Working on dinner ideas for last week, I knew there were a few nights that my husband would be away on business. Although he is one of the most open-minded eaters I know, he doesn’t eat legumes. So, when he is away, a side dish of green beans or a Mexican entree with refried beans is often part of the menu.
I had heard someone talking about black bean cakes recently and thought that would be an excellent recipe to try while my husband was away. Even though I knew that my 13 and 11 year old dinner companions would eat them, I knew their initial reactions would be dislike.
When you’re 11 and 13, being told that dinner is black bean cakes is less than thrilling. However, they both enjoy many dried beans in salads, soups, and more. I knew that a little trickery would be in order. So, when asked what dinner was for that night, I told them it would be a meatless Mexican meal.
My white lie worked doubly well. First, neither of them had a clue what dinner was until we sat at table, so there was no time for a protest. Although not visually appealing, they liked the idea of topping the cakes with salsa, sour cream, lime juice, and/or shredded cheddar cheese. Second, the 13 year old was thrilled to see black bean cakes, as he thought dinner might be some crazy Mom creation. Apparently, black bean cakes aren’t that crazy. (Nor am I for that matter.)
If this recipe can please two middle school students, it seems that it should please many people.
- 1/2 lb. dry black beans
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1- 1½ cups water
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- olive oil
- Place beans and broth in a medium stock pot, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1½ hours.
- Return pot to stove, and allow beans to simmer without boiling. Keep lid slightly cracked. Check every 20-30 minutes, and stir.
- If the amount of liquid reduces, add ½ cup of water as needed.
- Beans should be tender after simmering for 2 hours. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Place half of the cooked beans in a blender.
- Add onion, garlic, and a small amount of cooking liquid from beans.
- Puree mixture, adding more liquid, if needed, to allow mixture to puree fully.
- Transfer pureed beans to a large mixing bowl.
- Drain remaining cooked beans, and add beans to mixing bowl.
- Add flour and egg, and mix until well combined.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
- Coat bottom of the pan with a small amount of olive oil.
- Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of bean mixture into pan. (You should be able to fit at least 5 cakes at a time.)
- Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Serve warm with sour cream, salsa, lime wedges, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- I should note that this recipe is not vegetarian, as it is made with chicken broth. However, if you would like to make a vegetarian version, you can substitute water or vegetable stock for the chicken broth.