Chocolate Adzuki Bites Dessert

A unique chocolate pecan treat with a secret ingredient

Over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs they have a monthly challenge. Iron Chef style, they present an ingredient and then you have to come up with a sweet or savory dish involving that ingredient. Sounds like fun! This month’s ingredient is the Adzuki bean, an asian red bean that has an interesting earthy flavor. I’d never tried them before and I’m glad I have now!

For my submission, I decided to try my hand at the “sweet” category. These chocolate adzuki bites are the result – not bad, if I do say so myself! First and foremost, they don’t taste like beans, so don’t sweat that – the adzuki really just adds a nice creamy texture to them but what you taste is the chocolate and nuts.

These are super easy to make – just take about a half cup of dried adzuki beans and boil them in maybe 3 or 4 cups of water (just cover them by a couple inches and make sure they don’t boil down too dry) for an hour or so, until they are nice and soft.

(That’s more than a half cup worth of beans, I made a full cup since I didn’t know how many I’d need for the recipe.)

Blend 3/4 cup of cooked beans, 3/4 cup of pecans, 6 or so dates, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and a 1/4 tsp each of vanilla extract and salt together until nice and creamy. It may take a minute or two – if it’s too dry you can add a splash of rice milk but it’s not really necessary. You’ll end up with this great creamy mixture:

Which you can scoop out a tablespoon or so at a time and roll into nice little balls.

I rolled them in three different toppings: chopped cashews, chopped pecans, and shredded coconut. You can do all three or just one or pick something else to use as a topping (if you do, let me know how it turns out!). Spread your chopped nuts or coconut on a small plate and roll the balls around in it until they are covered. Set them in the fridge for about an hour or so to firm up and enjoy!

These are sort of earthy and chocolatey with a little kick of sea salt – if you enjoy salt and chocolate together you’ll probably dig these. I think my favorite is the pecan topping, but the coconut is pretty darn good too. I’ll definitely try using adzuki in more recipes in the future so let me know if you have any good ones!

Chocolate Adzuki Bites (Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Soy Free)

Makes about 24 bites.

Ingredients:

For the adzuki balls:

  • 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans
  • 3/4  cup pecans
  • 6 or so pitted medjool dates (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons rice milk (optional)

For the topping:

You can choose either shredded coconut, chopped pecans or chopped cashews. You’ll need about a cup of whichever one you choose. For the nuts, I recommend blending them in the food processor before you make the balls because then you don’t have to clean it out.

  • 1 cup of selected topping
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (the larger flakey kind if possible)

Directions:

Put the adzuki beans in a small pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Boil for about an hour, making sure you don’t let them dry out, until they are soft. Drain and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, blend the nuts for your topping (if using) and set aside. Add 3/4 cup cooked adzuki beans (they will have swollen up so your 1/2 cup should have turned into at least 3/4 cup), 3/4 cup pecans, dates, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. If it is too dry to blend well, you can add rice or almond milk a teaspoon at a time to make it a bit more moist. You can also add a teaspoon of agave nectar to make it a little more sweet (if you use the agave nectar you probably won’t need the rice milk)

Scoop out the dough a tablespoon or so at a time and roll into balls. Sprinkle them with just a bit of the sea salt and then roll the balls in the topping until they are coated, then put them in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.

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30 Comments

  • And yes, I DO realise that the whole point of the challenge was to use adzukis! But my mind immediately goes into what-can-I-substitute mode because I live in Bangladesh where *nothing* is available!

  • These remind me so much of the black bean fudge I love–can’t wait to give them a try! And your photos are stunning. 😀 Thanks so much for entering the recipe in this month’s SOS Challenge!

  • THese looks wonderful! I love making bean fudge, bean truffles, etc etc, so these are totally up my alley. And the photos are absolutely beautiful! I am so happy you entered the Challenge and enjoyed your first adzuki bean experience. Thanks for such a great submission! xo

  • I just saw a TV feature about the creative uses of beans…totally outside the red beans and rice I grew up on in southern Louisiana. Pretty cool! I want to try your recipe. Do you know of any websites that sell the adzuki beans?

  • Wow, Jessica – these choco-bean bits look fabulous. I have recently learned that gluten is not my friend (after all these years of a “sore belly”) AND I have a fairly persistent sweet tooth. These little treats look like a perfect way to get my chocolate fix in a rather healthy form. Thanks! I am going to try these this weekend and share at a dinner party.

    Cheers,
    Lori

  • Kudos to you for making a healthy dessert using adzuki beans. I’ve been successful with black beans but never even considered using adzuki beans. They aren’t actually a bean I cook. I really like your website. Congratulations for making the Top 9 at Food Buzz. That’s how I found you.

  • please change the tag. it is not a sugar free dessert. its a NO SUGAR ADDED dessert. big difference for diabetics………….or other dieters.

  • I tried making these today, and changed too many things… One change was using equal parts walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds instead of pecans (which I did not have). I could not get it to blend to my satisfaction without adding too much liquid. Next time I’ll try soaking the nuts and the dates separately for about an hour, and adding back the dates’ sweet soaking water to the whole mix as needed.
    If you try this recipe, this tip might help you, too.

  • I tried making these today, and changed too many things… One change was using equal parts walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds instead of pecans (which I did not have). I could not get it to blend to my satisfaction without adding too much liquid. Next time I’ll try soaking the nuts and the dates separately for about an hour, and adding back the dates’ sweet soaking water to the whole mix as needed.
    If you try this recipe, this tip might help.

  • These turned out fantastic and are so easy to make! Filling but not super sweet – I think they could be my new favourite snack.

  • I came across this recipe, because I saw a vegan adzuki bean brownie recipe in runners world. My husband wondered what else he could find w/ adzuki beans – they are stated to be the most easily digestible bean, which is great for someone who’s running a long distance. We tried these over the brownies becuase no baking is required/ easier. We made these using walnuts instead of pecans, and almond milk instead of rice. We also rolled some in a mixture of xylitol, (sugar alcohol) cocoa powder, and course salt, then froze them, DELICIOUS! Just like dense specialty fudge! Have made them three times now, doubling the recipe (you use a 15 oz can beans when doubling) the second and third time, and my family inhales them.

  • I was imagining something like this, and was sooo happy your recipe came up with my google search. These are *fabulous*!! I added 1 T. coffee liquor and 1 t. coconut oil (melted to liquid consistency). THANK YOU!!!

  • Just cooked up a pot of adzuki beans so definitely going to give these balls a try. Any chance that you have a breakdown of nutrients (incl. carbs, fiber, protein, fat, etc.)

  • Hi, Thanks for the great recipe. I am gluten free, white sugar free & diary free diet since 2 months. I’d been missing desserts. My 9 yr old daughter loved it so much that she licked the mixing bowl! The other feedback – I ended up having the blended mix a bit fluid side. So, I mixed 1/2 a cup dried fine coconut powder. It was still hard to roll it but somehow gotten it done. After they are shaped into kinda odd shaped balls, they slowly started hardening, probably the dried coconut started absorbing the excess water from the balls. They taste fantastic, so soft they melt in mouth!