February 20, 2015

Chunky Monkey Avo-Choco Black Bean Brownies

Eat Healthy

Black beans and avocado may be staples in savory cuisine, but these Chunky Monkey Avo-Choco Black Bean Brownies expose these superfoods for the double agents they really are.

“Black beans are a healthier alternative to white flour and provide protein, fiber and a nice texture to the brownies,” says Rebecca Izawa, registered dietitian and board certified specialist for pediatric nutrition at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Texture is a calling card of fiber, which is a superhero when it comes to fighting off heart disease. A high-fiber diet can lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and inflammation, improve blood sugar levels and help you reach a healthy weight.

“Foods that are high in fiber make you feel full faster and for a longer period of time,” says Izawa.

Aiding in the battle against heart disease is the good-for-you monounsaturated fat supplied by avocado. MUFAs, as they are affectionately called, have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels as well as insulin levels.

Add in some antioxidant-rich unsweetened cocoa and you’ve got the makings of a disease-fighting dessert.

This recipe relies on natural sugars in the dates and bananas for sweetness, plus an extra boost of fiber and potassium. If you’re watching your sugar levels or are vegan, replace the dark chocolate chips with the same quantity of chopped walnuts.

 

Chunky Monkey Avo-Choco Black Bean Brownies

Serves 12

 

Ingredients:

6 Medjool dates, pitted

1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 medium, ripe avocado

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, 2 Tbsp. reserved

2 medium, ripe bananas, peeled and broken into chunks

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Soak dates in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes, until softened.

3. Drain dates from soaking liquid and squeeze out any excess water.

4. Place dates, black beans, avocado and vanilla into a food processor and mix until smooth.

5. Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, baking soda and baking powder and process again, until smooth. Batter will be thick so that the brownies will be fudgy, but if it is too thick and won't process, add in 1-2 tablespoons water.

6. Gently fold in chocolate chips and banana chunks. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan using a spatula. Sprinkle top of batter with remaining chocolate chips.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean and the top of the batter is completely set.

8. Let pan cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 12 squares.

 

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 123; Protein: 3.7; Carbohydrates: 17g; Total Fat: 4.1g; Saturated Fat: 2.5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6; Cholesterol: 1.4mg; Sugars: 7.7g; Dietary Fiber: 4.9g; Sodium: 7.8mg; Potassium: 305.3mg