Black Bean Brownies


2 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained
5 Medjool or 10 Deglet Noor dates, pitted
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract (or pure vanilla bean powder)
½ cup natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground chia seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Combine the black beans, dates, almond butter and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again.

2. Spread into an 8-by-8 inch baking pan that is lined with parchment paper (or use a silicone pan). Bake for 1½ hours.

3. Cool completely and apply topping if desired. Cut into 12 squares. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Serves 12

Optional topping:
1 ripe avocado
½ cup water
4 tablespoons natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder
3 Medjool dates or 5 Deglet Noor dates, pitted
splash vanilla extract

Blend topping ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.