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Grim's Grub: This recipe has 'bean' a long time coming

Black bean brownies are a very fudgy, healthier treat most people won't suspect.1 / 3
Black bean brownies are a very fudgy, healthier treat most people won't suspect.2 / 3
Black bean brownies are a very fudgy, healthier treat most people won't suspect.3 / 3

I remember a graduate studies class where a friend brought a tray of brownies to share.

I sampled a small one and then she asked all of us how we liked them. I think I may have been honest and said, "It's good, but I can taste a bit of coffee."

She replied, "It's made of beans."

I suppose when you make an experimental batch of brownies out of black beans and the most negative comment is the taste of coffee in the recipe, that's still a win. I remember a friend not long after cooking up a pan of black beans and rice, which is a visually interesting dish. The beans can stain the rice a blue color, which is cool.

A few years ago people went nuts over the nutritional value of black beans. They have protein and you can make slightly healthier brownies from them. Really, who can blame people for being a little excited.

I tried cooking black beans and rice once, but was totally unprepared for the commitment the beans take if you cook them from the dry stage. You are really better off using canned beans if you don't have patience.

That's why I bought up pretty much all the black beans that went on clearance at my second job. They will last a while, but it's nice to have them on hand. I was almost equally excited to find a Mexican crock pot recipe book there as well, which has black beans in it, so win-win.

On a side note, I think some of my health-conscious co-workers were excited when I said I would be baking them brownies that were not totally bad for them.

Black Bean Brownies - no flour required


1 ½ cups black beans, or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ cup quick oats

¼ teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave

¼ cup coconut or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Optional: more chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except chips in a food processor and blend until completely smooth (very important). Stir in the chips and then pour into a greased 8x8 pan. If you chose additional chocolate chips, sprinkle them over the top now. Bake 15-18 minutes and then allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. If they look undercooked at this point, put them in a refrigerator overnight.

Chicken and Spicy Black Bean Tacos

From the official Crock Pot Mexican Slow Cooking recipe book

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles, drained

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon olive oil

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Taco toppings (lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, etc.)

Coat a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add beans and tomatoes with chiles. Combine chili powder, cumin and oil in small bowl. Rub this mix onto your chicken and then place it into the slow cooker. Cook on high 1-2 hours.

Remove the chicken to a large cutting board and slice. Remove the bean mixture to a large bowl for serving. Serve with taco toppings.

Black Beans and Rice

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 red pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup uncooked rice

1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or substitute part for liquid from black beans)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups canned black beans, drained

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add onion, pepper and garlic and then saute for four minutes. Add rice and saute two minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to cook an additional 20 minutes. Add spices and black beans and heat till warm.