Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars

These  dense, creamy, fudgy brownie bars are vegan, gluten-free and refined-sugar free, and packed with the goodness of sweet potato and black beans. Healthy never tasted so good, my friends.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

If there is one thing I have learned in my three years of cooking for a small person: no matter how much you push the healthy food and no matter how delicious you make it taste and appetizing you make it look, your kids will want chocolate. You can tell them that too much chocolate will give them tummy aches or torrent diarrhea; you can talk up the “sugar bugs” that will take up residence in their teeth; and you can hide mommy’s dark chocolate stash on the top pantry shelf behind the millet crackers. But all this will very likely make them want the chocolate even more desperately. It’s just one of those hair-pulling immutable parenting truths.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars | For the first couple years of her life, I did the darnedest to shelter the Bean from sugary temptations. I was judicious with maple syrup on her morning oatmeal, if I offered it at all. I gave her fresh fruit instead of cookies at the end of every meal. She ate plain unsweetened yogurt and drank water (with a splash of juice for a “treat”). If I made cookies or cakes or cupcakes, I stashed the leftovers in the depths of my freezer (so that I could secretly binge after she went to bed, of course).

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

Then one fateful day she had her first taste of a friend’s birthday cake. AND IT WAS ALL OVER. One measly bite was all it took to create a sweet-toothed little monster, and the girl would now take intravenous chocolate icing for every meal if she had it her way.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chocolate Fudge Bars |

Now, some better parents might have continued to fight back, push the kale chips, and water down the apple juice with spirulina. But as far as I’m concerned, chocolate resistance is futile. So while the better parents are going to head to head with their sugar-loving wilful three year olds, I will be in the kitchen making Black Bean Sweet Potato Fudge Bars. (Kitschy socks totally optional.)

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

Now wait just a sec before you go all “why ruin chocolate with vegetables and beans” on me. I totally get it and am inclined to agree that as a general rule, chocolate and vegetables do not belong together. BUT no one will EVER guess that there are sweet potatoes and beans hiding inside these dense, soft, creamy fudgy brownie bars. Nor will anyone suspect that they are vegan, wheat-free and refined-sugar-free, either. I promise. This black bean sweet potato brownie bar is the ultimate healthy, flavourful, no-compromise chocolate treat.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

These fudge bars are the perfect afternoon snack, nut-free lunchbox treat, and after-dinner delight. If you want to take them up a notch and serve them to guests—as a holiday dessert, for example—plate them with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, fresh raspberries and a shot of espresso. In that context they pass for a much more decadent flourless chocolate cake.

Are you convinced? Make them for your holiday guests or sugar-loving preschoolers; don’t tell them what’s inside; and see how fast they disappear off the table. Then report back here and let me know how it went. Okay?

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars |

5.0 from 8 reviews
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These dense, creamy, fudgy chocolate brownie bars don't have any flour, butter, eggs or sugar! Instead they are made with the goodness of sweet potatoes, black beans, maple syrup and coconut oil, for a healthier version of a favourite treat. You will need to chill these bars in the fridge for a few hours to achieve the dense fudgy texture that makes them super delicious. So consider making them a day or two before you need them.
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 12 small bars
  • 1-14 ounce/398 ml can unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup roasted mashed sweet potato (see notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup natural unprocessed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup dark bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 8x8 inch square baking pan with a criss-cross of parchment paper (i.e. you want to create a sling with the parchment paper).
  2. Add all the ingredients except the chocolate chips to the bowl of a food processor, and whirl it up until the mixture is very smooth (this will take at least a couple of minutes). Use a small spatula to stir in the chocolate chips, if you are using them.
  3. Spoon the batter into the parchment-lined pan and smooth it out as best you can.
  4. Pop the pan into the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the surface is starting to crack and the edges have pulled away from the parchment paper.
  5. Let the bars cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then carefully and quickly (so as not to split the bars down the middle) lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper, and onto a cooling rack.
  6. Once the bars are room temperature, transfer them to a flat surface (I like a cookie sheet) and into the fridge overnight, or for a few hours at least. When they are nice and cold, cut into bars and serve. Store any uneaten bars in the fridge.
The best way to prepare the sweet potato for this recipe is to roast a whole potato in the oven. This will caramelize the sugars and leave you with a super sweet super delicious cup of potato flesh. To prepare the sweet potato: scrub one medium-large sweet potato and pierce it with a fork in a few places. Put it on a baking sheet and pop it into a 375 degree oven for about an hour or until it is very very soft. Let it cool completely, then remove the skin and mash the flesh.


44 Responses to Black Bean Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Bars

  1. Chickens May 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    Omg!!!I need to try this right now!!

  2. Julie February 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    These were great! I used a combination of carob and cacao powder. I also added a tablespoon of spirulina and it was fantastic! I baked them in muffin tin so they are easy to grab and go! Now to find a way to harness portion control!!! Excellent recipe!

    • Sarah February 10, 2016 at 8:12 am #

      Ha ha yes, portion control is key :-).

    • Mainey September 23, 2016 at 10:27 am #

      I LOVE the cup cake tin idea. How long did you bake them for in the tin ?

  3. Shelby December 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    These are great! I made them in cupcake pans and they’re little fudge tarts. Yum!

    • Sarah December 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      Great idea! Thanks!

  4. Jodie May 6, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    Can honey be used instead of the maple syrup?

    • Sarah May 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Probably! If you try it let me know how it turns out :-)

  5. Rachel March 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Yum! Not only vegan, but delicious and the beans and potatoes are undetectable.

    I was surprised when the sweet potato I bought was white inside, but it still worked. The skin made a good snack, toasted in the oven.

    I used homemade black beans, just measured 1 1/4 cups.

    • Sarah March 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      Sounds great! Good to know it works with homemade black beans and white sweet potato :-)

  6. Madelyn December 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    I have these baking now, but I tasted the batter before it went into the oven, and I think it was good enough to eat alone. So light and airy. Would have made a good chocolate mousse.

  7. France Morissette December 2, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    I love this twist on a brownie. The mashed sweet potato takes on the same roll of pumpkin puree without the pumpkin flavor! I love this!!

  8. vegetarianmamma (Cindy) November 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays Party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I can’t wait to see what you share next time!

  9. Lindsay November 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    You are correct. My kid DEFINITELY wants chocolate. Cannot wait to try this!

  10. celebbabylaundry November 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    Such a healthy and delicious way to have those chocolate brownies we love so much!

  11. Sharon November 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    So I made these tonight and they were good. I used a 19oz can of beans instead of 14 and increased the maple syrup content by a bit. Next time I will stick to the 14 oz can. And because I was taking them to a friends house for dessert I didn’t have time to chill them overnight so the consistency was a bit soft but no one guessed that there were black beans and sweet potato in there so overall a hit.

    • Sarah November 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      Excellent, glad you enjoyed them! If you make them again on a short turnaround, you might be able to put them in the freezer…

  12. Randa @ TBK November 23, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    I can’t wait to try these. I gives hives bad when I have wheat, so this is great. Sweet potato makes such a great sweetner! I made a chocolate pudding out of it, dates and cocoa once and it was delicious.

  13. Lillian November 23, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    ooh this really looks awesome! I will have to try it out sometime. Love how fudgy they look even with black bean in them!?

  14. Ladena November 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Really? No one will know sweet potatoes and beans are in these sweet treats? I MUST try them then. It would be great to get more veggies and beans in my kids’ tummies. Thanks for posting!

  15. Bonnie Way November 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    You had me at the title. I love brownies and sweet potatoes. I’ve made brownies with black beans and avocados before and they were amazing… love the fact that they’re healthy AND delicious. Off to try this out!!! :)

  16. Lauren November 22, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    These look delicious! I’m such a fan of beans in treats, so I am definitely pinning these to try soon! :-)

  17. Jess Meddows November 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Sarah, these look just amazing! I’m going to have to try them out… not for any of the small children around us, but for me! I might try and make them for Christmas at my family’s place in Australia and see how they go down without telling them the ingredients… 😉

  18. Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness November 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    That is such a smart and sneaky way of getting the good stuff into your kids!

  19. Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen November 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I’ve made healthy sweet potato brownies before, but never with black beans. Actually I’ve never tried making black bean brownies before at all. They intrigue me, but I’ve always been a bit skeptical as well. But if these pass the kid test, then I know they must be good! :)

  20. Anna (Hidden Ponies) November 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    This is amazing! Yup, my kids will always want chocolate (and actually, so will I :)). I love that these still look fudgy and delicious!

  21. Candice @ Everybody Loves Pretty November 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    These are so creative!!! So they taste just like a regular old brownie??? I must try these out!

  22. Jo-Anna November 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh these look great Sarah! I love that they contain healthy ingredients and no one would know they were there! Delicious! P.S. LOVE the kitschy socks!

  23. Wanda November 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    These sound and look divine! Hello from Wanda at!

  24. La Cuisine Helene November 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    I like to add black beans to brownies. My kids don’t know about it. Yum!

  25. ceecee November 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Love how fudgy these look!

  26. Yuliya November 21, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    These look delicious! I don’t eat many beans now that we’re paleo, but these look like a great, healthy alternative :) Definitely will be trying your recipe soon!


  27. Little Miss Kate November 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Oh these look like they would be a perfect snack to send to for lunch with DS.

  28. Bethany November 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    I get so nervous with parchment paper. If some hangs over the edge when I do the sling thing, is that ok? Or should I cut it so it fits in the pan perfectly? I always cut the parchment paper to fit the pan, but I understand the purpose here, and it seems that trimming would defeat it.

    • Sarah November 21, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Hi Bethany! Yes it’s ok if some hangs over the edge. In fact, it helps to lift the brownies over the pan. Sometimes you will want to cut it to fit, for example if you are lining the bottom of a springform pan or something.

  29. Sondi November 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Ooh, these look so good. I’ve made sweet potato brownies and black bean brownies before, but I’ve never use both in a recipe. I MUST try these.

    • Sarah November 21, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Right, Sondi? I set out to make sweet potato brownies and when it came time to figure out what “flour” to use I figured I’d just give the old black bean trick a try. And it worked! I hope you like them!

    • Sondi November 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      I made these this weekend and they are ah-MAZING. It took some mighty fine willpower to wait overnight for them to chill, but I persevered. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    • Sarah November 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      I’m glad you liked them Sondi!!! This is quite a compliment coming from you as I’m sure you’ve tried your share of vegan GF allergen free treats :-).

    • Sondi November 24, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      I may or may not have eaten half the pan by now. :) It’s SO nice to follow someone else’s recipe for a change! I love developing recipes, but sometimes you just want to make something that someone else has created successfully.

  30. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I have to try these (whenever I come across the word ‘fudge’ sourced from real food, it’s simply imperative 😀 ). I love baking with black beans and your ingredients are just gorgeous. Loving the socks on those little feet and your moody background in the main shot. All noticed :) great work.

    I hear you on the sugar addiction (and it lives in us all – kids are just more honest about their wants) — our approach was to offer dessert once a day after dinner and no ooey, gooeys during the day. It was simple, everyone understood it and we could all live by it. There was some blowback from lunchbox comparisons and the fact that our boys were the only kids in their class who didn’t get chocolate milk – I also had the ‘audace’ (as my eldest would say) to start a healthy lunch program at their school – talk about adding insult to injury :). Overall though, my sense was that the boys were ‘quietly’ proud that their mom took a stand and even felt a bit avant-garde with their hummus and homemade granola bars back in the day (this is over a decade ago!) :)

    • Sarah November 21, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      I like this approach, Kelly! I’m actually struggle with it quite a bit. My kid looks like a heroin addict when she eats treats…like honestly she has a crazed look in her eyes! And it makes me think that maybe I should be letting her dig in more often. Perhaps the novelty will wear off after awhile, lol.

      Look at you starting healthy lunch programs! And Jamie Oliver has the “audace” to take all the credit for the food revolution?! Pffffft!

  31. Meaghan November 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Love the photo with the little socks! So cute :)

    • Sarah November 21, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      You like that Meaghan? I think everybody thinks they are my kid’s feet. But they are mine! ha ha! I like me some kitschy socks :-). Thanks for your comment!

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