On Your Health

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Heart-Healthy Black Bean Brownies

Today's post is written by guest blogger Pam Patty, who is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at INTEGRIS.


Don't worry, this brownie recipe is surprisingly moist, fudge-y and delicious. What makes it a "heart-healthy" choice? The ingredients! The black beans, which anchor the recipe, are a great source of soluble fiber, which is the type of fiber associated with helping the body regulate the amount of cholesterol it makes.

Cholesterol has a variety of positive functions in the body. It plays a part in the production of various gender hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and aldosterone, along with cortisone, vitamin D, and bile production.

Unfortunately, in the presence of inflammation in the body, when LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) levels are high and HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels are low, the body uses the LDL cholesterol to form plaques, which can lead to blockages of the heart as well as the brain. Eating soluble fiber helps the body regulate the production of cholesterol.

Ultimately, managing inflammation in the body is one of the ways to keep your heart healthy. Another way to manage inflammation associated with heart disease is to choose food sources that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like olive oil. Fat is a necessary nutrient for the body that helps in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with providing a high-quality energy source (calories). So, when food choices contain fats that also help with inflammation management, the heart wins again!

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan with oil.
  • In a blender, puree the beans with the oil.
  • Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla.
  • Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender.
  • Blend on medium-high until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated.
  • Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until the surface looks matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes.
  • Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan.
  • Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Melissa d'Arabian

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