The past few months I’ve been all about beans. You name the bean, I’ve put it in something! I even created a vanilla cake recipe using cannelloni beans that I am going to make into my wedding cake! I’m for real bean crazy over here.
Not only are beans nutritious and super filling, but they are also cheap and extremely versatile. I buy my beans dry, soak them, then cook them in large batches. Sometimes I sprout them a few extra days before cooking; it all depends on my mood and what I’m planning to use them for. At any given time there is at least one giant bowl of soaking beans on my counter. Usually there is sourdough dough fermenting next to it, but that’s for another day.
I’ve been eating mainly vegetarian since last September. But to be honest I don’t like to put a label on my “diet”. I don’t believe in diets. I believe that you should eat plant based (as in mostly vegetables and fruits), whole food (no pre-pared or packaged crap: stay to the outside edges of the grocery store and skip the middle), and everything in moderation. That’s about it. If you’re a meat eater, that’s totally fine! Just eat way more veg than beef. And treat yourself. I strongly believe in a non-elimination diet! Recently I watched Michael Pollan’s film In Defense of Food while on vacation and loved it. It hit the nail on the head when it comes to trendy nutrition and dietitian buzz words that are driving the food industry. I really have to read the book. Anyway, in the past few months I’ve transitioned to this very simple and holistic approach to how and what I eat and I’ve never felt better!
Enter these brownies. They are made of whole foods, no refined sugars, oils, or grains. Nothing but nature in these bad boys! My logic behind making these was I wanted a eat brownies for breakfast and thought it might be wise if I include ingredients that did more than just give me a sugar rush. The protein, fiber, fruit, not to mention vitamins and minerals in these make them not only a good option but a great one! I made them a few times to get it right, but this recipe is even dessert worthy. My two favorite ways to eat these are warmed with chocolate nice-cream and extra cacao nibs or slathered in my cacao butter frosting (recipe to come). This recipe is not joking around and makes 12 giant brownies! Size matters and a giant brownie is always better than a tiny one. So go ahead, wake up and have a brownie. No judgement here 😉
Giant Lentil Brownies
vegan, gluten free, oil free, refined sugar free
1 1/2 cups GF oats
1/2 cup teff (or more oats)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cooked lentils
16 oz dates, pitted*
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk + more as needed
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter**
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips, walnuts, or a combo (optional)
cacao nibs for sprinkling (optional)
*If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes before using them.
**Sub a seed butter here if necessary. I have not actually tried it myself, however I bet sunflower seed butter would taste amazing!
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
- Blend the oats and teff in a high-speed blender or food processor until a flour consistency is achieved. Pulse in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Empty into a bowl and set aside.
- Blend the dates, peanut butter, vanilla, and 1 cup of the milk until smooth. Add to a large bowl.
- Blend the lentils, applesauce, and 1/4 cup milk until smooth. Add to the large bowl. Stir everything together until combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and gently mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips or walnuts if desired.
- Spread the batter evenly over the greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle with cacao nibs if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes for more fudgy brownies, closer to 35 for fully cooked texture. Let cool completely, cut into 12 pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.