Tag Archives: black beans

Black Bean Cakes with Cilantro Crème

These black bean cakes are dredged in rice flour, which give them a thin, crisp crust.  I use leftover Game Night Black Beans, but you could use any well-spiced beans.  The recipe is a lot easier than it looks– make them once and you’ll do it by memory.  I often serve black bean cakes over watercress or arugula dressed in olive oil.  With a piece of cornbread or a side of rice, you have a full meal.  Don’t skip the Cilantro Crème.  It makes the dish.  This recipe makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Cakes
2 medium sweet potatoes, about 10 oz. total
3 cups well-drained, well-seasoned, cooked black beans
1 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
2 T. finely diced onion
Scant 1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
¼ c. brown rice flour
3-5 T. olive or canola oil, for frying

Cilantro Crème
1 c. chopped cilantro
2/3 c. nonfat Greek yogurt
2 Serrano chiles, de-stemmed
Zest and juice of 1 medium lime

Prick sweet potatoes several times with a fork and cook in the microwave until soft. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place black beans in a large, shallow bowl. Melt the butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add garlic, hot pepper and onion and cook one minute. Add salt, chili powder and ground cumin and cook another 30-60 seconds, until fragrant. Scrape spice mixture into the beans. Cut warm sweet potatoes in half and add the flesh to the bowl. Use a potato masher to smash and combine the ingredients together. Stop mashing when mixture is creamy and just holds together, but still has visible bits of beans. Do not mash to a uniform consistency.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place rice flour on a small plate. Scoop up a scant quarter-cup of bean mixture and gently form it into a ½-inch-thick bean cake. Dredge it in the rice flour and set it on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used. You should have about 12 bean cakes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. (Bean cakes may be made up to 8 hours ahead.)

Move cakes from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Pour an eighth-of-an-inch of oil into the bottom of a large, flat-bottomed skillet (cast iron is ideal). Heat oil over medium high heat. Add 6 bean cakes in a single layer and fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes.  Carefully flip. Continue cooking until the second side is golden brown and cakes are heated through. Remove from the skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and bean cakes.  Place 3 warm bean cakes on each plate and drizzle with Cilantro Crème.  Serve, passing additional crème on the side.

Cilantro Crème
Place cilantro, yogurt, peppers, lime zest and juice into a blender and process until smooth. May be made 4 hours ahead.

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Black Bean Soup

This black bean soup has old-world, slow food flavor.  The bacon is optional, but be sure to use a good quality sherry.  You end up with about 9 cups of soup. Enjoy!

16 oz. dried black beans
Olive oil
3 slices flavorful bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red hot pepper, finely diced
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ T. dry mustard
2-4 pinches cayenne (to taste)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. tomato paste
4-8 c. beef or mushroom broth, plus enough water to make 10 c. liquid
½ c. dry sherry
Feta cheese (for garnish)

Soak beans overnight.

Lightly coat the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add bacon and slowly fry, rendering as much fat as possible. When bacon is crispy, remove about two-thirds of it and set aside. Add onions, carrots and celery to pan and cook, gently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic, red pepper and bay leaf to the pan cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add black pepper, dry mustard and cayenne and cook 30 seconds or so.

Drain beans and rinse them under cold water. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, broth and water. Bring ingredients to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer, gently, until beans are tender (2-2 ½ hours). Let soup cool slightly.

Puree 5 cups of soup in a blender and return to the pot. Add salt to taste. Add sherry and reserved bacon to the pan and bring it up to a simmer again. Simmer for 10 minutes, then check seasoning. You may need to add cayenne or salt. (Note: Do not oversalt soup as the feta cheese will be salty.)

Serve hot, garnished with feta cheese.

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Game Night Black Beans & Rice

This time of year, I am particularly drawn to single-bowl meals that can be eaten in front of “the big game.” This is one of my children’s favorites.  The beans can be made ahead and last several days in the fridge.  They also freeze well.  Cooking time varies, depending on the age of the dried beans.  Count on 2-4 hours.  Enjoy!

16 oz. dried black beans
1 large onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T. powdered red chili (Ancho, New Mexico, whatever you have on hand)
1 T. ground cumin
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1-3 dried smoked chiles (chipotle are the most readily available)

Hot cooked brown rice (opt, cooked in chicken stock)

Grated cheddar cheese
Diced red onions, chili peppers, & tomatoes
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Diced avocado
Cilantro, chopped

Put beans in a pot and add enough water to cover by 2”. Soak overnight.

The next day, drain beans and place in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, powdered chili, cumin, tomatoes and whole dried smoked chilis to the pot. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil. Turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Taste beans. If they are almost tender, season generously with salt and simmer 30 minutes longer, until beans are soft and liquid is thick. If beans are still chalky or hard, continue simmering, adding more water as necessary to keep them covered. Taste beans every 20 minutes or so until you are satisfied with their texture. Season with salt and simmer until liquid is thick.

To serve, place 1/3 c. hot brown rice in a bowl and spoon about 2/3 c. beans over. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, chili peppers, tomatoes, avocado sour cream and/or cilantro.

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Quick Re-fried Black Beans with Pumpkin & Tortillas

Arrived home last night after extended holiday travels.  So nice to be back to my kitchen!! Had great fun, but waaaaay too many restaurant meals.  Came home to an almost empty larder, and with three hungry kids I had to improvise a little at breakfast.  Found corn tortillas and cheddar cheese in the freezer, a can of vegetarian re-fried black beans in the pantry.  Beans and tortillas? Not quite enough. But wait, is that a can of pumpkin pureé? Hmmm…

1 T. butter
Small clove garlic, minced
1-2 T. ground chili powder
15 oz. can re-fried black beans
1 c. pumpkin pureé
3 T. ketchup
3 T. shredded cheddar cheese ( or to taste)

Put butter in a glass pie plate and place in oven. Turn oven on to 375°F. When butter has melted, add garlic and chili powder and return to oven to warm, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and add beans, pumpkin puree, and ketchup to pan. Mix well. Spread to an even layer and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with steamed corn tortillas.

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Secret Ingredient Brownies

Craving something sweet.  Made these for after-school snacks. Will freeze any extra for lunch-box treats. 

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed very well and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 T. canola oil
  • 1+ c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. spiced rum (opt.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • salt (opt)
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries, soaked to plump in spiced rum or water and drained (opt)
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts (opt), combined with 1 tsp. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 ^ F.  Coat 8×8″ pan with cooking spray.

Place black beans bowl of a food processor and process until a paste forms.  Add eggs, oil,  1 c. sugar, cocoa powder, brown rice flour, xantham gum and baking powder.  Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.  Add spiced rum (if using) and vanilla and almond extracts.  Process to combine.  Taste.  Add salt and more sugar if needed.  Fold in dried cherries and walnuts, if using. Spread in prepared pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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