These Plant-Powered Brownies Will Help You Crush the Spartan Whole-Food Challenge

Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena has been thriving on a whole-food plant-based diet since the 1970s, which is why he created Spartan's 14-day whole-food meal challenge. On a recent episode of the Spartan Up! podcast, Joe interviewed Dr. Alan Desmond, a medical doctor and gut microbiome expert, about his mission to help people optimize their health with one simple solution: eating more plants. 

More Plant-Powered Recipes: Spicy Parsnip and Lentil Winter SoupSpicy Baked Beans and Sweet Potato FarlsPlant-Powered Stew With Braised Chickpeas and Couscous | Wild Rice Super Salad

He's given us five great recipes that are packed with the diversity of whole plants, the dietary fiber, and the healthy protein that you need to crush the Spartan whole-food cleanse and smash that next Spartan race. Each of these recipes is featured in Dr. Desmond's new book, The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 Days to a Happier Gut and a Healthier You.

Today's recipe is plant-powered chocolate beanie brownies.

Chocolate Beanie Brownies

Plant-Based Brownies Recipe

Black beans are the secret ingredient that make these brownies nutritious, satisfying, and extra fudgy. Your friends will never believe that you’ve just added to their daily intake of legumes!

Makes eight servings; Prep and cook time: 40 minutes

Plant score: 7
Fiber per serving: 8.1 grams
Protein per serving: 6.8 grams
Gluten-Free: Yes, if using gluten-free flour.

What You Need

3 Medjool dates, roughly chopped
5 tablespoons of boiling water
½ cup of plain wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of cacao nibs, or chopped dairy-free dark chocolate
⅓ cup of toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1 14-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bananas (about 5 ounces in total), peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

How to Make It

1. Place the dates in a bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a square 18x18-centimeter baking tin with baking parchment.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, returning the husks after sifting. Stir in the cacao nibs and hazelnuts.

4. Add the dates and their liquid into a food processor or blender, along with the beans, bananas, and cacao powder. Blitz together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl or jug a couple of times to catch every last bit.

5. Add the puree to the flour and gently fold together until well combined, with no obvious lumps. Don’t overmix or beat it, or you’ll end up with a flat, cakey brownie.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level it out with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tip of a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

7. Set aside to cool completely in the tin, then turn out and cut into eight squares. If you're not eating straight away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

This recipe was originally published in Dr. Alan Desmond's book, The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 Days to a Happier Gut and a Healthier You, featuring 80 vegan recipes by Bob Andrew and published by Yellow Kite. Photos are credited to Dan Jones.

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