I’m 100% guilty of sneaking healthy food in places it doesn’t “belong.” Tofu ice cream, anyone? My family kinda knows by now that if I offer up something sweet, they better just try it before asking any questions. So far, it’s worked out well – why stop eating a perfectly good cupcake just because there’s beans in it? So I was pretty stoked when the hubby started raving about some fudgesicles I whipped up, before I even got a chance to say anything about them. Not that I would have spilled the beans. Pun intended.

Black beans, white beans, chickpeas – these are staples I always keep around for quick and easy meals. Just the other day I instagram-ed a white bean and artichoke salad I quickly threw together and which became dinner for a couple nights with simple grilled protein.

But beans are not just for salads. They’re necessary for chili, rice ‘n beans, burritos and during a sultry summer they make their way into popsicles.

Yep, I said popsicles. It’s not that un-imagineable since I’ve baked brownies with beans and my friend Ricki makes fudge out of them.  This recipe for black bean fudge pops comes courtesy of Kathy Hester in her new book, The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! – Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes!.

Pictures copyright 2013 Renee Comet

You might know Kathy from her plant-based, healthy food blog, Healthy Slow Cooking. A couple years ago, I got to review her first book. The Vegan Slow Cooker, and the eggplant casserole recipe remains one of our favorites to this day. Now that I can only scrape together a few short minutes to myself each day, I’m psyched that Kathy offered me up this super simple dessert recipe to share with you. The fact that it hides beans in dessert makes it even more cool in my book, and I also love that it has healthy fat derived coconut and zero refined sugar. These are the kind of pops I’ll feel awesome about feeding my kid, as soon as she can ask for them!

I’ve made these fudge pops twice, and I’m sure I’ll be making them again and again. I had to add a little stevia to adjust the sweetness to our liking, but other than that they are pretty stellar. The second time I made them, I added a few drops of peppermint extract too, ’cause there’s hardly a cooler combo than mint and chocolate on a hot summer night.

If you prefer your beans where you can see them, Kathy has you covered. Asian Black Soybean Slaw, Salsa Quinoa Salad, and Don’t Be Crabby Cakes all sound like fantastic summer fare. There’s also a Cashew-Bean Queso that I think will be perfect for football season, with some soy chorizo mixed in, as a dip or nacho topping. You can thank Renee Comet for all the pretty pictures as well.

To preview more of the recipes in this collection, visit The Great Vegan Bean Blog Tour, where you’ll find links to other bloggers’ sharing Kathy’s innovative, healthy vegan bean recipes.

If you’d like your own copy of The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester, you’re in luck – we’re giving one away!

Simply do any or all of the following and leave a separate comment for each entry.

1. Tell me about your favorite bean recipe.

2. Follow Cara’s Cravings and/or Healthy Slow Cooking on Facebook (tell me if you already do!)

3. Spread the word about this great new book by sharing this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest!

The contest will close on Friday, July 5th at midnight EST. Winners will be contacted via email. You must reside in the US or Canada.

Disclaimer: The cookbook was provided to me for free to review. I was not paid for this review.

Additionally, I am sharing this recipe with the Great Big Gluten Free BBQ Event over at Franny Cakes blog. Packed in an insulated cooler, these pops will travel well and offer up a cool end to any summer gathering. Hop on over for more must-have gluten-free summer fare!

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Yield: 6-9, depending on popsicle mold size

These vegan fudge pops are soy-free, gluten-free and oil-free, and taste just like your childhood favorite.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (258 g) cooked black beans or 1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g), rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces, or 400 ml) light coconut milk
¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons (60 g) agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A few drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste
A few drops peppermint extract

Directions:

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. There will be some black flecks from the black bean skins. I think they look like chocolate flecks, but you can strain the mixture through a cheesecloth if you like. Fill your frozen pop molds about seven eighths full of the mixture. Freeze for several hours or overnight before serving.

Reprinted with permission from The Great Vegan Bean Book, Kathy Hester.