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Beans … not just the magical fruit


OK, we’ve all heard the jokes — and that song — about beans.


Beans are usually pretty boring, right? That is when you’re not singing tooting-related songs about them. That’s definitely what I thought until the lovely Chef Julie Andrews made me chocolate and peanut butter brownies for my birthday. And what I didn’t know until I had already downed my first was that it had black beans in it instead of flour. That’s right. Beans inside the brownies. But it was amazing. It was so amazing that one of my colleagues at the Festival Foods support office in De Pere also requested the same treat for her birthday! Because of that feedback, Chef Julie and Festival Foods registered dietitian Lauren showcased the recipe on one of the Festival Foods’ Local 5 Live segments. And you don’t have to take my word for the deliciousness of the brownies. The recipe also won approval from my 7-year-old son who didn’t just eat it, he also wanted to know when Chef Julie would be sending more of them home with his mother! That’s right, a kid who liked eating a bean-based dessert. #Winning. Want to make it yourself? Here’s the recipe:

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients: ¾ cup dark chocolate chips, melted 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 egg ¼ cup canola oil ¼ cup maple syrup + 1 tsp. stevia or sugar ½ cup old fashioned oats 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder ½ tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. whole dark chocolate chips to sprinkle in 3 Tbsp. peanut butter, microwaved for 30-45 seconds until soft  


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine melted chocolate, black beans, eggs, canola oil, maple syrup/sweetener, oats, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to a food processor.  Process until really smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula as needed.
  3. Pour brownie batter into a greased 8×8 pan and spread evenly with spatula.  Sprinkle chocolate chips in to the batter and swirl in soft peanut butter with a knife.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out pretty clean. {If you want them really gooey, try not to cook them until a toothpick comes out completely clean; there should be a little bit of batter on the toothpick when you pull it out.}


And it doesn’t stop there. Beans aren’t just for dessert, no sir. They make great salads too. Festival Foods’ registered dietitian Stephanie and Lauren showcased their easy and tasty beet and white bean salad recipe on Local 5 Live and it’s just too good not to share here as well. Beets are filled with good-for-you antioxidants and beans have tons of fiber and protein so the dish is a nutrition powerhouse.


At the beginning of this segment, Stephanie and Lauren talked about the Canned Food Institute’s “Cans Get You Cooking” campaign. You can find more information about that here. The effort also is on Facebook here.

Beet & White Bean Salad



2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. sugar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper to taste  


1 (16 oz.) can whole beets, well drained and cut into bite sized pieces

1 (15 oz.) can white kidney beans (cannellini)

½ cup reduced-fat crumbled blue cheese

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Baby Arugula Leaves, optional

Directions: Prepare dressing: In small bowl combine cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and sugar. Gradually add olive oil until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Prepare Salad: In large bowl combine beets and white kidney beans; toss with dressing. To serve, place arugula leaves on platter or in serving bowl; top with beet mixture. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and walnuts. So there you have it! A great tasting, gluten-free appetizer and a tasty dessert, both packed with all the protein and vitamins of the magical fruit.

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