Black Bean Brownies

I know. You guys. I know. Black bean brownies. Why even bother, right? I'd heard about black bean brownies for years but never bothered to try them (because why?) and then my office hosted a healthy baking day so I relented. They're fine. I mean, they're not exactly "healthy" because they're full of sugar but the lack of flour (plus the goodness of black beans) makes them healthier than traditional brownies. Plus I think they're gluten-free? Don't quote me on that. Do beans have gluten? Whatever. They don't taste beany. That was my major concern.

I started with this recipe and made some tweaks. This is what I ended up with:

Ingredients

1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed very well
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9"x9" square baking pan.

In food processor or blender, buzz all ingredients except chocolate chips and walnuts together until very smooth. Batter should look just like brownie batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth. Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts evenly over the top.

Bake for 28 - 33 minutes until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Store in the fridge for a dense, fudgy brownie.

Listen, if you know me at all you probably got all wide-eyed and "whaaaaat?" when you read the bit about the walnuts. I strongly believe nuts do not have a place in baked goods. Especially brownies. But I was concerned about the brownies tasting beany so I decided I embrace the healthy aspect of black bean friggin' brownies and add the nuts. If you hate nuts in baked goods as much as I do, skip them and up the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup.
 

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Kale and Navy Bean Caesar-ish Salad

I created this salad because I had a craving for Caesar salad. I wouldn't say this salad is full smug hippie healthy (so much cheese!) but it's got enough healthy elements that I consider it a healthy way to satisfy a craving for something unhealthy. 

Dressing Ingredients

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or asiago or pecorino cheese) 

1/4 cup* navy beans, drained and rinsed well

2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled 

Juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/4 cup) 

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp - 1 tsp anchovy paste (or omit it if it makes you feel squicky)

freshly ground pepper

Salad Ingredients 

1 large bunch curly green kale

1 398mL* can navy beans, drained and rinsed well

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or alternative cheese)

1/4 cup hemp hearts

1/4 chia seeds

Buzz dressing ingredients in food processor until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed (this will depend on whether or not you use anchovy paste and how salty your cheese is). 

Remove stalks from kale and chiffonade the leaves. You want to end up with about 8 cups of finely chopped kale for the amount of dressing this recipe makes. Add dressing, navy beans, additional cheese, hemp hearts, and chia seeds. Mix well. 

You can sex it up with bacon bits or croutons but nixing them keeps this salad healthier.  

This salad works well as a side dish but I've also had it as a meal when I topped it with poached eggs.  

* I hate recipes that make you use a portion of a can of something so don't read this as a can of beans plus an extra 1/4 cup for the dressing. I used 1 can of navy beans and just nicked a quarter cup for the dressing. You could also use a different bean but I like how small and creamy navy beans tend to be.  

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