Dinner Tonight: Spicy Black Bean Cakes Recipe

Dinner Tonight

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Dinner Tonight: Spicy Black Bean Cakes Recipe

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I've been talking smack about this recipe for months. Whenever my wife and I can't decide what to make for dinner, she'll lobby hard for this one—and it makes sense. I love black beans and we tend to have the rest of the ingredients around the house. It's a perfect pantry meal. The only problem? I couldn't picture how they'd turn out. I feared they would become chalky and dry like hockey pucks.

But that couldn't be further from the case for this Epicurious recipe. Perhaps stuffing them with loads of veggies and chiles helps them stay moist.

My only criticism? The "spicy" label is a misnomer. Unless you think "medium" packaged salsa is spicy, then you'll need to add some firepower of your own. Hot sauce these guys at will.

  • Yield:4


  • 2 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 scallions, white parts removed, green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa of your choice
  • Hot sauce (optional)


  1. 1.

    Toss the beans into a large bowl. Mash them up coarsely with a potato masher or just a large wooden spoon. Add the scallions, belle pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. 2.

    Add the egg and 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal. Mix well.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

    Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add as many of the cakes as can comfortably fit in one layer. Cook for about 6 minutes a side. They break easily, so be careful when you flip. Drain the cakes on a paper towel when done. Repeat with the remaining cakes.

  5. 5.

    Serve with salsa and sour cream, and maybe a little hot sauce, too.