I periodically spend time thinking about ways to hide veggies in most foods, and I’m always on the look-out for ideas. After looking into purees and the books that promote them, I decided that most of them were a lot of work for little vegetable content per serving in the finished product. While I applaud any efforts to get veggies into children, I felt like many of these recipes were too much work for too little results to be the main thrust of my efforts. Many of the published recipes I found only had 1/2 – 2 Tbs of puree per serving and the purees often have water added so you’re getting very little in the way of vegetables. Many of them showed a remarkable lack of variety or weren’t recipes acceptable for a traditional foods diet as they contained unsoaked flours, soy flour, or other undesirable ingredients. Many of the recipes used applesauce to replace the fat or a puree to replace the egg. While it is better than nothing, I felt like I could use different methods to achieve better results while keeping the recipes true to traditional foods. I decided for the most part that the recipes that didn’t try to hide the vegetable flavors but instead complimented them and recipes where the vegetable replaces the flour were good candidates. This is easily accomplished in many brownies, cakes, pies, blondies and even dishes such as custards and puddings. Even some cookies, ice creams and sherbets will work! For breakfast, many pancakes, waffles and other baked goods are a snap to convert, especially those with liquid batters.
By far, I feel the strategy of using vegetables to replace the flour in a recipe is the best way to get veggies into a recipe. Many gluten-free recipes contain bean flours, so using pureed beans to replace the flour while reducing the liquid works very well. It is possible to produce flourless recipes this way! And, by soaking and cooking the beans correctly, you make the recipe traditional food and you eliminate the gastric distress that comes with using unsoaked bean flours. In some of these recipes, adding extra eggs is possible, further increasing the nutrition. The beans increase the nutrition content while decreasing the carbs, so it is a wonderful strategy. Especially good for filling little bellies and keeping them full until the next meal.
This recipe, using black beans, is the first recipe I will post in this series. It is a plain, chocolate brownie. Cocoa powder covers the color of the black beans. For blondies, a white beans such as navy or cannellini work beautifully. In the coming weeks, I will post cakes, blondies, dressed-up brownies and more using this method.
½ cup rapadura
4 large eggs
3 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs coconut oil or butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 (14.5 ounce) can or 1½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.
Place the eggs, rapadura, cocoa powder, baking powder, coconut oil and vanilla in a blender or food processor and blend until well-combined. Add the beans and blend until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour into the pan and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.