Kale & Black Bean Brownies

Those of you that know me personally, know about my obsession with kale.  Add that to my dark chocolate and baking obsessions and we have today’s blog post.
From spinach to bok choy to nutrient packed lettuce greens, there are numerous reasons why greens should be consumed on a daily basis.  My challenge comes from those in my family who don’t seem to enjoy a side of greens with every meal.
It may be a little sneaky, but greens can be added to just about anything.  Soups, meatloaf, lasagne, smoothies, popsicles, muffins and pancakes are just a few places I add greens.  Of all that I have tried, kale, especially young kale, is the most versatile, mildest green.
This brownie recipe is the perfect platform for kale as you can hide a lot in chocolate.  I went one step further in this recipe and added something that I use quite often in my baking in place of oil – black beans.  So now we have added protein and fiber which is a big bonus.  There is still a bit of butter in the recipe but there is less than 1/2 of the sugar called for in most brownie recipes.  (See the bottom of the post to compare calorie count with traditional brownies.)  The best part is, they are the perfect texture of both “cakey” and “fudgie” that I love in a brownie.  YUM!

Kale & Black Bean Brownies

Yield: 20 servings

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1-2 cups kale, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter

In a medium bowl, mix first 5 ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Rinse kale and remove ribs (baby kale leaves can be used whole).  Add remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix.  For thick brownies, spread into a 9 x 9 greased baking pan.  For thin brownies, use a 9 x 12 pan.  Bake in a preheated, 350º oven 20-25 minutes or until brownies are no longer soft in the center.  Dust with powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder before serving.

A Note on Kale:  Kale comes in many varieties, shapes and stages of maturity.  When cooking or using kale in smoothies, I remove the rib if it is larger than the size of a pencil.  If it is smaller, I simply chop the kale to make it easier for my Vita-Mix to blend.  For the smaller variety of kale, that looks like the size of a spinach leaf, I rarely even chop as it breaks down easily when blending.

Calorie Information (approximation) Barefoot Contessa Outrageous Brownies per serving 530 calories, 43 grams sugar, 32 grams fat (21 sat).  Kale & Black Bean Brownies per serving 147, 14 grams sugar, 4.9 grams fat (2.9 sat).  BIG DIFFERENCE!

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