Few desserts satisfy like a fudgy brownie. Chock full of rich chocolatey flavor, these decadent treats are often considered diet-busters. That’s why we searched high and low for a healthy brownie recipe that would satisfy our cravings while keeping our goals in mind. Here’s what we found.
Can Brownies be Healthy?
Traditional brownies are by no means a health food. They often call for butter, sugar, flour, chocolate and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Though you’d be hard-pressed to find a brownie that’s as healthy as a bowl of fruit, there are substitutions that can make a healthy brownie without sacrificing their classic taste.
In our recipe, we use black beans to give the treats moisture and an extra protein boost. (Canned black beans are actually one of the few canned food items dietitians recommend.) We also cut back on the amount of oil and sugar traditionally found in brownies.
What You Need:
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Step 1: Prep the Pan
Start by lining an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper overhangs the edges of the pan by a few inches. This will make it easier to remove the baked brownies. Preheat the oven to 350°.
Editor’s Tip: Parchment paper is crucial for this recipe. Since the brownies don’t contain much fat, they’re more prone to sticking. The parchment acts as a buffer and makes the baked brownies easy to remove in one piece.
Step 2: Blend the Beans
Next, start making the brownie batter. Place the beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and oil in a food processor. Cover and process the mixture until blended.
Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients
Then, add eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and salt to the food processor. Cover and process until smooth.
Step 4: Place and Bake
Transfer the batter to your prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into bars.
How Do You Make Avocado Brownies?
Black beans are an option for making healthy brownies, but they’re by no means the only one. The trick to a healthy brownie recipe is to find a good substitute for the butter or oil your recipe calls for. You can use mashed avocado, applesauce, bananas, Greek yogurt, cooked beets—whatever you’d like! Try avocado as the substitute in your next batch of healthy brownies. We’ve got a delicious Chocolately Avocado Brownie recipe.
If you’re cutting back on the sweet stuff, consider replacing some of the white or brown sugar with coconut sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup. These sweeteners are more natural and better for your waistline than processed sugars. These motivating weight loss mantras can also help keep your diet on track!