Black Bean Gingerbread Bars

This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

Prior to this year, I had never once added a bean to a dessert recipe. Now, I’ve done it three times. First, with these Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, then with my Maple Pecan White Bean Blondies (yum!), and now with these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars.

vegan-black-bean-gingerbread-bars

I have since fallen in love with adding protein-rich beans to my desserts, because they are loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate, all of which are thought to help support heart health. They also make an excellent, and affordable, egg substitute in vegan and gluten-free recipes like this one. In this case, the black beans add moisture and act as a binder, without adding an overwhelmingly “bean-y” taste. In fact, I can’t taste a hint of beans in these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars at all.

What I do taste in these soft, cake-like bars is a perfect blend of holiday spices, including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of blackstrap molasses. Did you know that blackstrap molasses contains significant amounts of minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium? If you ask me, that’s even more reason to dig into these fiber-rich bars. When paired with warming ginger, they’re a delicious winter treat!

Of course, they’re a bit healthier if you avoid letting your toddler be in charge of the topping. He might have gone a little sugar-crazy. (But, gosh he’s cute.)

vegan-gingerbread-recipe

Whether you decide to top these bars with an extra sprinkling of sugar or not, I hope you’ll enjoy them in the near future. If you signed up to take the Pulse Pledge this year– committing to eat one serving of pulses like lentils, beans, chickpeas, and dry peas each week– they’re an easy way to work towards meeting your weekly quota. And what a delicious way to wrap up the 2016 International Year of Pulses!

Black Bean Gingerbread Bars
Makes one 9-inch square pan

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 (15 oz.) can drained and rinsed
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse granulated sugar, for topping (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, combine the black beans, flour, oil, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, vanilla, molasses, and vinegar. Process until a smooth batter is formed.

gingerbread-mix

Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of coarse sugar, if desired. Bake until the top feels firm to a light touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing the bars from the pan and slicing.

black-bean-gingerbread-vegan-bars

These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

4.8 from 6 reviews
Black Bean Gingerbread Bars
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
These moist and cake-like gingerbread bars pack a sneaky serving of black beans in each bite. They are loaded with protein, fiber, and nutrients for a healthier treat.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 (15 oz.) can drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse granulated sugar, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, combine the black beans, flour, oil, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, vanilla, molasses, and vinegar. Process until a smooth batter is formed.
  2. Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of coarse sugar, if desired. Bake until the top feels firm to a light touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing the bars from the pan and slicing.
  3. These bars will keep well at room temperature for up to 48 hours tightly covered, but for best shelf life keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Note: I haven’t tried this recipe using other beans and flours, so please let us all know in the comments below if you try something new and how it works for you!

Reader Feedback: Have you ever added beans, or another type of pulse, to a dessert? Let me know your favorites!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada as part of my ongoing partnership to help promote the 2016 International Year of Pulses. 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

18 thoughts on “Black Bean Gingerbread Bars

  1. Alison

    They are in the oven right now but the batter was delicious! Didn’t have molasses so used maple syrup. I only used < 1/2 cup of coconut sugar as I'm trying to lower the sugar intake (by the taste of the batter, I could of decreased even more). Can't wait for the them to cool down. Thanks for the great recipe.

    Reply
  2. Genevieve

    Just made those this morning! They are de-li-cious! From this recipe alone I decided to order your 2 books!!! A bit extreme? Maybe! But I am ready to rock 2017 in an healthy way! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Reply
  3. Sammy

    I made these today but made some changes – I used only 1/4 cup sugar and used 2 tbsp coconut butter and 2 tbsp applesauce instead of oil. I will add another 1-2 tablespoons or so of sugar next time (the batter tasted sweeter than the finished product), but they were still nicely sweet and really tasty! I can’t taste the black beans at all. They didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but that’s probably due to my substitutions.

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    These are absolutely amazing!! I made them yesterday and they pleased our whole family, including our two “discerning” (I hate the word picky!) children. Thank you for another wonderful recipe. I am going to try the almond butter blondies today. Since going gluten and dairy free, it is nice that we can still enjoy holiday baking and treats.

    Reply
  5. Anna

    I made these yesterday. I subbed 1/4 c Pyure (erythritol & stevia) for the coconut sugar, and added 2 T of blackstrap molasses instead of 1. They were plenty sweet! Next time I might cut back themolasses back to 1 T and try 3 T of Pyure.. Just saying, these hit the spot! I have missed holiday goodies needing to avoid sugar, eggs, dairy, and gluten, and these filled that need. Even my choosy 12 year old Celiac was going back for more, even though he knew it was made of beans. I’m making more today! Totally going to try the Maple blondies also.

    Reply
  6. Kathy EH

    Oh my gosh, these are WONDERFUL! I used quinoa flour in one batch & sprouted rice flour in a second batch. We could taste the quinoa & it kind of competed with the ginger, but the batch made with rice flour was perfect. Also, used only 1/2 cup coconut sugar and that was plenty sweet for us. Yummy!!! Definitely a five-star recipe & a keeper. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
  7. Sabrina B,

    would have never even thought of black beans in a desert, but love them in many savory dishes, so will have to give this and the other two recipes that you mentioned, thank you for this!

    Reply
  8. Emily

    I wanted to make a treat tonight, and I LOVE ginger spiced anything so I thought these would be perfect. Then I realized I had to use my blender and my little ones were just in their beds trying to go to sleep. The blender noise would peak their interest and I would have neither sleeping kids, nor a little treat for myself. So I experimented a little with what I already had — chickpea flour left over from another recipe. I think they are just that good that I will leave this for you to do whatever you want with. Thank you for the yummy recipes!

    Chewy Chickpea Ginger Cookies,
    1 cup chickpea flour (dried chickpeas blended in my blender til a fine and fluffy flour is created)
    1/2 cup GF oat flour
    3/4 cup coconut sugar
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
    6 tbs water
    2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
    ~mix all the ingredients; bake at 350 8-10 min (til tops are crisp when tapped)

    Reply
  9. Cathy

    These were very good! I have seen recipes for Black Bean Brownies for a few years now and although I do love black beans, I just couldn’t imagine using them for anything like brownies. These are not ‘labeled’ as brownies, and maybe that’s what got me to try the recipe, I don’t know, but I’m happy I finally tried using black beans in baking….I was super surprised!!! Thanks for opening my eyes!! I have since made a couple of different batches of black bean brownies….anyone have an absolute favorite recipe for brownies???

    Reply
      1. Cathy

        Hi Megan….well you’ll be happy to know i made these Black Bean Gingerbread Bars again tonite…and they came out wonderful once again! Thanks for the link to your favorite brownie recipe, I will have to give that a try as well…

        Reply

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