Stack of Fudgy Vegan Turtle Brownies made with black beans
4.91 from 50 votes

Refined-Sugar-Free Turtle Brownies (GF)

Fudgy black bean brownies made in a food processor. Entirely naturally sweetened, swirled with date caramel and pecans. A sneaky vegan, gluten-free dessert.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 11 (brownies)
Category: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 1 15-oz can black beans (well rinsed + drained // 1 15-oz can yields ~ 1 1/2 cups drained)
  • 2 batches flax eggs (2 Tbsp (14 g) flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp (75 ml) water as original recipe is written)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (melted // or sub other oil of choice)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more for topping)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw pecans (plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut (plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I like Trader Joe’s brand // plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 cup date caramel*


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), and lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan (not mini). Make sure you've rinsed and thoroughly drained your black beans at this point.
  2. Prepare flax eggs by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (besides pecans, date caramel, coconut and chocolate chips) and puree - about 1-2 minutes - scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth.
  4. Add pecans, coconut and chocolate chips and pulse to combine
  5. Add the batter to the prepared muffin tin (mine only filled 11) and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger. Then add 1 tsp date caramel to each brownie and carefully swirl with a toothpick or knife.
  6. Top with remaining coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips. Then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the tin. I found mine took about 29 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so gently run a knife around the sides, and then lift out with a fork.
  8. The insides are meant to be fudgy, so don't be concerned if they seem too moist. Enjoy with additional date caramel (optional, if desired). They would also be delicious with Coconut Whipped Cream, or Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream!
  9. Store completely cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to a few days. Will keep in the freezer up to 1 month.


*If you’d rather not make date caramel (tutorial here), simply substitute finely minced dates.
*Recipe very closely adapted from my Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with all toppings.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 11 brownies)