Can’t Be Beet Black Bean Brownie Wedges

by Maria Theresa Maggi on April 27, 2019

Can't Be Beet Black Bean Brownie Wedges

After eating plant-based for so many years, and basically educating myself on the internet and then experimenting at home, tweaking recipes to work best for my situation, I end up with a lot of delicious fragments of former recipes I read or made floating around in what’s now my long term memory. This recipe is born from those magical fragments, and I couldn’t be more delighted to venture that it might be my most delicious “weird” dessert using traditionally non-dessert items yet!

Back in 2008, the first year I was eating low fat no oil vegan, I cut my teeth on how to do that by following Susan Voisin’s Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog religiously, going through archives and/or trying out her current offerings, and developing a wonderful conversation with Susan through commenting on the blog. That led to the treasured friendship we share today, and to her inviting me to write this blog on her Fat Free Vegan site.

But long before that developed, I just had to try her Can’t Be Beet Chocolate Cake–using carob, instead of cocoa powder. It was a delicious version. Later on, I would also try her amazing Roasted Beet-Tofu Burgers, and learn the pure ambrosia and ease of roasting whole beets in a package of foil lined with baking parchment. I loved these so much I even did a watercolor of them, which sold at my first community art show at the Moscow Food Co-op 5 years ago.


"Beets," watercolor by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Beets,” watercolor by Maria Theresa Maggi

So these two recipes, countless black bean brownie recipes I’ve read on the internet, a thread on McDougall friends that led me to sweet hummus recipes on Pinterest, my own Gluten Free Happy Birthday Cake recipe (a mostly carob and different fruit riff of FFVK’s  Chocolate Blueberry Cake), and a wonderful tip from Italian baking I read about throwing whole bits of orange in breads and cakes, led me to the combination of flavors you’ll find below. If a recipe could be a mosaic, something new made from bits of treasured old, this is it.

And on the Slow Miracle truly miraculous side, it’s a wonder that I can use the beets again at all. After eating them raw in salads years ago I started to develop an allergic reaction in my throat and had to avoid them completely for a few years. But now, if I cook them, I can have a little. So this recipe is a celebration of that, too.

And on the funny side of life, I’m pretty sure this recipe would pass muster as a vegan–or even non-vegan paleo offering. Or pretty close, which is the last thing I ever would have expected.

And if this is important to you, as it is to the future of my own teeth, this recipe is (almost) completely sugar free.

And if nothing else, it’s an innovative way to eat my black beans! Plus, the heavy dense batter is a stupendous color, which darkens but stays in the finished brownie:


Here’s to imaginative desserts more full of beans, veggies and fruit that don’t taste like, well, beans and vegetables. Kinda makes me wish I had a picky kid around to fool. Bon appetit!

Maria (moonwatcher)

Leave a Comment

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan Voisin April 28, 2019 at 6:23 am

I’m so glad to see we were in sync again! And to see the idea of putting beets in desserts is still alive and well. 🤣 Great post!


2 Maria Theresa Maggi May 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Thanks Susan–I love our recipe synchronicity, too! xo 🙂


3 Veronica May 3, 2019 at 9:34 am

This sounds delicious! I really like your idea of keeping the slices in the freezer and eating almost frozen – that’d be perfect for the coming warm weather season. You’re always so creative in your recipes, I’m glad to see you’re still working that magic! xoxo


4 Maria Theresa Maggi May 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Hey Veronica, so happy you think these sound delicious and that you like the idea of eating them almost frozen. I just love them that way. You really made me smile with the compliment about still working the magic–thank you!! xo


5 Lisa May 4, 2019 at 11:13 am

Could you use a blender instead of food processor? Thanks!


6 Maria Theresa Maggi May 4, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for your question, Lisa. You could try. It’s a very thick “batter” though, sort of like hummus. I’d start with the dates and their cooking water, the orange, the beets, and then try to add the rest. It might take a lot of start and stop and maybe a few splashes of water or non-dairy milk, but, heck, give it a go!


7 Christina May 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm

1 1/2 small red beet, roasted and skinned

Please clarify if you mean 1 small beet and half of another small red beet. The recipe sounds yummy. Beet is an essential ingredient and I don’t want to use too much or too little.


8 Maria Theresa Maggi May 6, 2019 at 9:10 am

Thanks for your question Christina. Yes, that’s what I meant. It would probably amount to a healthy half cup, so about a third of the amount of black beans you are using–somewhere between 1/2-2/3 of a cup, roughly. I don’t think you can mess it up unless you put a HUGE beet in. Maybe even that would be okay because once roasted they are so sweet! Remember, no skin. We’re sort of eliminating the earthier taste of that here. Hope you enjoy–it’s a forgiving recipe–make it your own! xo


9 Gena May 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm

You and I roast our beets the same way! And I love the looks of this cake. I’ve had really good luck so far with the beets & chocolate combination, but less with black beans in baking. This encourages me to try a new formula 🙂



10 Maria Theresa Maggi May 9, 2019 at 9:17 am

Great beet minds, Gena! It’s the best way! It’s an adventure when beans are the main ingredient. The black beans work pretty well in this. I’ve also played with a blondie one with chickpeas. I just tried a white bean adventure, and while it tastes fantastic, it never really firmed up into a cake and had to be frozen in piece–blondie popsicles anyone? Maybe some day. . .xoxo


11 Marilyn May 30, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Oh, WOWOWOWOW! These are beyond delicious, Maria – thanks so very much for another frabjous recipe :). The only problem is I want to eat the whole batch at once…hey, it’s only a can of beans and some beets, right???!?


12 Marilyn May 30, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Oh, I forgot – in case someone wants to skip the nuts and chips – I do, too and the brownies are still divine…


13 Maria Theresa Maggi May 30, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Thank you–really good to know!


14 Maria Theresa Maggi May 30, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Hah! That’s a great rationalization, Marilyn!! I am so happy you find these beyond delicious! Makes my day.


15 Peggy Louise Bean June 21, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Hi maria, haven’t seen a post in awhile. Hope you are ok. Maybe I got dropped off your list accidentally!


16 Maria Theresa Maggi June 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Hi Peggy, I got your sweet e-mail but just haven’t gotten to respond to it yet. Thank you so much for checking on me! I really appreciate it. I have been very sick and am much better but still getting better. I am finally able to work on a new post telling about this and more, and hope to have it up in the next week. This is the longest I’ve been away from the blog and I miss it! Thanks again xoxo


17 Susan Lynn Resig September 18, 2021 at 9:01 am

Hi, I just discovered you and these sound delish! I am not a Stevia fan, is there any reason why I can’t just add more dates? I’m thinking chopped dates in place of the chips will give it the extra sweetness. Thanks!


18 Maria Theresa Maggi September 18, 2021 at 9:47 am

Absolutely you could Susan! If I was making it today that’s what I’d do as well. Maybe 10 or 12 dates instead of six? Thanks for your question and hope you like them!


Previous post:

Next post: