Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Brownies

by Kris on February 3, 2012

I have bad luck with red velvet cake. Last time I made it, I accidentally cooked it on broil which ended in a leathery soup. Not a good thing, unless you are a special effects person trying to create very realistic blood. Seriously, if you don’t believe me, give it a try!

I have learned a thing or two since last valentines day so I decided to revisit my cake nemesis. Although, I’ve also been trying to eat healthy. Cake in the house when you’re trying to stay fit is never a good situation. It usually ends with me sitting on the kitchen floor in my gym clothes stuffing handfuls of cake in my mouth. It’s not a pretty sight.

A few months ago I saw several recipes pop up online for healthy black bean brownies and chickpea blondies. This got me thinking about other possibilities. I figured if you could make beans taste like dessert, and disguise vegetables in baked goods, why can’t I make red velvet brownies with red kidney beans and beets?

I experimented quite a bit with this recipe and I’m very pleased with the results. The beans made the brownies rich, chewy and moist while the beets added that perfect crimson colour of red velvet cake. (Much better than using red food colouring, which can have negative health affects).

Now, when it came to ice my fudgy treat, I knew an ordinary icing wouldn’t do. What’s the point of making a healthy brownie if you drown it in unhealthy fat? I threw together a vegan cream cheese icing using tofu and cashews which turned out much better than I anticipated. Since I did add a moderate amount of sugar to the icing, I only drizzled the brownies with it.  Then ate the rest with a spoon.

These red velvet brownies are not only healthy, they’re low fat, a great source of fibre, high in protein, vegan, and gluten free!  They would be a perfect valentines treat for anyone’s sweetheart.

Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Brownies

  • 1 cup red kidney beans
  • ½ cup cooked beets
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup ground flax (I put ¼ cup of flax seeds in a clean coffee grinder and pulsed until smooth.)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree kidney beans and beets. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand until smooth and fully combined.

Fold batter into the greased pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning the pan halfway through.

When the brownies are done, test them with a toothpick. You want some batter to cling to the toothpick. Do not over bake.

Let cool completely. Refrigerate for one hour.

Cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make heart shapes.

Vegan Cream Cheese Icing
¼ Cup raw cashew pieces
3 Tbps. Soy milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Cup firm tofu, crumbled
¼ Tsp. salt
½ Cup margarine
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
3 Cups vegan friendly icing sugar

In a food processor, combine cashews, soy milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt and maple syrup. Pulse several minutes until it is a smooth, creamy texture. Add tofu crumbles and continue to pulse until thick and smooth.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add margarine and icing sugar. With an electric mixer, blend until combined and thickened.

Refrigerate at least one hour before icing brownies.

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