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Necessity is the mother of delicious food

November 09, 2011   |   by Rachel

So back in July Jared and I read a book that changed our diet in a pretty radical way.  As of July we eat a whole-foods plant-based diet.  To flesh that out a bit what that means is that we eat only foods that come from plants, no milk, eggs, meat, etc…  But it also means that we eat mostly whole foods.  For example, we would eat beets but not beet sugar, olives but no olive oil, flour but only whole grain.  The whole foods part of our diet I fudge on a bit, but I try to stick with the basic idea for 90% of our calories. Anyway, as a mom, this change was S-C-A-R-Y!  All of a sudden I felt like the part of my job as a mom, the dinner creating part, was about to get 1000 times harder.  I had no idea how to cook this food or what to make.  Plus, I felt like I had to make delicious food from the get-go to make sure that our kids didn't resent the change.  Thankfully we made the change when there was an abundance produce in season. So here we are 4 months in.  Looking back I wish that I could have calmed the Rachel of 4 months ago.  This change has been a lot easier that I expected.  With the help of some high quality recipe books we've been eating like kings.  I fancy myself decent in the kitchen.  But in the past I was always running into that classic problem of recipe rut.  You know the deal.  I was making the same stuff over and over because I couldn't think of what else to make or I was too lazy to plan something different.  It's been amazing how having such strict limits has really opened up a world of recipes that I never would have discovered. It is so true that limits promote creativity so much more than unlimited freedom does.  With the limits that we've chosen I've tried things that I'd have never tried before.  I've been experimenting with desserts lately.  In preparation for the holidays I want to have some dessert options available for my kids for the times when other desserts are served.  I tried this one last night and was amazed.  It is delicious.  To be honest it's not quite Ghirardelli box brownie level, but it's surprisingly good.  And it doesn't have the downsides of sugar and oil.

So Yummy (mostly) Whole-Food Brownies

1 can no-salt black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/4 cup date paste (or you can make it by pureeing dates and boiling water)

2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1/2 tsp carmel extract (optional)

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder (I get this at Meijer in the baking isle in the "healthy" section)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup oat flour or barley flour (you could probably get this at Meijer too in the Bob's Red Mill grain section.)

3/4 cup grain sweetened carob chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor puree the date paste and black beans.  Puree until smooth.  Add the flaxseeds, vanilla, carmel, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder.  Process for 30 seconds until smooth.  Add the flour and process for 5-10 seconds until just mixed.  Fold in the carob chips.  Pour batter into an 8x8 inch baking dish and sprinkle the nuts over the top.  Press the nuts into the top a bit.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Dale did not mind testing the brownies for lunch today.

Posted in: awesomestdale



those look great, rach! i've been doing a ton of experimenting the past few months, too. dates are a huge help for desserts - they're so sweet and wonderful. wish we could get together and share some recipes. :)


Looks and sounds great!


fun! finally getting to this recipe making!!! thanks again :)