Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spicy Black Bean Cakes

Charleston 2008- In college, rules like, wear sunscreen, don't apply.

One thing that I miss a lot about college is the Dining Hall.  It's not so much the food that I miss but the guarantee that I would see one of my 200 closest friends every time I needed something to eat.  I would sometimes spend 2-3 hours in the DH having marathon meals where I floated from table to table catching up with every person that I had ever met (and a few I hadn't).

I could have achieved this same interaction in the library (oh, James B. Duke, how I miss the long nights glued to a computer in your 24 hour room), but Furman has a weird stigma about library socialization... at a minimum you had to pretend to study. Since I like to forgo false pretenses, I spent more time in the dining hall than the library.

Despite the time that I spent in the DH, I never got sick of the food.  Oh sure, there were days when the salad bar consisted of black olives, iceberg lettuce, and honey mustard dressing, but in all honesty, that's two more ingredients than I usually have on hand for salads these days anyhow.  

One dish, that never failed to impress me, was the black bean cakes which were essentially fried piles of black beans served with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and thousand island dressing.  I don't know why it always tasted so good, but I loved it.

When I returned to Minnesota post college, I never bothered to recreate the black bean dish, until I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where the chef creates black bean cakes, and I new that I needed to recreate it ASAP.  Now that I've finally got it right, I'm sharing with you.

Spicy Black Bean Cakes

1 1/4 Cups of Cooked Spicy Black Beans (if using unseasoned canned beans see note below)
5 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 Small Yellow Onion Diced
1 Jalepeno
1.5oz of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1.5T Olive Oil

Directions: 1. Saute Bell Peppers and yellow onion until onion is transluscent
2. Place Chipotle peppers, jalapeno, garlic and black beans in a food processor and grind for 10-20 pulses.  The garlic should be well integrated, and the beans should be broken down, but not mushy.
3. Combine bean puree and peppers and form into 6 patties
4. Fry patties in olive oil (about 4 minutes per side)
5. Serve with whatever sides you want, but fresh cilantro is a must.

Notes: If you are using canned beans, I recommend the addition of 1/2T Cumin and 1t Chile Powder

Other Recommendations: Sometimes I add red pepper flakes or a jalapeno pepper

Service Recommendations: Black Bean Cakes are a little one note on their own, so I recommend serving them with either a southwestern style salad, guacamole, rice, farro, or some other hearty component to the meal.  The flavors should be in the Tex-Mex category unless you choose to spice your black beans differently.


  1. Glad to know I wasn't the only one having marathon DH sessions :)

    1. We sometimes overlapped when I marathonned (sp) over breakfast, but I was more a dinnertime marathonner. I miss those days! Thanks for visiting the blog, I am always excited when Furman people say hey!