they are. Great recipe! :)

  • Kelli

    Just made these. They are a 10 in my book. It was like a fudgy, moist chocolate cake and you could not even taste the beans. I took one reviewer’s advice and let them cool for an hour or so before cutting into them so I’m not sure how they taste warm. This is going into the recipe box. I love that these have the added fiber and protein from the beans. Hopefully it will keep me satiated longer and the pan will last more than a day (wishful thinking in my house).

  • Fay

    Anxious to try.  What is the carb count?  The Nutritutional facts omitted the carbs:  Nutrition per serving depends on the size of each brownie. If we assume 9 brownies (each about 2.5 ” square) per batch, each brownie will have: 205 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 62 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 5 g fiber, 75 mg sodium (assuming no salt left in the rinsed beans), 16 g sugars and 10-12% DV for iron. Not bad.