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PBU x SCOOP Recipe for Black Bean Brownies

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Darla and Kei See from SCOOP and PBU shares some information about the brilliant work these two groups are doing alongside a delicious and simple recipe for some healthy gluten-free brownies made from an interesting tinned staple: black beans!

A bit about SCOOP and PBU at The University of York:

PBU campaign

Plant Based University (PBU) is the University of York division of the national campaign urging universities to move to a more just and sustainable plant-based catering system.

More recent research is revealing animal agriculture to be the single biggest cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss, causing about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, which on its own is sufficient to tip global warming over its breaking point. We will surpass that point by 2040 even if Net Zero is realised by 2050, which we are currently not on track to meet.

Only focusing on fossil fuels is not enough. Drastic changes are needed soon.

Transitioning to a plant-based food system can free up to 76% of global farmland to be rewilded, feed an additional 4 billion people, see up to 51% reduction in emissions, save up to 8 billion people by 2050 and 1.5 trillion USD from healthcare and climate damage.

Through PBU, the University of Stirling recently committed to a 100% plant-based catering system by 2025. Your support is needed to see this change here.

Instagram/Linktree: @plantbaseduoy

Update from SCOOP

At the end of last term, SCOOP moved from Wentworth (where it has been for more than a decade) to a more central location in Eric Milner A, Vanbrugh College, with the help of our volunteers and staff. This was done to increase access to and knowledge about our shop, making it much easier for more students and staff to buy our many low-waste, eco-friendly and affordable products (we sell everything at wholesale price and 10% off for members – membership is just £5 for the whole year).

In the second week of spring term, we opened our new shop for the first time, and since then we have seen a huge increase in foot traffic and sales, with many customers noting how useful it is to have our shop so easily accessible on campus. We sell bulk items such as pasta, grains, cereals, beans, nuts, and rice by weight, providing free containers for customers to buy exactly the amount they want. We also sell other goods like vegan milks, chocolates, spreads, pesto, crisps, canned and jarred foods, as well as lots of self-care and cosmetic products like soap, hair products, dishcloths, bamboo toothbrushes and more!

Since SCOOP is run entirely by volunteers, it is currently only open on Wednesdays and Fridays due to differing timetables and availabilities. We would love it if more people signed up for volunteer training; this would allow the shop to run more smoothly and allow it to be open more days of the week! To sign up for volunteer training, all you have to do is buy our membership (on the YUSU website) and email requesting a training slot (it only lasts max 30 mins).

Black bean brownies (GF)

Time needed: prep 20 min, baking 40 min (180°C)

Allergens: None

Makes: 30


- 4 flax eggs (8 tbsp ground flaxseed)

- 170g dried black beans (equivalent to around 500g of soaked black beans)

- 240ml olive oil

- 4 tsp vanilla extract

- 126g gluten free flour

- -130g cocoa powder

- 600g white sugar

- 2 tsp baking powder

- 1 tsp salt

- 2 tsp instant coffee powder

- 350g vegan chocolate chips


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 2 9×9 square dishes with oil and line it with parchment paper so that there is overhang on either side. Set it aside.

2) Prepare your flax eggs by mixing 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 12 tablespoons of hot water. Let it sit for a minute to become gloopy.

3) Rinse your black beans and then add them to the food processor along with your flax eggs, oil and vanilla extract and process until well mixed.

4) Transfer the mix to a mixing bowl and add in the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and instant coffee powder and mix into a thick batter.

5) Add the chocolate chips and fold them in.

6) Transfer to your 2 prepared 9×9 square dishes and smooth down.

7) Sprinkle more chocolate chips directly on top of the brownies.

8) Bake for 40 minutes. The tops of the brownies should be shiny and cracked and dry.

9) Allow to cool for a few minutes before lifting the brownies out using the parchment paper overhang and place them on a cutting board.

10) Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

11) Enjoy!

About the Author(s): Darla is a 2nd-year Biology student at The University of York. In her spare time she loves to cycle, experiment with different vegan recipes and take care of her increasing collection of house plants.

Kei See is a 4th-year Theoretical Physical student at The University of York. She is a Plant-Based Universities campaigner who also enjoys exercising and experiencing different cultures

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