Have we got a healthy—and delicious—brownie for you. You can indulge your sweet tooth at that same time that you get plenty of nutrients. That’s because this brownie is made from real foods, such as dates (for sweetness and potassium) and beans (for fiber). It uses cacao, or cocoa powder, which contains flavanols, anti-inflammatory plant compounds. The recipe for Real-Food Brownies was created by Jonny Bowden, CNS, and Jeannette Bessinger, authors of The Healthiest Meals on Earth (Fair Winds).


1¼ cups (about 10 ounces) pitted dates (such as Deglet Noor dates)

9 Tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder

¼ cup macadamia nut oil

½ cup raw honey

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4 eggs

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure dates into a liquid measuring cup, and pour in hot water to the 1½-cup line, turning the dates over until the water reaches all the dates. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Pour off and discard one-quarter cup of the liquid, and process the remaining liquid and dates in a blender or food processor until a smooth paste forms.

Put the date paste into a large bowl, and add the cacao or cocoa powder, oil and honey, mixing well. Combine the beans and eggs in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add the bean mixture to the date mixture, stirring well. Add the baking powder and cinnamon. Stir. Pour the batter into a 9-x-13-inch nonstick pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes.

Nutritional Content (amount per serving based on an 18-serving batch of brownies): 133 calories…2.5 grams (g) protein…4 g total fat…0.6 g saturated fat…2 g polyunsaturated fat…25 g carbohydrate…16 g sugar.

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