Two New Sweet Bean Dips: Chocolate Peanut Butter Black Bean Dip, and Cinnamon Spiced Adzuki Bean Dip

by Gena on May 16, 2012

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I know what you’re all thinking, so I’ll just say it for you: there is no flattering way to photograph two brown colored bean dips. Fact.

Hopefully, the title of this post is enticing you even as you snicker at the image. Two creamy, super healthy bean dips: black bean chocolate and peanut butter dip, and sweet cinnamon adzuki bean dip. Both are unexpected, yet delightful spins on the notion of “hummus”—sweet variations on the theme. Both present you with a more nutrient dense and lower fat alternative to almond butter or peanut butter, if you’re looking for a new sandwich filling, oat topper, or something to dip fresh fruit in. Both are inexpensive, quick to make, and feature a short list of ingredients. It took me a while to discover sweet bean dips, but now that I have, there’s no going back.

The adzuki bean dip is a close cousin of my recent sweet cinnamon spiced kidney bean spread.

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A lot of you loved the idea of this recipe, but to my surprise, a lot of you were put off by the idea of using kidney beans, and said you wanted to try it with either chickpeas or adzuki beans instead. While I do love me some kidney beans—they’re fantastic sources of lots of minerals, including manganese, molybendum, and iron—I also adore most all beans, and adzuki beans are a special favorite. Adzuki beans, which are native to east Asia and the Himalayas, are small, red/brown in color, and they’re often used in sweet, dessert-like applications. More interesting still, these beans are relatively high in zinc (1 serving gives you 25% of your RDA), which is sometimes tricky to source in a vegan diet; oysters, meat, and scallops are often presented as the richest sources, though all vegans should take note that pumpkin seeds, peanuts, crimini mushrooms, sesame seeds, and adzuki beans are all very good sources.

So is dark chocolate. What a burden for us all.

Anyway, I’m delighted to be presenting a very similar recipe to my sweet kidney bean spread, this time with adzuki beans as the main star. This dip is absolutely scrumptious, and I love the addition of sunflower seed butter; if you can get your hands on it, it really does have a different taste than other nut butters!

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Cinnamon Spiced Adzuki Bean Dip (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 4

2 cups adzuki beans, cooked at home or canned
4 pitted dates (more if you want it sweeter), soaked 4+ hours and drained of water
1 heaping tbsp sunflower seed butter (peanut, cashew, or almond butter will also work!)
1 tbsp mellow white miso or 1/8 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients except for water in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse to combine, and then run the motor. Drizzle in water until the dip is super smooth; you may need  a few tablespoons extra water as you go along.

Absolutely delicious. A bit of this on Ezekiel toast or a rice cake with sliced pear is just about my idea of a heavenly snack!

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The other sweet bean dip I experimented with this week was a black bean dip with chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t think I need to say much more, do I?

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Black Bean Spread (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 4

2 cups black beans, cooked at home or canned
6 pitted dates (more if you want it sweeter), soaked 4+ hours and drained of water
2 tbsp peanut butter (cashew or almond butter will also work!)
2 heaping tbsp raw cacao
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients except for water in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse to combine, and then run the motor. Drizzle in water until the dip is super smooth; you may need  a few tablespoons extra water as you go along.

I have a slight preference for the cinnamon spread, only because I’m a veritable cinnamon junkie. But this dip is also stupendously tasty, and once again, it’s a really nice way to enjoy something that’s reminiscent of peanut butter, but invested with all of the nutrient density and deliciousness of legumes.

Side by side:

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Hope these dips give you all a great sense of the possibilities for bean dip—it’s not just a savory dish!

So, there was lots of interesting feedback on my review of Thrive Foods Direct yesterday! To all of you who expressed hesitation/frustration with the cost: I hear you. As I said in my review, I wouldn’t be able to use the service myself, but I’m presenting it as an option for those who would spend equivalent or more money on hotel food or on a non-vegan meal delivery service. That may not describe many of us, but it does describe some!

To Elizabeth, who inquired about the meal plans presented on the Vega website (you can peek at them here): I agree. Too low calorie, especially when presented for those who are unusually athletic, or in training for a race or competition. To me, “Vega fruit dip (slices of apple, banana, orange), 1/3 serving Natural Vega, 1/3 serving” is a snack, not lunch, so perhaps the meals are meant to be supplemented with other foods! I’d be curious to hear if you get a response to your query. (Edited to add: Brendan responded to this yesterday by mentioning that meals are customizable to suit individual caloric needs; check out yesterday’s post to see his response if you are curios about this!)

And to those of you who asked about lower-cost vegan/raw protein powders and supplements: oh, you are in luck. I have a new protein powder round up post coming soon, full of my take on nutrition, cost, and quality. And that’ll happen as soon as I’m back in DC, with my beloved Vitamix.

Speaking of which, it’s time to meet a friend for a drink at Temple Bar in NYC. It’s good to be home.

xo

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Averie Cooks May 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I admit, I’m not one for the beans-imitating-desserts craze or movement (well I shouldn’t knock it because I haven’t tried it…) But…if I was going to do beans with my chocolate, chocolate and PB is a must-try!

These look really lovely, Gena! I wish I could taste-test a bite right off the screen :)

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Maria @ Scandifoodie May 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I love adzuki beans!! Both of these sound so good!

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bitt May 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

still don’t know if I can get into the bean sweet dip thing, but you are making it look slightly more appealing.

I have to say that I get annoyed so many bloggers who push vega all the time and I am not sure if they are getting all their vega products paid for by the company or not. would they really buy them on their own? yes it’s a vegan company with a great philosophy, but there are so many more reasonably priced protein powders out there. perhaps not as many vitamins in them, but that very thing also makes it more difficult for people who are trying to avoid certain things.

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Abby May 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I have to admit that I’m also not really on board with beans as a dessert idea simply because I prefer them savory and my desserts to be more “traditional,” but that could also be because I’ve never tried it myself.

As for meal plans, this is unpopular, but I’m over ANYone giving out blanket meal plans. It seems like they’re popping up everywhere, and unfortunately, all seem very restrictive and low-calorie. While that might work for some people, it’s frustrating for those of us who have goals of gaining health and not losing weight. Then again, to each their own!

(And while there might not be an attractive way to photograph brown dips, in this case, your words are just as powerful. Yum!)

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Gena May 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Abby,

Having spent 2+ years trying to gain more rapidly, I totally sympathize. And I also think it’s really unfair to suggest to the public that 1450 calories is a normal, healthy amount, when in fact it’s at least somewhat low by most standards.

At least these are whole foods plans — not liquid diets. Thankful for small things?

xo

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Ela May 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m so glad to see your sense of humor popping back out–you are one funny woman when the elephant gets off your back!

It didn’t even cross my mind until your initial sentence–both those dips look and sound very enticing to me. What is the first-case “butter” for the second recipe?

And dang it, I’ve been promising a protein powder round-up soon too (Vega’s way too pricy for me too, plus the rice protein powder in it doesn’t agree with me well)–I need to get on that! Curious how much we agree with each other.
love
Ela

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Mary Legare Whaley May 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I’m obsessed with bean desserts—who would’ve thought they would make such a creamy base? I use white beans or black beans to make blondies and brownies…at least once a week. I use peanut flour instead of peanut butter, applesauce instead of oil, stevia in place of sugar. Add some dark cocoa powder or cinnamon and you’ve got the best non-guilty dessert ever! Love these recipes, I’ll give them a try for sure. =)

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Gena May 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Agreed!

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Eric May 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Dessert bean dips are such a foreign idea to me! I need a sec to wrap my head around them.
I’m very much looking forward to your protein powder post!

I really love your blog Gena! I check it at least twice a day and have love the recipes I’ve tried. Thank you!

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Gena May 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Thanks, Eric! A lot of my male readers don’t comment, so it’s nice that you said hello :)

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Hannah May 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

These sound really good, actually! A very creative way to get in legumes – sometimes I get bored eating them plain. I wonder how the latter one matches up to dark chocolate dreams from pb+co. ;-)

I do like some of Vega’s stuff (the vibrancy bars are yummy), especially the new recover protein bar – but I agree, it’s just so expensive. Like, 50-70 bucks for a jar of protein powder?! I can’t wait to read your post coming up about protein powders. I have had THE worst luck with them – I got a brown rice vanilla one last summer and it was wretched. Just bad, bad, bad. I want to keep trying others but not spend $20 to $30 just to taste something horrid. Hopefully your post will help enlighten us lol!

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Gena May 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I look forward, Hannah! I’ve had hits and misses, too.

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HC May 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I have never thought of using chocolate or peanut butter in bean dip! That is a great idea and I’m definitely going to try this. After all, there’s chocolate brownie using beans! A great way to get your protein for the day! Thanks!

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Jenny H May 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hi, Gena! I grew up eating mochi (Japanese sticky rice dessert) filled with azuki bean paste, usually on special occasions, and these flavors sound really tasty! I love that you list the nutritional (and cost) benefits, and using dates instead of a ton of sugar sounds even better! I can’t wait until I pick up some azuki beans at the market so I can try your recipes. (and try the chocolate-peanut butter spread on a big, juicy strawberry…I bet you’ll like it!)

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williamrandolphflearst May 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Those look like straight poop. But I will consider trying them.

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Fiona May 17, 2012 at 12:44 am

I LOVE sweet bean dips and these look so incredibly amazing! These are on my to-make list, along with your Brazil nut cheese! I hope you’re enjoying your time off!

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Ulya May 17, 2012 at 1:41 am

Oh, I’m really afraid to try this! But I’ve chocolate chickpea deep dish pie in the past, and this cannot be worse, really. So, thanks for posting!

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Lauren (@poweredbypb) May 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

These both look amazing, I am definitely going to try them out!

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Brian May 17, 2012 at 5:35 am

Jenny beat me to it, re: bean paste commonly used in various Asian desserts, which I’ve had on many occasions (probably not vegan nor very healthy) but love nonetheless & it’s awesome that you have presented a much healthier version thats vegan to boot. You see, I’ve been telling my sweetie for months now that I was going to find a vegan version of this bean paste & voila, you posted one! I personally likeGarden of Life Raw Protein protein powder. It’s cheaper than Vega & from what I can tell just as healthy.

Thanks for your tireless blogging, surely you’ve helped many on several fronts.

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles May 17, 2012 at 6:47 am

Yum, I love hummus but I had never thought of using other beans and flavors. I love your little nutritional nuggets with your recipes!

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alyce May 17, 2012 at 8:29 am

I’m definitely looking forward to trying the cinnamon adzuki in place of peanut butter in sandwiches!

and i look forward to the protein powder post- i was literally just playing the amazon cart game this morning with them. put raw powder in. balk at the price, take it out. reconsider and put it back in. haha- so perfect timing there.

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Leslie @ healthybybalance May 17, 2012 at 8:49 am

I thought you did a great idea with the pics…I laughed when I read that. I was just try to photograph some flaxseed muffins. Not cute at all! I love the idea of the beans in the desserts. A great way to add nutrients and a good texture for any dip. And you can make a bean taste like just about anything! I can’t wait to try these. I pinned them so I won’t forget!

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Skye May 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

Mmm, these sound really good! And despite the brown color, they actually look creamy and delicious in your photos. :)

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janet @ the taste space May 17, 2012 at 11:44 am

These look positively scrumptious, Gena. I was thinking of packing some bars to go on vacation but these dips so good and more adaptable to adding to veggies like cucumber or something. ;)

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Audrey May 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I tried the cinnamon spiced sweet kidney bean dip and loved it! So yummy. I actually liked it better than any other bean desserts that I’ve tried (chickpea blondies, black bean brownies). Something about baking those changes them a lot, even when the batter tastes scrumptious. So I love your idea of just eating them as a dip! I ate the kidney bean one on apples, pears, and rice cakes. It’s a really fun snack! I’m looking forward to trying these recipes. I also want to experiment (or maybe you want to???) with developing a speculoos flavored bean dip. I think all it would take is white beans of some kind (or chickpeas, maybe), cinnamon, cloves, maybe molasess, some nut butter (maybe almond), salt, dates…I can’t wait to try it out! :)

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Audrey May 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Whoops! *molasses*

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Ali May 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Haha you are so cute!! I think trying to take pictures of macaroons are similar, it just kinda looks like, well you know. Perhaps you could add cinnamon to the chocolate peanut butter one? Then it would have the best of all worlds!

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Archie May 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Just a minor point concerning all the talk about “getting legumes” into a dip. Peanuts ARE legumes. :-)

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Candice May 20, 2012 at 6:58 am

I just made the chocolate pb black bean dip. OMG, it tastes like brownie batter. I had to stop myself from eating it all right now. Even my husband loves it. My plan is to put it in my oatmeal for breakfast this week. I cannot wait to try more dips like this. Thanks, Gena!

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Gena May 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

So glad you liked it!!

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RC June 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The aduki cinnamon dip is so great. I am gluten-free so I topped Mary’s Gone Crackers GF crispy crackers with a very thin slice of tart apple and a smear of dip. Took it for appetizers to a get-together and everybody swooned. Something different, delicious and healthy – how can you beat that? :-)
Thank you for such original recipes.

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hannah October 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

This looks wonderful! how would you recommend tweaking this for mung beans?

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Lois October 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm

These look delicious and my picky gluten intolerant 16-year-old might even like either or both. She has so many allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, and dislikes I am thankful for every new idea for feeding her. Thanks!
As an added bonus, someone gave me some adzuki beans yesterday, because she will be away for three months and doesn’t eat many anyway.

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sproutingtheword November 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

I love the spiced adzuki bean!

I’ve made this many times, sometimes with a walnut/cashew butter other times without and it still tastes great. Have also used chickpea miso (not sure where that ranks on the flavour scale – I find only soy misos are rated!).

Highly recommend folks try this – great way to introduce people to new beans.

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