These heart-healthy brownies are kid approved!

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Our nutritionists know getting kids and teens excited about eating healthy can be a challenge. Nutrition Educator Mary Agnew says involving them in the cooking process makes a big difference. And it never hurts to be a master of disguise.

Mary recently shared this black bean brownie recipe with her Teens in the Kitchen cooking class at Webb Middle School in Austin, sneaking nutrient-packed legumes into decadent dessert.

Black bean brownies are among the many tasty treats our nutrition team uses to show how easy, affordable and delicious eating healthy can be. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber with no saturated fat, trans fats or cholesterol.

Mary says high fiber intake has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. High fiber foods like beans also leave you feeling fuller longer, which can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Beans are also high in folate, a B vitamin that’s important for cell growth, metabolism and neurological health.

But beans in brownies? If you think this sounds like a strange combination, you’re not alone. Mary’s students were skeptical at first, but once they rolled up their sleeves, their doubts started to melt away.

They took turns measuring and mixing the ingredients, identifying the different kitchen tools and practicing oven safety. As the brownies baked, a mouthwatering aroma filled the air. Mary says the kids forgot all about the beans, and gave the brownies an undisputed thumbs up.

To learn more about our CHOICES Nutrition Program or to schedule a class, contact Bilingual Nutritionist Vivian Noriega at 512-684-2538 or



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Black Bean Brownies


Prep time: 15 minutes                                      Cook time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 1 square                                     Serves: 16



  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing pan

  • ¾ cup canned low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed*

  • ½ cup vegetable oil or canola oil

  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Splenda Sugar Blend (or 2/3 cup granulated sugar)

  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)


*If using dried beans, rinse beans and soak them in water over night in the refrigerator. Drain off the water you used to soak the beans and add cold water back to them. Use a ratio of 1:3, so if you have two cups of beans, use six cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce them down to a very slow simmer for 1-1 ½ hours. Now your beans are ready to use in any way you see fit. One 15-ounce can of beans equals 1 ½ cups cooked beans.



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch square baking pan.

  2. In a blender or food processor, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl. Whisk the batter until it is smooth, being careful not to over-mix. Pour into the prepared pan.

  4. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.


Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories 145, Total Fat 10g, Carbohydrates 13g, Fiber 1g, Protein 2g, Sodium 119mg, Cholesterol 12mg


Adapted from: Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Program, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas