Should You Sneak Beans Into Dessert?

Beans and sweets? Really?

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The Claim: Replacing white flour or oil with mashed canned beans can create better-for-you homemade treats that still taste great.

Oz Says: It sounds weird to put beans in your sweets, but this really works! "They have such a mild flavor that they disappear when combined with ingredients like coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate," says Holley Grainger, RD, a dietitian based in Birmingham, AL. "And they do a lot for the nutritional makeup of the dessert. Beans are full of protein, fiber, and iron, so along with cutting calories, they also keep blood sugar steady and help you feel satisfied for longer."

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Not every recipe is a winner, though, no matter what some blogger tells you. (Mashed chickpeas covered in chocolate do not taste like cookie dough bites.) But black beans in chocolate cake? Get out the can opener, and use Grainger's tips, below.

The Verdict: Try it

Sweet Bean Basics

To add legumes to desserts without anyone suspecting they're there, follow a few rules:

For dense, sweets, like brownies: Replace the flour with beans: Use a 15-ounce can of black beans (or cannellini if you're making blondies) per cup of flour. Rinse, drain, then puree for a moist, dense texture.

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For lighter treats, such as muffins and cookies: Substitute up to half the butter or oil with mashed black beans. (You need to leave in some of the original fat for these to still taste good.)

This story originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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