Over the years, I’ve dabbled with a variety of new-to-me foods: vegetables, fruits, grains, superfoods, and preparations. I’ve learned to love all the beans, figured out the best way to make tofu so it tastes good, and even started putting any manner of frozen vegetable in my healthy smoothies. Inspiring, right?
Except when it comes to beets.
I’ve tried them pickled, diced, sliced, hot, cold, with feta, without feta, and as juice. And I just cannot.
Seriously, they taste like dirt. Not in the way that vegetables fresh from the garden might have specks of dirt left on them after washing. No, beets legitimately taste like licking a playground.
However, I’m not one to give up! I don’t know what was going through my head on the day when I saw prepared beet juice in the store. Maybe it was the display, maybe I had just read an article about how beets can prevent death from a variety of causes, maybe I was just a tad crazy. But I bought it! And promptly put it in my fridge door, where it sat for a solid two months (thankfully it was a shelf-stable variety).
I remember reading that beet juice is particularly beneficial after hard workouts, so in my post-race delusion, I finally popped open that lonely bottle and poured myself a glass.
And it was AWFUL. I chugged it down, just to get it over with. Then, I immediately began recipe planning.
You see, I dislike wasting perfectly good food. My thought was that while beet juice might taste like pureed dirt when on its own, it might actually be ok in baked goods. Ridiculous, right?
No. Not ridiculous at all. Beet juice adds a moisture that water and milk (dairy or otherwise) can’t hold a candle to. I’ve heard of bakers using beet powder as a replacement for red food dye, particularly in red velvet desserts. And I had some leftover crock pot black beans in the freezer, waiting to be used.
Pair all of this with the Recipe Redux challenge this month, which asked us to develop a recipe that reduces food waste, in honor of Earth day.
Naturally, I thought of brownies! I know, that doesn’t seem totally natural. But have you ever had black bean brownies? Have you had red velvet cake? Do you see where I’m going here…
These brownies taste NOTHING LIKE black beans or beets!
They simply taste and look like a delightfully red brownie that’s chewy, sweet and full of chocolate flavor. And it just so happens that the chocolate comes from chocolate protein powder. So these are an absolutely viable breakfast option! No joke, one brownie has 3 grams protein and 2 grams fiber. They’re gluten free, vegan, low fat, and contain no dye whatsoever!
These were so good that Chris couldn’t identify any “strange” ingredients. I’ll call that a win.
For the record, since I opened this bottle and made these brownies, I have since found additional ways to consume beet juice without actually tasting it. My smoothie-matching series on Instagram might give it away – I love beet juice smoothies now!
Red Velvet Black Bean & Beet Protein Brownies, partially adapted from Vegan Richa
Makes 20 brownies
- 3/4 C ground oats (measure after you grind them)
- 1/2 C almond flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 scant tsp salt
- 3/4 C coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs
- 1/3 C vegan chocolate protein powder
- 2 tbsp flax seed meal
- 1/2 C prepared beet juice
- 3/4 C cooked black beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 C nondairy milk
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper, so the sides fold over the edges.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour through the flaxseed meal.
In the jug of your blender, combine the beet juice, beans, vanilla, and milk. Puree until completely blended. You don’t want to be able to see that there are black beans in it.
Pour the beet-bean puree into the dry ingredients, along with the melted coconut oil.
Stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. The batter will be thick – thicker than most brownie batters.
Scoop the batter into the prepared dish and press down into an even layer using your hands.
Bake at 350 for 25-27 minutes.
Remove and let cool completely before slicing into squares of your desired size. I cut mine into 20 brownies.
One more meme for good measure, courtesy of The Office: