In case you missed it, our Black Bean Brownie recipe was February’s Recipe of the Month. It was also one of Week 21’s classroom recipes.
We chose this recipe for February because at Allergic to Salad, we don’t believe certain foods are inherently good or bad. It is possible to foster a positive relationship with all food, including special occasion desserts. The beans in the batter of our version make these baked goods a bit healthier than the usual version by adding fiber, protein and folate from the beans. Thus, Black Bean Brownies are a great choice for practicing self-love while learning to make smart substitutions for healthier ingredients while baking – even baking desserts.

At Center School, Allergic to Salad educator Anna said “the recipe turned out great,” and at the Computer School she said “students loved the recipe and had a lot of fun making brownies.”

Allergic to Salad educator Kelly also instructed students in baking Black Bean Brownies during Week 21. There were some doubts from the students regarding beans in the batter of the classic dessert, but those misgivings were laid to rest after a taste test. “We talked about making healthier snacks by incorporating beans, a high fiber, high protein option. The kids were great. The whole class was skeptical about the recipe but I asked them to not knock it until they tried it. The whole class liked it. They were surprised that it came out good because of the incorporation of beans.”

Black Bean Brownies

Course Dessert, Snack
Keyword baking, black beans, brownies, chocolate, dessert, snack
Servings 12 servings


  • cups black beans
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or agave
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ to ⅔ cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.

  2. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.

  3. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! 

Speaking of classic desserts made healthier, our educator Erica also made a Valentine-themed dessert with students during Week 21. Her classes celebrated the February holiday with Beet Red Velvet Cake which stars folate and fiber-filled beetroot. The beets give the cake a rich red color as an alternative to artificial red food dye. In fact, students at PS 118 told her “that it was awesome that there could be natural sources of dying food into fun colors,” and students at PS 187 “loved the taste of the beets.”

In summary, Erin told us that she “loved this week so so much! We talked a little bit about the history of Valentine’s Day” and that she “introduced macronutrients and delved deeper into the carbohydrate topic.” All in all, she was happy to report cakes were baked to perfection and loved by all!

Beet Red Velvet Cake

Course Dessert
Keyword baking, beets, cake, cupcakes, frosting
Servings 2 layers or 24 cupcakes


Beet Red Velvet Cake

  • 3 medium beets
  • ¾ cup/ 170 grams butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup/180 milliliters buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters white vinegar
  • teaspoons/7 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 2 cups/200 grams cake flour, sift before measuring
  • 3 tablespoons/24 grams Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1⅛ teaspoon/6 grams baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon/6 grams salt
  • ½ teaspoon/3 grams baking soda
  • cup/350 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs

Blood Orange Buttercream

  • Makes enough for 1 layer cake or 12 cupcakes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


Beet Red Velvet Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)
  2. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and then butter again. If making cupcakes, place liners in muffin tins.
  3. In a food processor, chop beets to a fine dice. Measure 1 cup of beets and add to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.
  5. Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Check cupcakes for doneness at 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Blood Orange Buttercream

  1. Beat butter with a mixer on high speed until very smooth. Add powdered sugar, orange oil, and vanilla; beat on low speed to blend, then on medium until fluffy and smooth.

We hope these vegetable-filled desserts inspire you to experiment with your healthier versions of treats!

Until next time,

Team Allergic to Salad

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