Black bean Ghirardelli brownies (160 calories)

I really like to bake and I certainly didn’t stop my culinary adventures when I decided to lose weight, change my eating habits, and get in shape. I’m not one of those “sugar is a toxin” believers, for a variety of reasons that are too numerous and involved to discuss in this post.

In fact baking became even more important for weight loss because I wanted to a) know the calorie content of everything for journaling b) denial equals short term weight loss only, and I want to enjoy myself and c) trans-fats, which are found in many purchased baked goods ARE evil.

Generally, I bake my brownies from scratch. They have 226 calories a square and more sugar than flour. Basically, the flour is there to hold the butter, chocolate, and sugar together.
But sometimes I want to reduce the calories a bit (having an extra 66 calories to play around with can help and it’s that attention to caloric detail that is part of the religion and the liberation of journaling) and sometimes I just don’t want the hassle of measuring and clean up. A brownie mix sounds so appealing. The problem? The mixes have trans-fats. Yes, the nutritional contents says trans-fat free, 0 g even, but read the ingredients and you’re sure to find partially hydrogenated oil, which is trans fat. When the content is below a certain amount manufacturers are able to label the foods as trans fat free when that isn’t the case. So much for truth in advertising.

And then this week I discovered Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix! Unlike other mixes it has no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil! I read the label over and over and just couldn’t believe my eyes! (It’s possible I wept momentarily in Safeway). As prepared, with oil and an egg it’s 210 calories and honestly not that much easier than my from scratch. So, enter a can of black beans…and the calories drop to 160 and the fat content plummets as well.

They are awesome, not very sugary, dense and moist and very chocolatey.

The recipe:

Purée one can black beans
Fold into one box of Ghirardelli Dark chocolate brownie mix
Spray baking pan (8×8) with cooking spray
Pour into pan
Bake at 325 F for about 40 mins if using a metal pan

So there you have it, 160 calorie tasty brownies that take about 4 minutes to assemble.



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  1. The brownies look delicious. Since (at least around these parts) there are several sizes of canned beans, would it be possible for you to tell us what the size of the can is? (I’d be happiest with ml, but also fine with fl oz.) That would also help people who want to use leftover beans, or start with dry beans, etc.

  2. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! Can’t wait to try this one. My husband has been diagnosed as type two diabetic and has been bringing cans of black beans home lately. I think he will not be afraid to try one, just one of these. I am glad he is cautious but I will be glad when he can stop letting the fear rule his life.

    Mary Alice Tanner

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