If you have been following me for a while, you know that I
(a) am not much for New Year’s Resolutions
(c) like to think outside the box and
(d) want to empower my clients and readers towards a healing, joyful lifestyle.
So. This whole idea of giving up all the goodies from the past year (or month), nixing all of the indulgences & getting on the straight and narrow certainly has some good points to it.
However, we all know how the best of intentions can fade, for numerous reasons. This is why I want you to learn about how to make perhaps the World’s Healthiest Brownies. Your go-to-back up when that “I can’t be good any longer” voice rushes in! Why not be prepared? This recipe is gluten & grain-free, sugar-free, low fat, and thus, totally guilt free!
I am NOT a food blogger of course, so there will be changes you might choose to make to improve the recipe below. I’m frankly winging it recipe-perfection-wise. However, I DO know a lot about healthy foods, and I want you to have options as you embark on whatever your goals are for the New Year.
I began with my favorite of the many–yes, you are reading this correctly–black bean brownie recipes (I bet you didn’t even know there was one, never mind several pages on a web search!). I like this one because it is lowest in fat of the many I found: Fudgy Bean Brownies. If you are gluten-free, but indulging in alternative flours much (rice, tapioca, potato, corn, etc), you are doing no favor to your health, blood sugar, and weight. This grain-free recipe is truly healthier in those regards. And surprisingly delicious–I promise, you won’t taste the beans!
However, with your (and my!) health in mind, I made it even healthier with some fabulous upgrades, changing the sugar to a healthy sweetener, using a healthier fat & reducing the fat amount even further, using the healthiest cocoa I know of, swapping out the sugar-loaded chocolate chips for healthy chocolate nibs with a little additional healthy sweetener, and opting for organic all the way.
My recipe is below. My explanations and sources are below that. I apologize that I don’t know how my changes affect the nutrition information from the original recipe, but I assure you it is in a healthier direction. Do let me know if you try it, any additions or changes you make and how they work out. Here is to a healthy and yet also delicious 2015!
- One 15-ounce BPA-free can black beans, drained and rinsed very well, or 15 ounces home cooked black beans
- 3 large organic eggs
- 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups non-GMO erythritol (a healthy sweetener)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon organic peppermint extract, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt (I like Real Salt, but any will work)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate nibs, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, oil, erythritol, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract if desired, baking powder, and salt, and process until smooth. Add ¼ cup of the chocolate nibs and pulse a few times until the nibs are incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate nibs.
4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.
Thanks again to Meal Make Over Moms for the basic recipe!
For those interested, my changes, why I made them, and the best sources to get them (and affordably!):
First, let’s just get it out of the way that I use iHerb for most of my supplements, body care, and many foods, so I have included links above and also below. Much of what they sell is half the prices in stores (supplements & body care even more so than most foods), are speedy in delivery, fast to navigate, and have over 40,00 products. It’s easy to set up an account, and if you order, use my code at check out, LIZ 264, to get $5-$10 off (depending on size of your order). Feel free to share that code with friends or on your own blog. I will get a few pennies on your order in credit if you do, which I appreciate, and please do forgive me if this seems promo-ie, but honestly, I was shouting the praises of this company long before I had that code. This shopping cart that has all the linked ingredients above in one simple place.
Secondly, if this recipe looks expensive, you are welcome to cut corners where you choose, or order smaller sizes than some of the links show (on some I give you options, or of course you might be buying them locally). I’m just going for top-grade ingredients, because what we are doing here is promoting healthy indulgence!
For those that are still with me, reasonings, sources, & more info on the changes:
BPA-free cans: Best explained by this article. BPA in cans.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Even if your canola oil is non-GMO, I’ve read enough to be convinced that canola is not the healthiest choice. I have found only good information on olive oil. The brand I feature, BioNaturae, is considered by many health bloggers (and gourmets as well!), to be one of the purest and best. It’s made in traditional ways, on small farms. I also found that reducing the oil by 1/3 didn’t seem to affect flavor or texture.
Sweetener. Ah, here is the rub. What is really a good one, safe for blood sugar, weight, candida, and other concerns? I have found this to be my go-to for years. It’s corn derived, so of course don’t use if allergic, and stick to non-GMO brands. Here is a great article about it.
Cocoa and chocolate nibs: Chocolate is notoriously full of detrimental health aspects–and I don’t just mean fats and sugars. Pure cocoa often has molds and other impurities! Molds can be very health harming. I trust the Sunfood brand, as they test for these impurities, and are a cleaner product than most.
Vanilla, Peppermint extracts: Frontier is a long-trusted brand with many organics. I even trust their non-organics to be pure.
Salt: Real Salt has tons of good minerals in it. My Guides have been saying for over a decade that this is the best salt, and I am noticing more health blogs recommending it as well these days.
To your health in the New Year!