These chickpea blondies studded with chocolate chips are a naturally gluten-free, vegan and healthier spin on the traditional recipe. With a soft, gooey and fudgy texture, their richness is unparalleled for an “alternative” treat.
Made with garbanzo beans, coconut flour, peanut butter (or nut butter of choice), applesauce and maple syrup they come together in just minutes using a food processor.
And the best part – the raw batter is completely edible!
If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen me playing around with this chickpea blondie recipe for a couple weeks now.
Finally, it’s perfected and ready to share!
Sometimes, I nail a recipe on the first try. Other times, particularly with baking, it takes a few tries.
I can’t say, however, I truly minded with this recipe.
Polishing off excessive amounts of chickpea blondie bars wasn’t something either of us took issue with.
Especially because from the get go, these blondies were good. It was just small tweaks to get them to perfection.
The result is a gooey, rich blondie bar made with beans (of all things!) that’s naturally gluten-free and vegan yet so decadent you’d never in a million years realize they’re made with wholesome nutritious ingredients.
And, you can eat the batter.
If you never even make blondies out of it and just choose to enjoy some chickpea cookie dough batter instead, I won’t hold it against you.
I may have done the same with a batch or two.
CHICKPEAS IN BAKED GOODS
This was a thing almost a decade ago.
The whole “beans in baked goods” or as “faux cookie dough” was a major trend back in the days when I first started blogging.
Tofu was right up there with beans actually and I did capitalize on that trend with this healthy peanut butter cookie dough.
I don’t think I ever published an actual recipe using chickpeas (or any bean) in a dessert back then but I definitely tried it.
I remember being skeptical beforehand but a complete convert afterwards.
And here we are in 2021 where chickpeas are back.
Not sure TIME magazine will put them on its cover like butter or anything but hopefully I can convince you with this amazing chickpea blondie recipe that they can in fact have a very (delicious) place in baked goods.
HEALTHY CHICKPEA BLONDIE INGREDIENTS
I played around with the ingredients a bit with this recipe.
At first, I thought maybe I wanted to go completely flourless like I did with the paleo chocolate chip skillet cookie to get that incredibly gooey texture.
But in the end, a few tablespoons of coconut flour worked its way into the recipe.
I tried it with more and with less but the 3 tablespoons used seems to be the goldilocks amount.
It’s just enough to provide structure to the blondie without being too much to dry things out as coconut flour can do.
You’ll need the following to make these DECADENT chickpea blondie bars:
- canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- creamy peanut butter (or any nut butter – macadamia nut butter is a great substitute)
- unsweetened applesauce
- coconut flour
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- dark chocolate chips
- flaky sea salt (non-negotiable garnish on top – do NOT leave this off!)
That’s it – just 8 ingredients (none of which are weird btw!) stand between you and one of these addicting blondie bars.
Let’s get to how to make them!
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN CHICKPEA BLONDIES
First, preheat your oven to 350°F. Grab a baking dish of either 8″x8″ or something similar sized and line with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper overhangs the sides a bit.
I use a rectangular 9.5″x6″ baking dish from Crate and Barrel that I love for bars, brownies and all baked things like these blondies.
Combine all the ingredients for the blondies in a food processor except the chocolate chips and sea salt.
Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the food processor once or twice.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish making sure to get into the corners and smooth the top so it’s level.
Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top and gently press them into the batter a bit.
Bake for about 35 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the center of the blondies feels set to touch.
Remove from the oven. Gently lift the blondies out of the baking dish using the overhanging parchment paper and place on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes.
Garnish generously with the flaky sea salt.
Slice once cooled and enjoy!
SERVING AND STORING CHICKPEA BLONDIES
An 8×8″ or similar sized baking dish will give you about 8 good sized blondies.
They’re amazing slightly warm from the oven and majorly gooey when enjoyed this way.
However, they’re just as good chilled out of the refrigerator if storing leftovers.
In fact, they firm up a bit in the fridge and make an amazing topping crumbled over ice cream. It’s almost like cookie dough ice cream this way!
Another option for serving is placing a warm gooey chickpea blondie in a small bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle with melted chocolate and maybe some whipped coconut cream – you’ve got a vegan, gluten-free blondie ice cream sundae!
You can store leftover blondies in an air-tight container on the counter for up to 2 days or, keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The blondies can also be frozen for storage. In fact, they freeze well.
In an air-tight container or storage bag like a Stasher bag, they’ll keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
It’s helpful to separate the blondies with parchment paper so they don’t freeze together.
To enjoy, place in the refrigerator until thawed.
USING ANOTHER NUT BUTTER IN THESE CHICKPEA BLONDIES
In testing, I played around with a few different types of nut butters but ultimately, I preferred peanut butter the best.
If you like peanut butter cookies and their classic soft baked texture, you will love these peanut butter chickpea blondies.
That said, if peanuts are a no go for whatever reason, these blondies can be made with any all-natural creamy nut butter.
Make sure to choose a creamy nut butter that has no added ingredients, just the nut.
My favorite runner up is cashew butter for its classic cake batter like taste. It’s the base for these flourless cashew almond butter cookies and they’re outrageous.
If using almond butter, you may want to increase the maple syrup by 1-2 tablespoons. It just doesn’t have the same “sweetness” as cashews or peanuts.
Or, make your own! This maple roasted vanilla almond cashew butter would be a great option.
NUT-FREE CHICKPEA BLONDIES
For a nut-free version of this recipe, swap out the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter.
Trader Joe’s sells a very inexpensive version of this seed butter but brands like Sunbutter and 88 Acres are also good choices.
I find sunflower seed butter to be a very distinct taste and honestly, it’s not my favorite. Although, I do enjoy it mixed with chocolate as a sweet dip.
That said, however, many nut-free households embrace it for its 1:1 swapping abilities.
If you’ve ever had a baked good with sunflower seeds butter turn green on you, rest assured that won’t happen with these chickpea blondies if you use it since there is no baking soda or baking powder in the recipe.
The reaction is totally harmless (see FAQs here for more info) and the baked good still completely edible if you were concerned for other recipes.
WHAT DO BEAN BLONDIES TASTE LIKE?
If you’re new to the beans in dessert thing, I’m sure you’re reading this recipe as a skeptic.
I get it. I used to be in your shoes.
But, I promise and assure you the chickpeas are completely undetectable in taste in these blondies.
The taste is purely one of a decadent dessert, not a can of beans.
These blondies are the equivalent of a fudgy brownie in texture and a combination of peanut butter cookie dough, cake batter and a chocolate chip cookie in taste.
The flaky sea salt garnish gives them a salty sweet finish that’s completely crave-worthy and irresistible.
SWAPPING WHITE BEANS FOR CHICKPEAS
While these are technically called “chickpea blondies”, they’re actually quite flexible to any white bean.
Feel free to substitute cannellini beans or great northern beans for the chickpeas if needed. They work just as well.
The batter may even be a bit creamier if you decide to indulge in a few spoonfuls before baking!
EATING CHICKPEA BLONDIE BATTER
Like I mentioned, since this is a vegan recipe without any eggs, the batter can be enjoyed without worry.
If you decide not to bake into blondies, this chickpea batter can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten by the spoonful.
A healthy chickpea blondie batter, just as delicious as cookie dough!
MORE VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE DESSERTS:
And if you’re simply craving a brownie, we love these gluten free brownies. Hands down the best basic gluten-free dessert in a pinch!
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies
- 15 ounce can chickpeas garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter or any nut butter of choice – see note
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips + more for topping use vegan brand if necessary
- flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8"x8", 9"x6" or similar sized baking dish with parchment paper.
- Combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, applesauce, coconut flour, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides once or twice.
- Transfer the batter to a large bowl and add the chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
- Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish, smoothing into the corners and leveling the top. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips on top, gently pressing them into the batter.
- Bake for about 35 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown and blondies are set.
- Remove from oven then use the edges of the parchment paper to pick the blondies up out of the baking dish and set on a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Top generously with flaky sea salt, slice into bars and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.