A healthy, easy to make, homemade vegan Chocolate Brownie Black Bean Protein Bar. Delicious – so good you’ll forget it’s good for you!
Protein bars. I’ve never been a fan of them. Overpriced, funky texture & taste and a questionable list of ingredients. Sorry, I don’t subscribe to the belief that all packaged “health foods” are good for you. Really, you want to eat healthy – start by cooking from scratch at home with quality ingredients – know what’s going into your food.
We should all try to have healthy(ish) foods we can grab on the run. In my home, we’re running behind on any given weekday morning. Breakfast usually consists of a quick bowl of cereal, oatmeal, grits, fresh fruit or a yogurt. That’s all fine and dandy – but sometimes there’s not even time for that. Some days I see my husband trying to chug down a protein shake while tripping over sippy cups and toys on his way out the door. Got me to thinking about a healthy, easy to eat breakfast bar that doesn’t come from a package from some random manufacturer.
Granola would be the simple solution for most, but the hubs doesn’t care for it. Staring at the giant container of protein powder – it hit me – a protein bar. I got to thinking about how to really pack a punch of protein and nutrients into a bar with more than just powder. I remembered the black bean brownies I make on occasion. Perfect way to make a rich, fudgie chocolate, nutrient loaded protein bar.
These bars are easy to make – you’re pretty much throwing all the ingredients in your food processor and baking them. Go ahead and get creative – stir in some cinnamon chips, sprinkle with nuts or swirl some peanut butter on top. Make it your protein bar!
Guess what!? You would never guess there’s black beans in this protein bar. It’s a fudgie, chocolate bomb bite of goodness – you’ll almost forget it’s a protein bar and that it’s actually pretty good for you. I cut these in bars for breakfasts on the run. I cut a bar in half for a snack, a dessert or a chocolate craving. Go ahead and get your healthy on & give these Fudge Black Bean Protein Bars a try. My whole family loves them – I bet yours will too!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Recipe originally adapted from Christensenka.Squarespace Check out her blog for tons of recipes & information on clean eating, gluten-free & allergy-free foods!
After making this recipe dozens of times, I’ve made a few changes to my original adaptation to improve the taste, texture and to compliment my on hand pantry ingredients. Enjoy 🙂
Chocolate and Black Bean Protein Bars
- 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed thoroughly (approx 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup chocolate or peanut butter protein powder
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar heaping
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt if soaking your own beans, you may need a bit more salt
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet / dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8x8 baking pan using a dab of coconut oil.
- Drain and rinse black beans thoroughly. This is best done in a colander.
- Combine black beans, protein powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla & salt in a food processor.
- Process until completely smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides if necessary. This may take a few minutes. If mixture is too dry to work with, you can add a teaspoon or two of warm water.
- Carefully remove blade and stir in chocolate chips.
- Spoon mixture into greased 8×8 pan and smooth mixture down with a spatula.
- Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until just set in the center.
- Let cool for an hour.
- Refrigerate for a few hours - the bars will finish setting up.
- Cut into bars and serve. You could also cut these into smaller, brownie or fudge sized pieces and serve as a dessert or snacks.
- Store bars in the refrigerator and they're best served chilled. Enjoy : )
- *NOTE* Black bean brownie recipes are pretty much fool proof and can be adapted & adjusted in limitless ways. Since there's no eggs & no flour in the batter it's perfectly safe (and fun) to create and taste as you go. Experiment with sweeteners and add-ins. Cinnamon & cayenne - yes, please. Peanut butter swirl - yum. Dried cranberries and crushed nuts - sure! You get the idea....
Want more chocolate black bean goodness? Check out these Chocolate Black Bean Cake Bites!
ooh definitely making this for the kids lunch box. Sounds amazing. I’m curious to find out how it tastes. Thanks
Hi Dianne! My family absolutely loves these protein bars! My 9 year old still doesn’t believe there are black beans in them – she thinks I’m trying to trick her so she doesn’t eat them lol.
Mine came out so chalky?! Help!
Chalky?! Oh no – that’s not good! Sorry to hear this 🙁 I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, playing around with ingredient amounts each time and have always had success. I’m thinking it has something to do with the protein powder you’re using…? I’ve used soy for a vegan bar & whey/soy for regular bars and both have turned out great. What type of powder are you using? I hope I can help 🙂
This is a great recipe. It’s very similar to my own except I never tried it with turbinado sugar, I always used a liquid sweetener. I’m digging the turbinado! I appreciate your reminder of how simple and goofproof these recipes really are. Too many people over complicate vegan sweets.
Hi Anna! Yay – glad your loving the turbinado sugar! I agree, some people do like to over complicate things that can be simple. I guess it’s just one of those things..?
I’m excited to try these today! I don’t have turbinado sugar on hand though..would you say honey would be a decent replacement? TIA
Hi Emma! Any sugar – white or brown – would work. Raw honey would work great too, but I would definitely reduce the amount. Start with 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon, taste, add more if you’d like it sweeter. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I just made these. What is the texture of the batter supposed to be like? Mine was very thick and it was difficult to spread it in the pan. Smells great though!
Hi Robin! Yes, it will be super thick – almost like a stiff, thick cookie dough. I find it easiest to pat it down/smooth it out with a spatula. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
They tasted great! I took them to my bootcamp class today and they all wanted the recipe.
Awesome! Great to hear that everyone enjoyed it 🙂
I really want to make these!! Is the nutrition information anywhere?
Yay – I hope you love them! I don’t keep track of nutrition info – I would suggest myfitnesspal or your favorite nutrition calculator.
About 1580 calories from the entire thing; 96g protein, 80g fat, 166g carbs (I also added a tbsp peanut butter). I’d love to try and cut the fat and add more protein, but rest assured, coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can ingest!
Thank you Lorenzo calculating the nutritional breakdown. Thank you for the recipe Amanda I’m going to make these for my son, he is always looking for something after the gym.
How much protein are in the bars?
Hi Rebecca. Depends on the protein powder you’re using & the serving size of a bar. I get about 8 bars out of a batch – my husband eats a bigger bar and would call it 6 servings.
Anyhow – 1/2 cup protein powder is roughly 2 scoops. My protein powder has 25 grams protein per scoop – 20g -25g is what’s normal for most powders. A can of black beans has 28 grams protein. So a batch would be approx 78 grams protein. That would put a bar at 9.75g to 13g protein, depending on bar size.
Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Is there a way to replace or leave out the protein powder?
Hi Jessica. These should be fine skipping the protein powder – I’d add an additional tablespoon or two of cocoa powder. Enjoy 🙂
Just made these! The taste is fantastic but the texture isn’t the best,entirely because of the skin of the bean. Anyone making them if you are a texture person like I am make sure you skin the bean first! And the rest of the recipe is so easy tbat the extra ten minutes won’t make too much difference. But I highly recommend this as they taste absolutely delectable!
Hi Brittany, glad you enjoyed the recipe! You know – I’ve never skinned a black bean, garbanzo or any bean – but I’ve heard what you’re saying many times before. I’ve heard people mention the skins bother them in bean desserts, in hummus and even in refried beans. So it’s definitely great advice to skin the beans if you find certain textures funky 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by ♥
do you have nutrition facts for this?
I don’t keep track of nutrition info – I would suggest myfitnesspal or your favorite nutrition calculator : )
Have you ever made these bars without baking them? I’ve seen alot of recipes that only call for the bars to set in the refrigerator, just wondering if that method would work?
Hi Jenna. I haven’t tried – but I can tell you that when these bars are under baked they don’t set up right. Perhaps time in the freezer or adding a nut butter would help…?
Hope this helps a little. I’ll have to experiment with it on a rainy day 🙂
If I am using black beans that are NOT from a can, do I cook them and then proceed with the recipe?
Hi Brittany. Yes, soak & cook like you normally would & proceed with recipe – you’ll need about 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans.
I just made these and they were delicious! I only had vanilla protein powder so I added a little extra cocoa to compensate for that. Other than the extra cocoa making them a bit dry, I LOVE the taste! I only mashed them with a potato masher, but still turned out tasty… thank you!
So glad you enjoyed them! This recipe is pretty adaptable to whatever you got or whatever you like!
Thanks for stopping by Angela 🙂
These look amazing! Would it be possible to use olive oil instead of coconut oil?
Honestly, I’ve never tried. Coconut oil solidifies at room temp/refrigerated so I’m guessing the texture would be different – the brownies might not set up as much.
Perhaps I’ll try it….I have all the ingredients on hand 🙂
I’ve tried at least 5 versions of these bars from different food blogs. All recipes are similar, yet different. These by far are my favorite. Perfect texture, not too mushy, not too chalky and easy to add my own spin to the recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Sandy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Thanks for stopping by ♥
Wow these bars are a keeper . They taste just as good as a fudge brownie . I did not have turbinado. So I used brown sugar what can I use instead of next time ? That would replace the turbinado ?
Hi Karen! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Brown sugar is a great substitute, as would be raw, sucanat or demerara sugar.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Has anyone tried them without the oil ? Wondering if it would still work
These are fantastic!! I used a dollup of lite cool whip on top and warmed the brownie when I ate it. Super good!! I did not add any sweetener and honestly, it didn’t need it. I also added Christmas colored chocolate chips instead of regular. My husband thought I was trying to trick him into a zucchini dessert. Little did he know it was a black bean dessert!! Loved it!
Was wondering if you have a nutrition breakdown of this recipe.
I know this might sound crazy, but for me, beans are very gassy. I’d that an issue with these?
Add mint extract = Thin mints , amazing !
In an attempt to lower the sugar, and calories, I substituted the oil and the sugar with unsweetened applesauce about 3/4cup, and used 1/4 Cup of chocolate chips. They tasted very good. The surface was a little cracked on top, but after they were chilled and cut, the texture was fine and they were moist. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely make these again.
If you melt the coconut oil (not too hot…just to the melted point, about 30 sec), it makes the bars easier to spread. I think adding an extra Tbsp of oil would help the one reader overcome the crumbliness. Mine were slightly over-baked and I could tell they were on the verge of being crumbly. And I added espresso powder to mine…next time will add more. I love chocolate with coffee! I will def make these again!