Black bean brownies for morning sickness

It sounds weird, and it took me a while to get up the courage to try.  But you know what?  They’re really good. No hint of bean flavor with unsalted homecooked beans.  Just a rich chocolatey brownie – and if you’ve had them before, mine are probably more chocolate-y because I tweaked the recipe to my own liking.  Mostly, that means more chocolate-y goodness.

The texture is a little different from normal brownies, probably because there’s no gluten to bind them.  Some of the kids think it’s a good difference, some don’t, most don’t even notice.  A bit on the crumbly side if you overcook or let them dry them out, but there’s an easy solution: eat faster.

For a better texture, add 1/3 cup of flour, 2 more tablespoons of oil/butter and an extra egg. They’re not gluten free if you do this, but the flavor and texture are almost indistinguishable from traditional brownies.  If you’re extremely sensitive to texture and still think you can tell the difference, or if you’re just looking for an excuse to add chocolate chips, do it.  You won’t be sorry.

If you suffer from morning sickness like I do, you might find that eating a few bites of beans every time nausea threatens is a magical cure for morning sickness.  If so, you really should keep some of these brownies on hand, because you’re going to get very tired of burritos 19 times/day.

Come on.  Don’t be a chicken.  Just try them.  You know you want to.

gluten free black bean brownies

Pregnancy Brownies (Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies)

makes 8 2×4 brownies, 223 calories, 10 grams fat, 9 grams protein, 5 grams fiber.  Yes, those are really big brownies.  You might feel better about it if you cut them in 2×2 squares and eat 2.

  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 tbs butter or oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup black beans (no salt), thoroughly drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Combine all ingredients except walnuts in blender or food processor until smooth.  Add walnuts and process briefly.  Spread in greased 8×8 pan or similar size (I use a 9″ pie pan or 8″ round cake pan).  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350, just until done.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.


  1. I have another theory about black beans working for pregnancy. Black beans are relatively high in magnesium. There is a real possibility that some of the morning sickness symptoms are related to magnesium deficiency. B6 may actually be working for many women because it helps with the absorption of magnesium.

    “Mild magnesium deficiency causes gastrointestinal problems, such as decreased appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include fatigue, confusion, irritability, apathy, poor memory, weakness and muscle twitching.”

    Read more:

  2. Rebekah says:

    I get dried beans from I get anywhere from 5-50 pounds of our favorites. I just saw a post here where you are able to can dry beans:
    Hope that helps!

  3. I made these and they’ve really seemed to help, whether it’s all in my head or not, I’m going to keep eating them! They’ve also seemed to help me…uh..go to the bathroom. I’m 10 weeks tomorrow and have been much more sick this time around.

  4. I loved these brownies. I made them with special dark coco… yummy. I want to try adding dried fruit to them, and someone suggested swirling peanut butter in them to make them have even more protein.

  5. Wow, these look amazing!! I so wish I had known about these during my pregnancies! (As though I actually needed another excuse to consume anything chocolate ;)).

  6. Kim,
    Well I tried these and they did not turn out very well. The most likely reasons are that I used splenda in place of sugar and that my blender is old and does not work very well. Oh well I will try them again after I get another blender. Thanks for posting them. Jenny

  7. Jacqueline says:

    You had me at Gluten Free. Any attempts to use GF flour in this concoction to keep it GF?

    • Jacqueline, have you tried the basic recipe without flour? It’s really not necessary, and gf flour might not make a difference in the finished product. I suspect it’s the gluten in the flour that binds the ingredients, making it a little less prone to crumble.
      But they’re moist and delicious with no flour at all!

  8. For those of us ignorant about beans (or maybe it’s just me), do they have to be BLACK beans, and are they soaked, cooked, or something else?

    • For the brownie recipe, I’ve only seen and used black beans, cooked and rinsed thoroughly. You could certainly try other varieties but they might not “hide” as well.

      • *sigh* There doesn’t appear to be a black bean in town. Common New Zealand doesn’t seem to do beans much, except Watties baked beans in tomato sauce. Those I’d have to rinse REALLY well, huh?

        • I think you’re right, Kim. Baked beans would take some serious rinsing!
          They don’t even sell dried beans that you can cook yourself? I guess there are certain advantages to living near Mexico. Cheap beans and fresh tortillas in every grocery store!

        • I’m from NZ too, and I’m pretty sure I have seen tins of them in good ol’ Countdown. If not, they are SURE to be hiding somewhere in an asian supermarket!

  9. I’ve made these before and they are amazingly yummy. I like being able to snack on them in a way I wouldn’t with regular brownies. (When I’m nursing or pregnant I feel sick and faint if I don’t munch on protein all day. And since I’ve been nursing and/or pregnant for 5 1/2 years, I don’t know how I feel otherwise.) I made them because I wanted them, not because I wanted regular brownies and was trying to fool myself. I highly dislike fake desserts. These are chocolaty, densely moist protein snacks. Yup.

    And now I really want some.

  10. Cindee N. says:

    Is the recipe in this post the tweaked one or the original one?

  11. I LOVE brownies made with coconut oil……and almonds……… So, if I were making these I would use coconut oil instead of butter or any other kind of oil.

    Sure wish I would have known about the morning sickness/bean idea when I was of the age to bear children!

  12. Beans were slightly helpful for me during pregnancy sickness with a couple of my kiddos, but I’m afraid this recipe wouldn’t have worked because I have a strong aversion to chocolate during my first trimester. Weird, since chocolate is totally my favorite food otherwise.
    But since I’m not pregnant now, I’m excited to try this recipe out!

  13. Unfortunately I’ve never tried beans for my nausea. With both my pregnancies I was nauseous, but never actually throwing up. I wore sea bands (which helped a lot) and should have bought stock in Emetrol…lol. But if you’re looking for yummy ways to use beans you might check out this deep dish cookie (it is gluten free and you can use white beans or chickpeas)…

    If chickpeas work, you could also try a few other recipes on that same site. She has cookie dough dip, snickerdoodle blondies, and chocolate chip blondies.

  14. I’m so sorry you have “morning” sickness, but glad the beans reliably help you. I also have had it w/every one of my pregnancies and different things seem to have helped at times, but nothing consistently. I have sometimes thought beans helped some. My little guy is only 6 months right now, but I want to save this just in case I ever want it for the future (assuming I’m up to cooking if that time ever comes again, ha). Thanks!

  15. At 30 weeks, I still deal with occasional all day sickness….but I might have to give these a go just for posterity sake regardless ;D I think hubby’s sympathy pregnancy might require it 🙂

  16. Nope. No magical cure for me. I read the same article on beans, really really really wanted it to work, and ended up puking lots of hummus and beans.

    But the brownies? They sound good! I’ve had pinto bean cake, and that’s good, too!

    • Rachel, so sorry eating beans didn’t help for you. I’m sure it probably depends on the root cause of your morning sickness and mine. I always throw up a lot of bile when pregnant, and the bean theory is all about bile. 😛

  17. This doesn’t sounds weird at all and reminds me of Chinese red bean paste mooncakes! These sound yummy and I might try making them!

  18. I *LOVE* BB brownies! People think I’m so weird and hippy-dippy but seriously, they are SOO good for you and taste amazing! I give them to my kids for breakfast! I do add an extra egg and hadn’t thought about adding a wee bit of flour. I think I’ll try it! My littlest one has severe food allergies so I have to make everything homemade…no boxed stuff here. This is so easy to do!

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