These Almond Butter-Banana ‘Blue Zones Brownies’ Are Packed With Nutrients for Healthy Aging (and They’re Breakfast-Friendly)

Photo: Getty Images/ Vrinda Mahesh / 500px
You never know what you'll find when you go digging inside someone's old recipe box, but one of the first treats you may encounter is a beloved ‘ol family brownie recipe. Fudgey, gooey, and nearly impossible to mess up—what’s not to love about an imperfectly perfect batch of brownies?

Nothing, which is why we're sharing tricks for making brownies breakfast-friendly, and it starts and ends with a Blue Zones-inspired black bean chocolate chunk brownie recipe that's packed with protein and antioxidants. (If you're new to the Blue Zones, they're the parts of the world where folks consistently live to be over 100 years old in good health—and beans happen to be a dietary staple in all of them.)

Ahead: How to make a batch of these bad bean-ilicious boys, plus why their ingredients can support healthy aging, and more delicious brownie recipes to try if these go stale. (Heads up: They won't.)

What makes this longevity-boosting protein brownie recipe so enticing 

This easy brownie recipe (originally inspired by The Balanced Blonde) features several ingredients commonly consumed in the Blue Zones that are essential for healthy aging. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, so it works for folks with various types of dietary restrictions, too.

Let’s dive right into what makes this recipe so darn good. The eight-ingredient recipe calls for the following foods: bananas, cocoa, agave, dry oats, dairy-free chocolate chips, almond butter, vanilla extract, and—the star of the show—black beans. A whole can of ‘em. Thanks to a heaping serving of black beans, these brownies are packed with protein (nearly 25 grams of protein, depending on the brand) and are beyond moist and rich—a win-win in our book.

Beans contain several key nutrients that are linked to healthy aging: They’re high in fiber, packed with many essential nutrients (folate, zinc, and potassium, to name a few), and they help promote a well-balanced microbiome. According to Blue Zones’ founder Dan Buettner, beans are a key component of most centenarian diets. Buettner has actually shared that eating a cup of beans daily could extend your life expectancy by four years.

According to Blue Zones’ founder Dan Buettner, beans are a key component of most centenarian diets. Buettner has actually shared that eating a cup of beans daily could extend your life expectancy by four years.

Another longevity-boosting component of this recipe is the cocoa. You may recall the legacy of Sister André, a French nun who lived to be 118 years old. When asked what her secret to living well beyond most, her response was: Eating chocolate and drinking wine regularly. (Love. Her. Vibe.) And while cheeky, there is research to back her claim that chocolate may be a key ingredient for boosting longevity. Indeed, research shows that cocoa can potentially help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. This is largely because it contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.

protein brownie recipe black bean
Photo: The Balanced Blonde

Vegan black bean chocolate chunk brownie recipe

Yields 10 servings

15-ounces can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 whole bananas
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (and/or cacao powder)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup dry oats
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1 Tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Grease an 8 x 8 pan and set aside. (It’s recommended to grease the pan with coconut oil spray.)

3. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the oats and chocolate chips, together, and blend in a high-speed blender or food processor.

4. Pour into a bowl and mix in the oats and chocolate chips.

5. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let cool before serving.

Even more protein-rich brownie recipe love

If black bean brownies aren't your scene, we get it. Beans in brownies can be hard to wrap our heads around. (But we strongly urge you not to knock it until you try it.) That said, now that we’re all in the mood for some gooey, fudgy brownies, we’ve got plenty more options for ya…that don’t involve beans.

For the easiest brownie recipe on the planet, try these three-ingredient peanut butter banana brownies (which are also anti-inflammatory). They're as just as decadent as they are easy to prepare.

For a brownie recipe centered around heart health, try baking fudge brownies with extra virgin olive oil—it makes them ultra-moist and packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which are well-known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Time to crank up the oven, am I right?

Fudgy olive oil brownies coming right up:

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...