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Let me preface this article by sharing with you an anecdote about who I once was. As a kid, I used to be the candy queen. I would carry whole bags of Now & Later’s in my backpack (not only at Halloween time, mind you) and I would share them with my friends and classmates. While I was a dancer and an athlete growing up, and was raised on a decently healthy diet, my house was always known as ‘the spot’ for after school snacks, in particular for my mom’s fabulous baked goods. It was commonplace for my dad and I to stand together over the Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, eating freshly baked cookies (and the dough prior to the baking) at 11pm on any given weeknight.
Be Gone Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Fast forward to my later years in high school, and especially my post-college years, when I gradually became more interested in an ‘alternative’ lifestyle, or, just a different way of thinking and being than our western culture promotes. I underwent my 200 hour yoga teacher training at a wellness center in Silver Spring, MD. It was there that my desire was born to try out a more mindful way of eating that was also more ‘anti-inflammatory’. Sugar. Dairy. Gluten. All inflammatory foods that often left me feeling bloated, lethargic, and in chronic discomfort would be no more, or at the least, significantly reduced in my diet.
That’s not to say that I don’t still crave the flavor of sweet, floury, baked goodness. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you might go to bed dreaming of waking up to the smell of chocolatey something or other, and wake up, destined to start your day with something nutrient dense, that maybe fulfills those indulgent desires.
Nutritious Desserts? Yes please!
Enter refined sugar free, gluten-free, soy-free and sometimes vegan (since I think I have developed an intolerance, especially to the combination of gluten+sugar+dairy) indulgences to take the place of all that processed, fake ‘food’. Now, I make a conscious effort to put foods in my body that will pack a more nutritious punch, even if they are dessert. Natural sugars will take you a lot further than refined sugar, and Healthy fats and grains (like quinoa) give me the energy stores I need for all of my workouts.
Gluten Free Brownie Recipe
I have always loved cooking, but since I have changed my workout regimen a bit, I am always looking to try new recipes. Some might say, I am a woman of variety. In the food and fitness department, I mean! Anyhow, I have been really into making raw, vegan, and often gluten-free desserts as of late.
This morning I opted to try something new. I started a hunt to find a gluten-free brownie recipe to take to a friends house tonight. Judging by the smell of chocolatey goodness that is wafting through the entire first floor of my apartment building as I write this, I think these Black Bean Brownies (yep, Black Beans!) will be more than sufficient in curing my (and your) evening sweet and chocolate cravings.
Black Bean Brownies Recipe
This gluten-free brownie recipe is quite simple. It has only 6 natural ingredients and can be made with only ten minutes of prep time, 25 minutes of bake time. They will have a still-warm delicious taste after cooling for 5-10 minutes. Oh, to boot, one of these muffins only has about 159 calories (but who is counting these days anyhow?) and a whopping 4.2 grams of protein. A dessert with protein (in a non-dairy form), magnesium, iron, and antioxidant rich for fewer than 200 calories, plus a source of healthy fat to restore what I need for proper muscle recovery and future workouts? Sign me up.
Ingredients and What You will need:
- A food processor, which I highly recommend investing in if you don’t already have one because… hummus. That’s in a later post, though. Check out the 11 Cup White Cuisinart Food Processor, my personal favorite.
- A muffin tin (I suppose you could opt to make mini muffins too! Just adjust the baking time by a few minutes less).
- 1 (15 oz.) can of Organic Black Beans, rinsed and dried
- 3 eggs (4 if you like a more cakey consistency)
- 2 tablespoons of this huge, economical jar of Organic Coconut Oil, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I prefer Frontier’s Organic Natural Vanilla Extract because I think the taste is perfection)
- 1 tablespoon of brewed organic coffee (optional)
- ½ cup of unsweetened cacao powder (I suggest Navitas Raw Cacao Powder, but any unsweetened cacao will do!)
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of sea salt (did you know that pink Himalayan sea salt is an all natural substance, unlike typical table salt, that has 84 essential minerals and promotes a host of health benefits? Check it out: Benefits of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt).
- 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, plus more to sprinkle evenly on top of each muffin (an excellent brand of dark chocolate chips are Organic Dark Chocolate Chips, but if you are dairy and soy free, this Enjoy Life brand works great!)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Line a traditional 12 cup muffin tin with baking liners.
- Place black beans (rinsed and drained) and one of the three eggs in the food processor until beans are well blended.
- Add the other two eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and coffee (if you so choose) and process again until smooth.
- Next, add in the cocoa powder and baking powder to process once more, until smooth. Then, with a spatula or spoon, fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on the top of each muffin batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to cool for at least ten minutes and then transfer each muffin from the tin to a wire rack to continue cooling for a bit (up to your discretion, really).
- Devour with your closest friends and a glass of this amazing Almond Milk.
** Muffins can be kept at room temp for a day before being transferred to an air-tight glass storage container and place in your refrigerator.**
The verdict is out. There were four people total at the dinner party (where we had a shaved brussels sprout, quinoa and kale salad for dinner), and I brought over a dozen of these muffins (the entire recipe). I came home with two! Needless to say, they were a healthy hit (Pun intended).
Living a mostly gluten-free lifestyle (and lessening my refined sugar intake) has really helped me perform better in my workouts, stabilize my mood and energy throughout the day, and also left me feeling an overall sense of clarity. I really don’t get that from gorging on a huge bowl of white pasta followed by a brownie sundae (not of the vegan, gluten-free sort!). Not that I did that often, well, except when I was in Italy. But, when in Rome…..right?
I hope you decide to give these delicious chocolatey, cakey vegan black bean brownies a try, even if you think gluten-free typically tastes like cardboard. I promise you, these do not. You just might surprise yourself and others that these are indeed gluten-free brownie muffins! And, they are guaranteed to cure your evening chocolate craving.
What is Gluten?
Many people are wondering: should I be eating a gluten-free diet? What is gluten anyway? Check out this video from Jimmy Kimmel Live and rest assured that you are not alone in your curiosity.
What is your favorite gluten-free recipe?