Rocco DiSpirito's Red Velvet Chocolate Squares

Healthy Twist on a Signature Dessert

The chef's new diet will keep taste buds happy while keeping meals healthy.
Servings:Over 8
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: min

"The recipe for red velvet cake has been around since the 1920's, when the cake was the signature dessert at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. The cake captured my heart –and it plays hard to get. It took me forever to come up with a magical adaptation that would capture the richness of its namesake. These bars get their health benefits, velvety texture, and deep red color from a paste made of beets, red beans, cocoa powder, and red food coloring. I took a slight departure from the traditional red velvet cake flavor by adding a touch of almond extract, and that, my friends, is where the magic happened."

-- Rocco DiSpirito


  • Butter flavored nonstick cooking spray
  • ½ cup chopped canned beets, drained
  • 7 ounces (about 1 cup) canned red beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons natural red food coloring
  • Cooking Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

    Combine the beets, beans, and cocoa powder, egg substitute, and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.

    Add the agave, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and food coloring. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.

    Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. Turn down the temperature of the oven to 300 F and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes., until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little bit of soft batter clinging to it. It should not come out clean, if it does, it's overcooked.

    Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then put them in the fridge for at least 3 hours. When they're cold, cut them into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

    Serves 12; 106 calories each

    Recipes from "NOW EAT THIS! DIET," by Rocco DiSpirito. Copyright © 2011 by Flavorworks. Used by permission of Grand Central Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: beets, red beans, cocoa powder, liquid egg substitute, vanilla extract, red food coloring

    Course: Dessert, Snack

    More Info: Low Fat, Low Calorie

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