Cocoa Black Bean Brownies (Heart-Healthy)

A rich, moist dessert with few of the typical brownie ingredients.

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the world? Women with PCOS commonly experience metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of developing heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions including elevated triglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol, low “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and increased belly fat.

Fortunately, each day most of us can help decrease our risk of developing heart disease. Nutritional intake is important with some evidence suggesting to decrease saturated fats and other evidence to decrease trans fats. Decreasing salt intake is also recommended while increasing phytonutrient, fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables. Secondly, regular exercise can reduce body weight, blood pressure, “bad ” cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and related conditions. Finally, quitting smoking is the single greatest change one can make to improve their heart and overall health.

You may be wondering where brownies fit into a heart-healthy lifestyle. Surprisingly, these delicious, fudgy treats are primarily made from black beans and unsweetened cocoa powder! Carry on to find out how these two ingredients can make a crowd-pleasing dessert that can support a healthy heart. PS. The trick is to not reveal the ingredients until AFTER your loved ones have tried the brownies. I promise they will be shocked. I would love to hear what you do to protect your heart!

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried black beans (must pre-soak and boil)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (>75% real cocoa)

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Blend all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into an 8×8 pan pre-greased with olive oil.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes being careful not to overcook as this could dry them out.
  6. Let brownies cool before cutting. I popped these in the freezer to firm up even more.

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

PCOS Powers:

  • black beans = high in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients which help lower blood pressure, manage blood sugar levels and prevent cardiovascular disease, contains several flavonoids including quercetin which is anti-inflammatory and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
  • unsweetened cocoa powder = supports the cardiovascular system by enhancing vascular function and decreasing platelet reactivity, may help improve cholesterol levels, been shown to improve cognitive function, insulin resistance and blood pressure

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Blackberry Nice Cream (Dairy-Free, High Protein)

Dairy-free, high-protein ice cream free of animal products.

Did you know you can make your own ice cream with only a couple ingredients, none of which contain dairy? I love the texture and temperature of ice cream but would prefer to skip the animal products. This is precisely why I call it “nice” cream: cruelty-free and full of compassion. It was also quite cheap as I picked these blackberries off the side of the road (I love the bountiful berries come summertime in BC!).

Blackberry Banana Nice Cream Vegan

Cow’s milk contains insulin-like growth factor-1 which may increase the risk of breast cancer. It can also spike insulin levels contributing to inflammation and acne, especially in women with PCOS. Plus, studies have shown milk consumption doesn’t actually decrease the risk of osteoporosis and may actually rob our bones of calcium due to its acidity. So give this non-dairy cold dessert (or breakfast) option a try and let me know your thoughts!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 frozen bananas
  • 10 frozen blackberries (organic)
  • 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (organic, non-GMO)
  • ice to thicken
  • toppings of choice

How to:

  1. Peel and chop bananas the day before (or longer) and freeze in tupperware or plastic bags along with the blackberries.
  2. Remove frozen bananas and blackberries from freezer and blend in food processor with protein powder and ice. You can add liquid if it isn’t blending well but limit liquid for a thick consistency.
  3. Add toppings like fruit or nuts and enjoy before your nice cream melts!

Blackberry Protein Nice Cream - Vegan

PCOS Powers:

  • blackberries = high in fiber which may help to manage blood glucose levels, a low glycemic fruit, contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and others which can help fight inflammation, neurological diseases and cancer
  • plant-based protein powder =  may help decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
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Blackberry Nice Cream (Vegan, low-glycemic, dairy-free)

Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences and knowledge obtained through lived experience and during my doctoral degree (PhD). However, I am not a medical doctor. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Nutritional and supplemental choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition and lifestyle are important and often overlooked aspects of health. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.