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Cosmic Black Bean Brownies

These gluten-free, nutrient-packed brownies are a healthy twist on a classic. This is a recipe you'll come back to again and again!
Feb 8, 2023 | Joy McCarthy

From black beans to garbanzo beans (chickpeas), I have been adding beans to brownies since my first cookbook was released over 10 years ago. I do this because it boosts the fibre content big time making them great for nourishing your gut microbiome and it also makes them more blood sugar balancing. If you don't tell anyone you've done this, no one will have a clue that these are healthy brownies!

I adapted this recipe from the beloved joyous classic in Joyous Health (black bean chia brownies) - it's even better now!

Black bean brownies with sprinkles

I added maca, walnuts, chocolate icing and naturally coloured sprinkles for the top which gave me the idea to call them Cosmic Black Bean Brownies.


Maca is an excellent addition because it goes well with the flavour of chocolate. It has a slight caramel taste. Plus it gives them a superfood boost as maca is considered an adaptogenic food, meaning it helps the body adapt better to stress. Not that you'll be stressed eating these brownies, you'll be in heaven! You can learn all about the benefits of maca here. Lately, I've been buying gelatinized maca by Organika. If you don't have maca, you can simply omit it from this recipe. It won't alter the texture or cooking time.

monk fruit and coconut palm sugar

In terms of the sweeteners, I have provided two options - coconut palm sugar or Lakanto sweetener. Lakanto is a mix of monk fruit and erythritol (sugar alcohol). It is quite low on the glycemic index and much better to use than artificial sweeteners. It's a one-to-one sub for coconut or white sugar. The taste is pretty mild but if you want something less processed, stick with coconut palm sugar. You can find it at your local health food store or if you're in Canada, you can find it at Rise Market.

Black bean brownies

Someone messaged me when I shared a video on Instagram and asked me if these were "Cosmic Brownies". I had no idea what that meant so I looked it up. Low and behold, there is a sugar-filled store-bought brownie called Cosmic Brownies and because I love all things cosmic, magical and astrological, "Cosmic Black Bean Brownies" stuck. Plus they look cosmic with the pretty sprinkles. Better yet, I can get Vienna to eat just about anything with sprinkles. I know she wouldn't eat these if they didn't have sprinkles, because she is not a fan of nuts inside anything. From muffins to cookies to brownies, if there are chunks of nuts, it's out of the question for her. But add sprinkles, and she gobbles them up!

black bean brownies

Nut-free? No problem, just omit the walnuts.

Egg-free? No problem. See the instructions on the recipe card below. The final texture is different than with eggs. It's less dense and needs to be cooked about 10 minutes longer but it's possible to make these brownies egg-free. Store it in the fridge as soon as it cools.

These Cosmic Black Bean Brownies are...

  • Gluten-free, fibre-rich, gut-loving, super yummy
  • Refined sugar-free and packed with complex carbs and plant-based protein
  • Rich in iron, folate, magnesium and potassium
  • Great for kids and brownie lovers are none-the-wiser that these are healthy brownies
  • This a great recipe to make if you're entertaining or wanting to impress your date for love day (hint, hint)

Let's talk about the icing before we get to this recipe. It is magical too! Ripe avocado, cocoa powder and raw honey - just 3 simple ingredients. You'll definitely want to lick the bowl!

Black bean brownies

Here is the recipe for Cosmic Black Bean Brownies.

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  • 1 can (15 oz / 425 g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 medium eggs, or flax eggs (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or lakanto sweetener*
  • 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp maca powder**
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp raw honey or liquid stevia (to taste)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp non-dairy milk or water (see note)
  1. Preheat oven to 350C (180F) and line a 8" square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large food processor, add black beans, eggs, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, maca if using, coconut oil, non dairy milk and vanilla extract. Blitz until smooth.
  3. Add in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Combine.
  4. Pour mixture into square baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Brownies are done when a fork inserted comes out clean.
  5. To make the icing, in a food processor, combine avocado, cocoa powder and honey. If needed, add milk to make creamier. That will only be necessarly if avocados are not soft enough. Blitz until creamy.
  6. When brownies are done, let fully cool before adding the icing. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for longer.


These can easily be made nut-free. Just omit walnuts. How to make a flax egg: 1 egg = 1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp water. Combine and let sit for 5 minutes before using. You'll need to multiply that by 3 since there are 3 eggs in this recipe. Bake the brownies for an additional 5-10 minutes if you use flax eggs.
*Lakanto is a brand of natural sweetener with erythritol and monk fruit. It's a little more processed than coconut sugar but it has little to no effect on your blood sugar.
**I used Organika Gelatinized Maca. No maca? Simply omit.
CHOCOLATE ICING: If your avocados are not super soft, you'll need to add a touch of liquid to make the icing smoother.
Option: Add 1/4 cup protein powder and 3-4 tbsp water or nut milk.

If there are no nut allergies in your home, definitely don't skip out on the walnuts. They add the perfect texture to these black bean brownies. I hope these become a favourite in your home!

Black bean brownies

Happy love day!

Joy xo

A.   •   February 11, 2023

What food processor do you use to make the icing?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 13, 2023

Amy   •   February 13, 2023

Hi, if I donโ€™t have maca can I just leave it out or need to add something to replace it? Thank you!


Amy   •   February 13, 2023

Never mind, I see the answer now ๐Ÿ˜†


Ludivine Morrison   •   February 14, 2023

Love this recipe and can't wait to try! I am wondering what your take on kids eathing bronies with Lakanto sweetener.

Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2023

Gloria Luczynski   •   February 18, 2023

This recipe looks delicious and easy. Would you have the nutritional information for it? How many carbs/calories/protein?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 21, 2023

Gloria   •   February 19, 2023

Could you please tell me the nutritional information? Protein/carbs/calories/sugar?


Jen G.   •   March 2, 2023

Hi, Joy. What sprinkles did you use? I've been looking for a healthier version I can put on cupcakes etc. Thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 6, 2023

Jen G   •   March 6, 2023

Thank you!


Maria   •   April 10, 2023

Hi Joy, Following on from the kids and natural sweeteners comment above, why is not ok to use Lakanto as kid's main sweetener? As in, do you have any links or comments or just general experience on why its not a good idea? And what would you choose for the best "healthy" sugar for kids? honey/coconut sugar etc? THANK YOU!

Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2023

Martha   •   June 10, 2023

Joy, what can I substitute for the avocado? I am allergic to it.

Joy McCarthy   •   June 12, 2023

LauraAnne   •   January 22, 2024

What are we adding the protein powder to(as an option)? The icing? Or the brownie?

Joy McCarthy   •   January 31, 2024

Josie   •   January 24, 2024

Any suggestions for what to replace the avocado with? I have a sensitivity to that!

Joy McCarthy   •   January 31, 2024

Mira   •   February 19, 2024

Would subbing in kidney beans for black beans work?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 26, 2024

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