This vegan black bean brownie recipe is the perfect healthy treat for any brownie lover. It's dairy free, gluten free, and contains healthy ingredients like almond flour and peanut butter. The main ingredient in the recipe is canned black beans, which gives the brownies the best fudge-like texture and extra protein, but you will not be able to taste the beans at all! I made these brownies in a skillet, but they can be made as regular brownies as well.
Using black beans to make brownies
The secret ingredient in these fudgy brownies is canned black beans. Black beans are amazing for making brownies because they give the brownies a delicious soft and chewy fudge-like texture, and add healthy plant-based protein as well. You don't have to worry about the brownies having any black bean flavor to them either. You just have to rinse the beans well, and you actually won't be able to taste them at all!
I think that black beans are the best kind of bean to use in this recipe, and I highly suggest that's the kind you use. However, if you don't have black beans on hand, you can also use garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or kidney beans in their place. The color of those beans won't create the rich chocolate color that the black beans will, but the texture will work great with any of those beans as well.
Making almond flour brownies
I used almond flour to make these brownies. I wanted to make them gluten free, and I found that the nuttiness of the almond flour gave this brownie skillet recipe the best flavor.
However, you can use other types of flour if you do not have almond flour on hand. Below, I will give you different flour options if you want to use a different type of flour.
Before I go on to talk about other flour options, I just want to mention that you should use almond flour and not almond meal in this recipe. The difference is that almond meal is made from unpeeled almonds, while almond flour is made with blanched almonds and it is much better suited for baking.
If you don't care for the brownies being gluten free, you can just use regular flour. White whole wheat flour and regular white flour will work. Just substitute them in the same amount as the almond flour. Substituting almond flour for regular doesn't always work, but in the skillet version of these brownies, it does.
You can also substitute the almond flour for a gluten-free flour blend like the ones from King Arthur Baking or Bob's Red Mill.
You can also use oat flour, but I don't recommend using coconut flour.
Making this recipe into a skillet brownie
I decided to make this recipe into a skillet brownie, but you can use the same recipe to make regular brownie bars as well.
With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to share this skillet brownie version, because I think it's a great treat to make for date night and is great for sharing. You can make this recipe into a regular-sized skillet the way that I did here (I used an 8-inch one).
Alternatively, you can split up the brownie batter into two equal parts and make two mini skillets, which are perfect for sharing as well. Make sure to top each with a big scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce or chocolate syrup.
Making the recipe into a skillet makes it so much easier to make as well because you don't have to cut up the brownies - you can just dig in with a spoon! When made in a skillet, the recipe has the most amazing gooey center that's full of delicious chocolate flavor.
What you'll need to make this vegan black bean brownie recipe
- black beans: you'll need one 15 oz can.
- peanut butter: I love using peanut butter in this recipe because it eliminated the need for using other oils, and it makes the most amazing peanut butter brownies. Make sure to use natural peanut butter, which is the kind that only contains peanuts and salt as the ingredients. The texture works much better in this recipe than when using traditional peanut butter.
If you don't want your brownies to taste peanut butter-like, you can also use a different nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter instead. Make sure that you use smooth peanut butter and not chunky. If you have a nut allergy, you can also use sunflower seed butter instead.
- pure maple syrup: you can also use a different liquid sweetener like honey or agave. Regular sugar or any type of granulated sugar is not ideal for this recipe (i.e. brown sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, etc.)
- pure vanilla extract
- almond flour: you can use all purpose flour or oat flour instead. However, I think this recipe works best with almond flour. See the notes of flour for more details.
- raw cacao powder: I like using cacao powder because it's less processed and has more minerals and nutrients. If you don't have any, using regular cocoa powder also works great.
- baking powder and baking soda: you will need both for this recipe.
- dash of instant coffee powder / espresso powder (optional): espresso powder brings out the rich chocolate flavor in chocolate desserts, so it's a great addition, but completely optional.
- sea salt
To fold in
- dairy-free chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or a dark chocolate bar that you've chopped into pieces. You can even switch it up and use white chocolate chips instead.
You won't need any coconut oil or vegan butter for this recipe since we are using peanut butter, and the healthy fats from it replace the need for using any oil. We also will not be using an egg replacer like flax eggs- this recipe is really simple and doesn't require them.
- vegan caramel sauce or melted chocolate to drizzle on top
- vegan ice cream (vanilla works great)
The full ingredients list and nutritional information are listed at the bottom of the post in the recipe card. If you tried and liked this recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and a review, as it really helps out my work 🙂
How to make this easy skillet brownie
Drain a can of black beans and rinse them really well. I recommend rinsing them a few times.
Add the beans to a blender or food processor, then add the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, almond flour, cacao, baking powder and soda, and salt.
Blend for several minutes, until everything is very creamy and smooth. Then fold in the chocolate chips and mix them in using a spoon or spatula
Prepare the skillet or regular baking pan that you'll be using. Lightly grease it using melted coconut oil, vegan melted butter, or a non-stick spray. You can also line the bottom of the skillet / pan with parchment paper.
Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared skillet or pan.
Smooth the top of the brownie batter using a spatula to create an even layer.
Top it with extra chocolate chips.
Bake the brownie skillet for 45-50 minutes at 350*F/ 175*C.
Remove the skillet from the oven and allow it to cool off at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Top the skillet with a scoop of ice cream and vegan caramel sauce, and dig in!
If you liked this black bean brownies recipe, you might also like these delicious chocolate vegan recipes
Vegan Black Bean Brownie Recipe
- skillet or baking tray
- food processor
- 1 can black beans 15 oz
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup cacao
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate chips + more to top
- vegan caramel
- vegan vanilla ice cream
- Drain and rinse a can of black beans.
- Add the beans to a blender or food processor, then add the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, almond flour, cacao, baking powder and soda, and salt.
- Blend for several minutes, until everything is very creamy and smooth. Then fold in the chocolate chips and mix them in using a spoon or spatula
- Transfer the brownie batter to a skillet, or another oven-safe dish that you have lightly greased with coconut ahead of time.
- Smooth the top of the brownie batter to create an even layer.
- Top the skillet with more chocolate chips.
- Bake the brownie skillet for 45-50 minutes at 350*F/ 175*C.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and allow it to cool off at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- Top the skillet with dairy-free vanilla ice cream and vegan caramel sauce, and dig in!
How to store the vegan black bean brownies
If you are making this recipe into a skillet, you will want to cover any leftovers in the skillet with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Then store the skillet brownie in the fridge. When you are ready to enjoy it again, preheat the oven and heat it up in the oven, as it is best enjoyed warm.
If you decide to make this recipe in a regular pan, cut up the brownies and store them in an airtight container.
These were a fantastic surprise! They got rave reviews from my picky husband who doesn't like anything healthy. Thank you for such a delicious recipe.
This makes me so happy to hear! So glad you both liked them :)))
Just doubled the recipe and baked in a 9x13 pan for 30 minutes. They are terrific! Fudgy, delicious and taste great straight out of the fridge!
So happy that you liked them!!:)
This recipe is incredible as-is, but I’ve also made it with chickpeas instead and omitted the cocoa powder to make peanut butter blondies. Topped with a peanut butter drizzle on top. Equally as good!
Wow those twists sound amazing! I'll have to try them myself 🙂