Cohousing Recipes: Gluten-Free Brownies

In this third of four recipes, we get to the sweet stuff: dessert! As part of Joanne’s role as community meal prepper last week, she wanted to prepare items that reflected the diversity of food values and choices within the community. Being a self-described “meatatarian”, she is somewhat unaccustomed to preparing non-omnivore meals but she wanted to be respectful of her friends’ personal values and dietary requirements. The series is meant to showcase the respect and love we can show one another, simply by caring about what people can, and choose to eat in community.

Joanne says: I couldn’t ignore our friends with gluten allergies. I haven’t eaten very much gluten-free baking, but these brownies have a deep, rich chocolate taste. They are not only good gluten-free brownies; they are just plain old great brownies.

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

Black bean brownies
Photo courtesy of Mårten Persson on Flickr


  • 1 cup  canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Starch/Flour (couldn’t find it so I used rice flour)
  •  6 oz gluten-free semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mixed nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 8 inch pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler, stirring until smooth. Stir in sugar and then stir in eggs one at a time.
  3. Using a food processor, puree beans until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well (in the food processor) Add flour and mix until no longer grainy.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup nuts into batter and transfer to pan. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top.
  5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but brownies are still slightly fudgy in the center – about 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool before cutting.

Being Respectful: Food

As practice for living together in Prairie Spruce Commons, three families cook supper for everyone else once a month. Last week, it was my turn to help cook the community meal before our monthly meeting.

Thanksgiving Church Potluck
Photo courtesy of Lars Hammer on Flickr

First, it’s important I let you in on a secret: I was born and raised on a farm, a cattle farm. I knew from a young age where the meat came from on our table, and not to make pets out of the cattle in the pen. There was meat, potatoes and gravy for dinner and supper every day. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free were not a words our family was familiar with.

Since I’ve been married and had a son, I’ve rebelled against my strict meat-and-potato upbringing. What did my mother know? Some days, we have meat and pasta. Other days we have meat and rice. Occasionally we even have meat and bread. In retrospect, my mother must have known something: my husband and son actually cheer when I make a roast with potatoes and gravy.

So back to the community meal… When we joined the cohousing community, I knew some of our members were vegetarians and vegans. Some members are opting to follow a gluten-free diet. Being an omnivore verging on a meatatarian, these diet considerations are a bit out of my comfort zone. But I wanted to make an effort to show respect for their choices and dietary requirements. The next four blog posts are the recipes I choose to follow in my attempt to accommodate my friends and neighbours in community. I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes as much as we did.