Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies w/ Walnuts {Gluten Free}

Jump to Recipe

These Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts from Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer are the most delicious “healthy” brownies you will ever taste. Heck, they might even be some of the most delicious brownies, period!
Another bold statement. I know.


To tell the truth, I’ve had “Make Vegan Black Bean Brownies” on my To-Do List for some time now, and thanks to Sharon and her gorgeous new book, I can now cross this one off my list. Make Black Bean Brownies

Raise your hand if you get a thrill from crossing things off your to-do list like I do!!!

Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN

I’ll share the vegan black bean brownies recipe with you in one sweet chocolate loving minute, but first let’s talk about the book which is one part “simple tips” {52 of them to be exact} for adding more plant based foods in to you diet, along with 1 part delicious and nourishing plant based recipes {125 of them} that will appeal to vegetarians, omnivores, flexitarians like me, and vegans alike. Images above provided by Sharon Palmer.

A review of the book-Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN

Sharon’s book begins with an introduction to the health and environmental benefits of plant-based living, which doesn’t mean you have to become a vegan or even a vegetarian, but instead to embrace plant based foods {grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds} and make them the superstars at your meals, and showcase them front and center on every plate.

“Whole plants, which have sustained humans throughout the centuries, possess the power to keep you healthy, functional, and fit-to help you live a long rich, full life. It’s that simple.”

3 Easy Ways To Move Towards a More Plant Based Diet

  1. Take meat off the center of your plate. Some of the healthiest diets around the world are centered around plants, and meat, if it is used at all, is used as a “seasoning”, not the main event. These types of meals have been dubbed “poor man’s diets” by researchers, and the people that eat this way tend to have lower rates of chronic disease, than people who eat a traditional Western or American diet where meat is served in large portions as the main course.

TIP–>When you plan your menu for the week, try adding in one or more plant based meals, or center your meals around plants using meat as a “condiment.” 

2. Make variety your motto. If you eat the same foods over and over again, you may be missing out on key nutrients, as one veggie may be rich in calcium, while another may be a good source of iron or vitamin C.

TIP–>You don’t necessarily have to get 100 % of each nutrient everyday, but if you plan out your weekly menus with a wide variety of foods, you can fill in  any nutrient gaps over the course of the week.

3. Shop thoughtfully and purposefully. Ignore the bold statements on the front of the box and read ingredient lists and nutrition facts panels instead. Choose products with ingredients you recognize and understand. Look beyond nutrition-learn about the way your food is grown, or find out what your favorite food companies are all about.

TIP–>Support the best food companies with your shopping dollars.

What you’ll love about the recipes in Plant-Powered for Life…

  • All recipes, like these vegan black bean brownies, are 100 % plant based, and vegan with the exception of those that list honey as an optional ingredient. These recipes can be easily swapped out for agave, maple syrup, or your sweetener of choice.
  • Many of the recipes are also gluten-free, or have suggested recipe adaptations to make them gluten-free.
  • Each of the 52 tips in Plant-Powered for Life are followed by 2 or 3 recipes that show you how to incorporate the tips, and the back of the book contains a Seasonal Recipe Chart, dividing the recipes up in to spring, summer, winter, and fall-love this!
  • Nutrition information is provided for each recipe including calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, fiber, sugar, and sodium. Star nutrients {vitamins and minerals} are also provided for each recipe.
  • Gorgeous, mouth-watering images from food photographer and Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes blogger Heather Poire are featured in the book. Just a few that sound pretty amazing to me…Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pistachio-Orange Pesto…Mediterranean Eggplant and Artichoke Lasagna…Tuscan Kale Salad with Nectarines and Brazil Nuts…and the delicious list goes on and on!


And now for these amazingly delicious vegan black bean brownies…

Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts from Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer
Image by Heather Poire

These Vegan Black Bean Brownies are SO Easy to Make!

  1. Gather your ingredients including a can of black beans, your preferred sweetener, cocoa powder, chia seeds, vegetable oil, chocolate chips, walnuts, and a few other baking essentials.
  2. Throw everything (except chocolate chips and walnuts) in a high speed blender and blend away!
  3. Spread batter in a greased baking dish and sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts on top.
  4. Bake, cool (try and resist!), slice, EAT!!!
A stack of 3 vegan black bean brownies topped with pecans.

Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts

Easy vegan Black Bean Brownies! Here's the perfect scenario-a dense, moist brownie packed with cocoa, polyphenols and bean nutrition-protein, fiber, and even antioxidants! Gluten free, grain free, and absolutely delicious!
4.63 from 8 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 16


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained (or 1 3/4 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar, I used maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, expeller pressed (I used expeller pressed high oleic sunflower oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free, dark-chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, I used pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the black beans, honey, cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla, canola oil, and baking powder in a blender. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides halfway through blending if needed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts evenly across the top of the brownies.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges pull away from the side of the pan and the brownies are firm.
  • Cool for a few minutes, and slice into 16 squares.


Reprinted with permission from Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer.
To keep the nuts from getting too brown or burning, either stir them in to the batter, or place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the brownies half way through baking.


Serving: 1square | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1.6mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mediterranean, MIND Diet, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword black bean brownies
Add to Recipe Collection
Like this recipe?Sign up for my newsletter & get new recipes and nutrition tips delivered straight to your inbox. SIGN UP!

Let’s Chat! Have you made vegan black bean brownies before? Have you tried other bean based desserts? Do you try to include a lot of plant based recipes in your diet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. Daniel Smith says:

    Your recipe for Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts looks great; however, all but one of the images you’ve used are of pecans—not walnuts. I point this out with the best of intentions. Thanks!

    1. Hi Daniel! Thanks so much for your great observations 🙂 The original recipe, which I shared with permission from Plant Powered for Life, is titled “Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts” and the photo from the book (with the glass of milk) does have walnuts in it. In the recipe, I noted in parenthesis, that I used pecans, so my own photos have pecans pictured in them. Either way, I hope you get to try them-they’re delicious! Cheers!!

  2. These look great. Did you know that eating dark chocolate can help prevent hearing loss? Here’s a good blog post explaining its benefits (and why we should eat more of it!) bit.ly/1LRluEp

  3. I love black beans, but I have to confess I’m dubious about black bean brownies. I’ll have to try them, but will have to look for chia seeds first! I love my Plant Powered for Life book!

    1. Hi Laurie! I definitely hope you’ll give them a try-I think you’ll love them 🙂

  4. These look so yummy. I am bound and determined to get my husband to like black bean brownies [he thinks he can taste the beans, he’s crazy]. I think I’ll whip some of these up and not even tell him.

  5. I recently wrote a brownie recipe for a magazine and it was fun for my toddler to make because it was just oozing with butter and chocolate in outrageous quantities. I thought it wise not to make them for a while, but I do love them. So the timing of your fabulous recipe that probably thinks it is naughtier than it is, is very welcome indeed. Absolutely YUM x

  6. I follow a mostly plant based diet already, eating meat maybe once a week. These brownies sounds awesome and I have two RD friends visiting me next week, one is vegan and one is gluten free so these will be a perfect treat to share 🙂

  7. I am not on any one specific diet, but I try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and less meat just because it is healthier (and I like it!)

  8. I try to eat a more plant based diet as I am getting older and want to keep healthy. I am going to try the black bean brownies for my grandchildren as it is hard to get them to eat healthy sometimes.

  9. I would say my diet is flexitarian. I am not a big fan of meat so I eat lots of fruits and veggies. Going to farmer’s markets motivates me to add more fruits and veggies to my meals, and to try new things.

  10. Colleen C. says:

    I am trying to include more veggies in my diet. I am not ready to be a vegetarian but I am including more meatless meals in my diet.

  11. I made black bean brownies years and years ago.. but I had totally forgotten about them until I saw your FB teaser. I’m so glad to see this recipe, and I’m eager to get my hands on a copy of this book!! We’ve adopted a (mostly) vegan diet recently, and I’m perusing all things plant-based!

  12. I’m a pescatarian so I include a lot of plant based foods because I don’t/can’t eat fish everyday (gets expensive!)

  13. My diet is very much a plan-based one. I have celiac so I’m gluten-free, but I’m also soy, egg, dairy, and meat free. Eating non-processed whole foods if just easier for me in the first place!

  14. I don’t follow a specific diet. I try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can, limit meat intake and strictly organic.

  15. I love cookbook giveaways! I don’t adhere to one particular type of diet, I just mostly focus on incorporating as many whole foods with few ingredients as possible.

    1. So glad you stopped by Kaylin! I think your advice is priceless 🙂 Good luck with the giveaway!

  16. I try my best to eat lots of fruits and veggies, but my biggest struggle is getting to the grocery store twice a week to ensure I can stock up and have items handy! Keeping frozen veggies and fruit helps me in this department.

    I am an eater of everything – with a focus on plants, but a sprinkling of meat and fish in there too for some satiating protein!

    1. Great tip Marisa! i am a huge fan of keeping frozen fruits and veggies in the freezer too! I think our eating styles are a lot alike 🙂