A rich and creamy healthy chocolate smoothie loaded with protein thanks to a secret ingredient that you totally can't taste - beans! It's like a chocolate protein shake but made without any weird ingredients. Naturally sweetened with just banana and dates, this bean smoothie is totally vegan and dairy-free, and I promise it's delicious!
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Whether you've been here for a while or you're brand new, I want you to do something for me.
Close your eyes.
Cross your arms across your chest.
Let your body fall backwards.
I promise I'll catch you.
That's right my friends, we're doing trust falls today. Trust falls right into putting beans in your smoothies, and I promise that I'll catch you.
I'm sorry, did you say bean smoothie?
Yes, friends, I did. Bean smoothie! Black bean smoothie! Chocolate black bean smoothie! It's like a chocolate protein shake, but without any weird stuff in it.
Unless of course you consider putting beans in your smoothies weird, and then I guess it has weird stuff in it. I'm ok with it!
I like to call this my Chocolate Black Bean Brownie Smoothie. It tastes like you're drinking a brownie, but is so delicious you won't even believe it. You're gonna need the following:
- Black beans --> Yes my friends, this is a bean smoothie going down.
- Banana --> Preferably frozen.
- Cauliflower --> Preferably frozen.
- Dates --> Medjool is where it's at.
- Hemp seeds --> For extra protein.
- Cocoa powder --> Helllloooo chocolate!
- Cinnamon --> Just a pinch
- Plant-based milk --> Oat milk is my jam, but you do you.
You're going to need a blender to make your smoothie, that's just how it is.
I've made this smoothie in a variety of blenders ranging from not that fancy to very fancy, and the main difference is the smoothness of the drink. If you have a less powerful bender you may find a few chunks of cauliflower or dates left behind, but that's not a big deal.
Until recently I was using this blender, which is a total workhorse, but I've since upgraded to this blender, which I looooove.
Can you taste the beans?
This is a bean smoothie, but I promise you can not taste the beans. They just blend up creamy and delicious and are totally disguised by the other delicious flavours.
You can't taste the frozen cauliflower either, if you're worried about that. It adds bulk, dietary fiber, and makes this chocolate smoothie icy cold and refreshing.
Hemp seeds add another boost of protein, and sweetened with just a frozen banana and a couple of medjool dates (one is perfect for me, but you can add two if you prefer things to be on the sweeter side), this healthy chocolate smoothie is vegan, naturally sweetened, and naturally protein-rich. It's great for practically everyone!
Can I make this smoothie in advance?
You bet you can! This Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie recipe is a great option for Frozen Smoothie Packs.
You can also blend it up and keep your smoothie in the fridge for a few hours. It might separate a bit so you'll want to shake or stir before you drink it.
What kind of milk should I use?
I used almond milk when I first started making this smoothie, but these days my plant-based milk of choice is oat milk, so that's what I use more often than not. Any plant-based milk that you're into will do just fine.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are black beans healthy?
Black beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K. So yeah, they're pretty dang healthy.
The protein-plus-fiber combination in black beans is one of the things that makes black beans so special. A one cup serving contains 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein.
Much of the fiber is indigestible, which supports digestive health, particularly in the lower part of our digestive tract. The protein-fiber combination is also key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace.
Black beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health. Looking for more ways to get black beans into your diet? Be sure to check out these 12 Healthy Black Bean Recipes!
Other tasty smoothies you might enjoy:
Mango Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger
Berry Fennel Smoothie
Almond Butter Date Smoothie
Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie
Blueberry Avocado Smoothie
Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower
- ½ cup black beans
- 1-2 medjool dates pitted
- 1 cup oat milk or milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen cauliflower, ½ cup black beans, 1-2 medjool dates, 1 cup oat milk, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pour into a glass and sprinkle hemp seeds over the top if desired. Serve immediately.
- Using 2 dates makes this smoothie very sweet. I prefer just one, but if you're accustomed to a sweeter drink or your banana isn't very sweet, you can go for two.
- You can't taste the frozen cauliflower at all! It adds thickness and a good amount of dietary fiber to the smoothie.
- You can't taste the black beans, I promise!
- This makes one LARGE smoothie for a hungry person, or two smaller snack-sized smoothies.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only!
This recipe was originally published July 27, 2014. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated to include a video on May 11, 2022.
Hello, can you use raisins instead of dates and if so, how much? Thank you!
I have never tried this recipe with raisins. They have quite a different taste and texture to dates, so I don't really recommend.
What magic is this?! Doubled for my fam of 4 for breakfast and no one believed me when I told them there was beans AND cauliflower in it!! Love it
So easy to make and you're right, you can't taste the beans or the cauliflower but I love the extra body and nutrition they add. Great recipe!
This smoothie is delicious! If I feel like I haven't ate great during the day it's the perfect bedtime snack. I've made it with and without the frozen cauliflower and both taste great. I like having a high protein smoothie option without added artificial protein powders
This smoothie is legit. The real deal. I've been making it a few times a week for months now, and I can truly say I'm living my best life. I use cashew or oat milk, and it always comes out perfect!
This was fabulous! Felt like I was having a milk share for breakfast. Will definitely keep this recipe as a breakfast or snack option. Thanks for sharing!
I made this and it was awesome and filling! I put some protein powder in for more protein but I was wondering if I could swap out cauluflower or banna for canned pumpkin?
You could, but the taste and texture would be different.
Hi - I am excited to try this, as I was reading it I was already thinking of some changes... I would leave out the dates, add avocado. Instead of cocoa, I will use cacoa (love this) and add a smidge of Vermont Maple Syrup! I will let you know how it goes. Newbie to plant based eating...
Awesome recipe! My family and I really enjoyed it this morning.
Yay! I'm so happy to hear that.
This was great! I only used banana, cocoa powder, spinach, water and black beans and it turned out delicious. Tasted surprisingly like a wholesome brownie.
Any ideas of what I could use instead of dates? A dash of maple syrup perhaps? Also, any ideas of what I could use as a substitution for frozen cauliflower?
A splash of maple syrup would be a perfect sub for dates, or you can just leave them out if your banana is sweet enough. If you don't have or don't want to use frozen cauliflower, you can use extra frozen banana (it'll make your smoothie sweeter for sure) or you could use another frozen vegetable with a neutral flavour like zucchini or even frozen broccoli.
Hi there, quick question. If I were to assemble some make-ahead smoothie bags, which ingredients go into the bag to be frozen? I am assuming just the bananas, beans, and cauliflower… But please let me know.
Or does it not matter?
You can add everything except the liquids. Instructions are in this post: https://www.heynutritionlady.com/make-and-freeze-smoothie-packs/
Thanks for the tutorial— going to freeze some black bean smoothie packs. Great recipe, btw!
I might try adding some frozen ice cubes of coffee— seems like a flavor that would work AND it would kill two birds, as they say.
Do you use dry beans or canned beans? Do the beans need to be soaked before blending?
The beans must be cooked, so either canned (which are already cooked) or soaked and then boiled until tender.
Same result with azuki beans?
I made this today, and it's a definite winner. The only major changes I made were swapping adzuki beans for the black beans, and chia seeds for the hemp. The flavor is akin to chocolate banana bread, which I love--I'm sure to be making this again!
I made this and it's really good! I used 1/4 cup of dried date bits instead of mejol dates and soaked them in hot water for 15or so minutes first. I also substituted the hemp seeds for ground flax seed which I soaked with the dates. I am amazed at how sweet it is considering the black beans and cauliflower. I gave it to my unsuspecting hubby and he really like it. ...until I told him there was black beans in it. ????????????
Haha, next time don't tell him!
Simply amazing. This is a great post workout smoothie that tastes like a chocolate milkshake! I used a high powered blender to mix and left out the cinnamon (not a fan of cinnamon and chocolate together). My new favorite smoothie!!
I don't always use the cinnamon. I think it's just as delicious without!
Can you use date syrup instead of buying dates?
I don't see why not.
Absolutely loved this, I am trying to add more protein to my diet and this was delicious. I didn't have dates or black beans so used maple syrup and kidney beans instead. Thank you
I'm not sure why, but I can't find the recipe anywhere on this page. I clicked another smoothie link and found that recipe without a problem, so I don't know what could be wrong. I would love to check this out!
Ahhhhhh! Thanks for letting me know. I've got my tech support working on fixing that now, post should be fixed soon.
FYI the post is fixed now. Thanks Jackie!
I love this smoothie and had enjoyed it several times! My 23-year old son has made it at my recommendation and he likes it, but even with only 1 date, he thinks the sugar content is high. I assured him it was okay since it is all naturally occurring sugar, but can you help explain why he should not be worried about it? He is healthy so there are no food issues to need to consider.
Hi Janet, the sugar content IS high since both the date and the banana bring quite a lot of carbohydrates to the table. Additionally, the beans and plant-based milk are a source of both complex (beans) and simple (plant milk) carbs. However, unlike eating a brownie or a chocolate bar, the naturally occurring sugars in the dates and bananas are coupled with dietary fiber, which helps to moderate the update of sugar into your blood stream. They're also packaged with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that you wouldn't find in a sugary beverage. This smoothie also has cauliflower and beans, which makes it more of a complete meal. Unless you're counting carbs for medical reasons such as diabetes, it's really nothing to be concerned about.
I went into this with such high hopes, but unfortunately this recipe did not work out for me. I absolutely could taste the beans in the smoothie (ick), and no matter how much I blended, it wouldn't go completely smooth and had a disgusting grainy texture. Really disappointed, as I wanted this recipe to work so badly!
Hey Courtney, I'm so bummed this didn't work for you! Can I ask what kind of beans you used? Were they canned or soaked and cooked from dried?
I had the EXACT same experience! I read the reviews and everyone said it tasted amazing!! I was super excited and followed the recipe exactly but my cauliflower wasn’t frozen which seems like it should make a difference. Super disappointed
Hey Clara, using frozen cauliflower actually does make a big difference! Frozen cauliflower (and other veggies) are blanched (quickly steamed) prior to freezing, which removes the bite from the cauliflower. Using raw cauli would add a strong "cabbagy" taste to the smoothie, which wouldn't be pleasant at all. Frozen cauli on the other hand, blends up without adding any flavour at all. I'll add a note to the recipe about this for future users, but I do hope you'll try it again with frozen cauliflower rather than fresh.
I just made the Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie. It is delicious! Although I love all the ingredients individually, I was not sure about being put together in a smoothie. I was sooo wrong! I am a new vegan and I often struggle with getting enough of my daily protein. To be honest, I struggled with this problem when I ate animal products as well. This smoothie helps with the struggle.????
Thanks for a rich macronutrient and delicious recipe.
Yay! So glad I've converted another person to being a bean smoothie lover. So weird sounding, but so good!
Just made this and it tastes soooo good! I served 1/2 a portion of it in a bowl with a swirl of homemade almond butter and was deslish!!
Ooooh, I love the idea of making this into a smoothie bowl!
I can’t believe I waited so long to try this. It’s unbelievably tasty. I’m addicted.
Absolutely FABULOUS smoothie! I was skeptical about the beans and the cauliflower but both were not noticeable at all, it was just delicious. I also added a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and used pumpkin pie spice because I was out of cinnamon. Both my husband and I loved it! I found out about this recipe from the Exam Room podcast through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, I'm so glad they shared it!
So glad you enjoyed this smoothie, Alice! And thanks for tipping me off - I had no idea they'd shared the recipe 🙂
I just discovered this recipe. Bought black beans to try it... and it’s absolutely delicious ???? Thank you!! Would never have come up with it myself. Straight into my top 5 for sure! Used less almond milk to thicken it as I love to spoon my smoothies.
Love from Holland, Christa
I've love black bean brownies but never thought of putting them in a smoothie. This was delicious! Thanks!
I'm so glad you tried it! It's one of my favourite recipes, and once you get past the idea of beans in smoothies it's incredibly delicious!
As always, soooo good!
Love, love, love this smoothie. So satisfying when I want a treat, and it sure tastes like a treat even though I know what's in it! I always have a few bags prepped in the freezer so I can quickly whip one up. Having my favorite smoothies prepped in the freezer was a game changer for me since I often am in a hurry when I want a smoothie. Thanks Katie.
I just rediscovered this recipe! Still so good! I love how chocolatey and rich it is!
Your recipes never disappoint!
It's one of my all-time favourites - I'm glad you enjoy it as much as I do!
I am so happy my fiance found this recipe. It's the best smoothie I ever had!!!! We love the original recipe and we also added vanilla and fresh nutmeg which intensied the flavors beautifully. For a more ice-cream feel you can chill it 🤤
Jessica J Tschida
Are you using cooked, riced, or raw chunks of cauliflower from the freezer?
I use frozen cauliflower straight from the freezer, but I've definitely used chunks of raw cauliflower from the fridge before, too.
What can I use in place of cauliflower?
Well, you can just leave it out of cauliflower doesn't work for you. Or if you want to replace it with another vegetable you could throw in some spinach (I often use frozen spinach) or broccoli (same, frozen broccoli). You really can't taste any of those options so long as you use them in moderation.
This smoothie is really looking so delicious. The ingredients are healthy. I love Banana and Almond milk in my smoothie. . Thanks for putting them together.
Banana and almond milk and BEANS! It's the ultimate combo!
Not sure why I've never thought of using black beans in my smoothies.. genius! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
I hope you like it! One of my favourite ways to pump up the protein without using protein powders.
I've been making smoothies like this for a while no and love them. Do you use raw beans or lentils or do you soak and cook them first? I have also used chick pea power as a protein source and I am wondering about the danger of lectins, I would appreciate your thoughts.
I use beans that either come from a can (well rinsed!) or that have been soaked and cooked. I don't think that raw beans would blend up very well! Legumes, are almost always cooked in some way before we consume them, which leaves only a negligible amount of lectins, making these foods safe to eat for the majority of people.
Wow, what an interesting idea using black beans in the smoothie. Just pinned this recipe. thanks,Anna
I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I used less almond milk to make it a smoothie bowl and added kidney beans & spinach. It was amazing 🙂
Yum! I bet that would make a great smoothie bowl!
Just made this - DELICIOUS! I didn't have dates on hand so I sweetened with a little Agave. You would never know there are beans in this drink. So different and very satisfying after a hard workout. I plan or checking out your other recipes.
How long should the black beans be soaked before using?
No soaking required - you want to use cooked or canned black beans.
Loved it. A tad too much cinnamon I think. Thanks for the share
Sometimes I skip the cinnamon altogether, but I do enjoy it with the kick as well!
I found your blog yesterday while searching for a mung bean recipe--- I made the mung bean and coconut curry recipe last night and it was amazing! I'm really loving your site and have found quite a few recipes I want to try.
I've got a question about this smoothie--I live in Thailand, so unfortunately black beans are really hard to find. I can buy them imported but they're quite expensive. However, Japanese black soybeans are everywhere and very cheap. Do you think those would work in a smoothie?
You could use any bean that has a relatively neutral flavour. So soybeans, adzuki beans, white kidney beans etc, would all be just fine!
Nice recipe, Katie. I never tried a smoothie with chocolate in it so I might give it a try! 🙂
I hope you like it!
Sarah Grace Spann
Wow so unique I might just have to try it! Even though maybe for dessert as that much beans in the morning may not be the best for my tummy 🙂
It's delicious enough for dessert, that's for sure!
Would chia seeds work in place of hemp? Can't wait to try this smoothie.
You could use chia... it would change the consistency and the protein content, but would still be completely delicious!
I just tried this and it was awesome! I didn't have almond milk but I had vanilla Westsoy so I used that. It upped the protein to 24g and the beans make it extremely filling and you can't taste them at all! Thanks for posting this yummy recipe 🙂
Hey! This recipe looks great. I wanted to ask, could I add oats and peanut butter into this shake and blend it as well. Would it make the taste bad or make it taste even better? Oats and peanut butter are really great sources of protein and carbs as well. Since oats is generally tasteless, I was scared that the peanut butter may not complement the cocoa powder.
Hi Anun! You can add pretty much anything you want to a smoothie, that's the beauty! Try it out with oats and peanut butter and let us know how it turns out. Chocolate and peanut butter is pretty much one of my favourite combos, so I bet it'll be delicious! It might be thicker due to the oats, so you may need to add some extra liquid. Go for it!
I LOVE this smoothie. I wanted more plant based protein for my workouts. It's delicious!!!
It's one of my favourites for packing in so much protein without using protein powder. And it's delicious to boot!
Just found your website and made this smoothie. I have to say that it is absolutely delicious.... thank you!
Glad you liked it, it's one of my favourites!
Ooooh, will give this a try next week. Very clever!!
This is a silly question. I like using all frozen ingredients in my smoothie except for the almond milk. Can I use frozen cooked black beans? I'm not usually a fan of black beans but if I can't taste it in my smoothie that would be a plus.
Certainly you could use frozen beans! It'll make the smoothie thicker, so you might need to add a bit of extra almond milk, but the frozen beans should blend up beautifully so long as you've got a powerful enough blender, and make it like a thick and creamy (but healthy!) milkshake. Let me know how it works out.
Yes! this should work gorgeous together! Love your pictures, do delicious!
It's a great combination, so healthy and filling!
Random question - do I need to cook the beans first? Or do I use the straight out of the box uncooked?
If the beans are from a can then they're already cooked - simply give them a good rinse and they're ready to use. If they're dried beans then they will need to be soaked and cooked before you can use them in the smoothie, or anywhere else for that matter!
This sounds perfect, but I'm a smoothie newbie. If I were going to add greek yogurt - would I just add a container of yogurt, or would I substitute it for some of the almond milk?
Hi Amy, sorry for the delayed response - I was away on holidays without my computer! If you were going to add Greek yoghurt you could reduce the almond milk a bit. This smoothie is already quite thick due to the banana and black beans, so you'll definitely want some of that liquid in there. It really depends on how think your Greek yoghurt is. If it's quite thick you could add almost all of the almond milk. If it's less thick try reducing the almond milk by about 50%. Experiment a bit and let us know how it goes.
This recipe is delicious!! I made it this morning with canned Eden Organic no salt added black beans and I could not even taste the beans! I will definitely be enjoying this smoothie on a regular basis. Thank you 🙂
Glad you like it! You can't taste the beans at all, can you? Now you'll be adding beans to all kinds of smoothies!
Just did this! I used 3 fresh figs, chia seeds, and added a bunch of greens and I can't even tell. This is the fullest I've ever been off a smoothie and it is also one of the most delicious I've had!
Mmmmm, fresh figs would be so good! I'm so glad you liked the smoothie. People think the beans are weird, but you can't taste 'em and you get so much good nutrition, and like you said, satisfaction. Yay!
Oops, I see it doesn't come up that way when posted. Forget my comment:)
I'm loving this right now! I soak the dates and seeds (I used chia) in the almond milk for 15-20 minutes before blending to help my processor along and it comes out great. I've also been adding maca, which is new to me, and it works well. Thanks for the recipe!
P.S. Sorry for the caps. It seems to be set to set like that as It doesn't make a difference whether I have caps turned on on my keyboard or not. Your fill in sheet still come up like this.
I love maca in my smoothies (or in overnight oats, yum!) and I imagine the malty flavour would work perfectly in this smoothie. Great idea!
Are the beans raw or cooked?
Cooked! Canned beans are also fine when you're in a hurry.
I don't know if someone asked this before, but are the beans raw or cooked? I have dry black beans (not canned) so do they need to be cooked fully before I can use them in the smoothie? I think this could be a great post-workout smoothie and I LOVE Black beans! 🙂
Hi Randiah, the beans definitely need to be cooked first. I like to cook up big batches of dried beans and keep them in the freezer, perfect for tossing into a morning smoothie!
Great Post! And I must admit two things.
1. I've had a similar revelation lately in the way I practice (I'm a Nutritionist). I used to believe that if I just told people how to be 'Healthy' I would get people well. Now I realize that I have to inspire people to be healthy and they in turn inspire the world around them. It's been life changing.
And 2. Your photos are stunning and it's what caused me to read this post.
Keep up the good work.
That's a great way to look at nutrition! And you're absolutely right - people definitely pay it forward when they're inspired. Thanks so much re: my photos 🙂
I've been pondering the evolution of my eating philosophy too - I used to be so fixated on HEALTHY HEALTHY HEALTHY that it was unknowingly stressful.. now I just strive for variety and unprocessed food!
What freedom that must have brought!
A variety and unprocessed food is just the ticket in my opinion!
Yes, brilliant! I'm a vegetarian uncomfortable with the idea of protein powder as well, so this is such a smart idea for a post-workout smoothie. Made this for myself today after some strength training and appreciated that it's easy *and* delicious.
I'm glad you liked it! It's nice to know we can source protein from whole foods and don't have to go to powders, isn't it?
Ohhhh...I love this idea! I'm on a smoothie kick lately and I've been looking for some new ideas. This just might be my after-workout snack later today 🙂
I hope you like it! It may sound a bit funky, but I promise you you won't even taste those beans.
What a great idea! Will definitely be trying this! Thanks for sharing!
Glad you like it! Let me know what you think 🙂
There is an error in your article. 1/2 C Black Beans provides 6 or 7 grams of protein not 15 as stated in your article.
1 C = almost 15 grams. The Chocolate smoothie recipe is delicious but does not provide the full amt of protein you stated.
I'm not sure where you're seeing this, Rachelle? In the "Know What You're Eating Section" it does day 1 cup = 15g protein. I don't provide nutrition information for the smoothie its self.
Rachelle, the article does state that 1 cup of the smoothie contains 15g of protien. You are correct that 1/2 cup of black beans provides ~7g protein. However, there is no error in the 15g claim: the other ~8g of protein comes from hemp seeds, banana, and almond milk. The respective protein content of these foods may vary depending on the brand.
Great point, Max!
hi there 🙂 if u want to increase the amount of protein , you can use mature black beans instead boiled one raw beans contain 21gram protein per 100 grams beans !! hope it helps u to find some protein. thank u .
Ok so can I substitute unsweetened coco powder, can I use soaked flax seeds and what can be used from pantry if no dates. Dr is insistent that I loose weight due to my diabetes. I also have budget concerns and would also prefer going ALL NATURAL not using store/chemically enhanced protein powders.
Hi Bonnie, it is unsweetened cocoa powder that the recipe calls for. Soaked flax seeds would be fine. The dates add natural sweetness as well as some dietary fiber. You can leave them out, or add a touch of maple syrup if you don't have dates.
I absolutely loved this!
Thank you for the recipe.
Yay! Glad you liked it!
I want to try this but go dairy free. What could I use for liquid?
There is no dairy in the recipe as written.