This brownie recipe goes out to two of my friends: Marly (who is allergic to gluten), and Sarah (who is vegan). To my longtime roommate Marly especially, thanks for dealing with my frequent kitchen takeovers (which you rarely benefit from). 

Black beans might sound really weird if you haven't done much vegan or gluten-free baking, but the starch in the bean makes for an amazing substitute for flour—you honestly won't recognize them as long as you thoroughly process them.

Dietary limitations are extremely common, so bring these brownies to your next bake sale or party and make sure everyone can get in on the deliciousness.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Brownie Bites

  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:30 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr
  • Servings:12
  • Medium


  • 1 can 15 oz black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup water optional
  • Cooking spray
cookie, sweet, cake, chocolate
Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a food processor to break down the black beans. Take your time, you should end up with a smooth gray paste.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 2

    If using a full size food processor: add remaining ingredients except water and process until smooth.

    If using a smaller food processor: in a large bowl, smash the banana with a fork. Then add all remaining ingredients except water and stir until combined.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 3

    (Optional) I think it's easier to dole out these brownies if the batter is thinned out a bit. Plus, with the thick batter, the tops don't get that nice smooth look. So if that's important to you, add the water and carefully stir it in until your batter resembles a "real" brownie batter.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 4

    Spray a cupcake pan and distribute the batter evenly among all 12 cups. Bake for 30 minutes.

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 5

    Allow the brownies to cool COMPLETELY, then if they're still fragile, chill them in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Now dig in and wait for all your friends to say "I can't believe it's not butter, eggs, and flour!"

    GIF by Caitlyn Heter