Gluten-free doesn’t have to be expensive.
I got an e-mail from a reader a couple of weeks ago about her journey as she begins to go gluten-free, but on a budget. I’d been to Whole Foods earlier that day and spent $32 on 2 bottles of agave, 3 bags of gluten-free flour, and about a pound of unsweetened carob chips. This reader’s e-mail really made me think about the cost of eating gluten-free. I don’t keep up with the price of flour and sugar but my best guess is that you could buy the the same amount for about $8, maybe less.
There was a time when I didn’t have $32 to spend on agave and gluten-free flours. Part of what I want to do is to give people budget-friendlier ideas for sugar-free, gluten-free cooking. So, after a little research, I decided to re-work a recipe that’s been around the block a few times. Black beans are much more accessible than gluten-free flours. And, it’s a little easier on the wallet, a little healthier, and absolutely delicious.
The total cost of making these brownies is just under $5, with the biggest expense being the unsweetened chocolate. Ghiradelli is $2 for 4 ounces – I’ve tried Baker’s Chocolate, which is about $2 for 8 ounces, but it doesn’t give me the deep chocolate flavor I want. If you make these using cocoa powder, let me know how it turns out. I haven’t tried that yet. Adding the banana not only reduced the fat but also increased the sweetness so the batter didn’t need as much agave.
I sent these moist, rich brownies to work with Joe and they ate them all. When I asked him if he told them they were made from black beans he just smiled and shook his head, “Absolutely not. No one even suspected it.” That’s my husband.
I’m going to keep playing around with similar concepts and see what I come up with.
How do you stretch your dollar in the kitchen?
Slightly Indulgent Mondays, my new blog carnival with prizes featuring fabulous food made a little bit healthier, starts on Monday, August 31st. McLinky will be up at 9 pm CST the Sunday night before. Please join in – you don’t have to post a sugar-free or gluten-free recipe – everyone is welcome to participate.
If you eat white sugar, check out Lucy’s Kitchen for her version. Or, stop by Have Cake, Will Travel for vegan black bean brownies.
Serves: 24 brownies
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons instant decaffeinated coffee
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 very ripe frozen banana, thawed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 extra large eggs
- ⅓ cup agave nectar
- 2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped and divided
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Spray pan and paper with oil.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a large, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1½ - 2 minutes and then stir t0 melt completely. Stir in instant coffee and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
- Make sure that your black beans have been well-rinsed and drained. Fit a food processor with a steel blade, add beans, banana, vanilla extract and one egg. Process until completely smooth, about 2 - 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add chocolate mixture and process again until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, place remaining 3 eggs and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 -2 minutes. Add agave and mix for another 1 -2 minutes, until light. Put bean mixture into bowl with eggs and mix on medium thoroughly incorporated. Mix in 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with remaining walnuts.
- Bake for 25 - 35 minutes until a toothpick clears the center. Let brownies cool before cutting them. Store in refrigerator.