Saturday, May 17, 2008

Black bean cakes with strawberry salsa

When I was a vegetarian in high school, it was easy. I just ate pasta all the time, and shook things up once in a while with couscous or rice. What we're attempting here is different, even beyond the fact that we're certainly not giving up meat completely: refined grains might still feature as a side dish from time to time, but we're trying to avoid putting them at the center of the plate.

So, I've been scouring the internet for vegetable dishes that can star on their own, and one of the first I came across was this recipe for black bean cakes, which I modified slightly (see below). They use brown rice and an egg to bind them, and the result was almost like a veggie burger, but more complex and flavorful, with a surprisingly appealing texture.

It's strawberry season, so I searched for a way to incorporate some into our meal, with the idea that balsamic vinegar might tame the sweetness enough to pair them with the bean cakes. I found a recipe that called for balsamic strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro, and of course I was sold.


Time: 40 minutes

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
3 chopped scallions
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine cooked rice, beans, scallions, cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic granules, salt, and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined. Add egg and continue to process until well combined. The mixture will be very soft. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Drop large spoonfuls of bean mixture into hot oil to form cakes.
3. Gently fry the cakes about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings (8 cakes)


Time: 5 minutes (with food processor, 15 without)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint fresh strawberries
8 green onions, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (absent a food processor, feel free just to chop everything by hand). Chill at least 1 hour.


that_girl_over_there May 24, 2008 at 10:10 AM  

I'm loving your blog so far! keep it up! I'm definitely going to try these black bean cakes with strawberry salsa for my love and I's sunday night dinner!
I'm totally bookmarking your blog!

Ali May 24, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

Thanks -- glad to hear you're loving it :)!

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