Black Bean Cakes are a vegetarian dream packed with protein, affordable and full of flavor!
Getting a lot of protein when you’re a vegetarian isn’t always easy. Most restaurants load you down with tons of bread and pasta or offer you bland tofu or bean dishes. Often when cooking at home you rely on the same few recipes that you know your family will eat rarely making vegetarian cuisine a win. We have been making Black Bean Cakes since Kenya was just a lanky toddler. He would sit there holding on to his Black Bean Cakes with two little hands nibbling and babbling away. It still makes me so happy to think about I want to eat him up!
For this Rewind Wednesday I wanted to share one of our all time favorites. Yes, they’re a super friendly toddler recipe, but also a hit with adults. You can stack them high and layer them with plenty of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, greek yogurt, cotija cheese or other favorite toppings. These savory cakes pack not only a power punch of protein, but plenty of flavor and fun in every bite!
One of Kenya’s (many) favorite foods are black beans. He loves them with brown rice or quesadillas, or even just on their own. I wanted to come up with another fun way for him to enjoy them.
Beans are an incredible source of fiber and iron and because of their soft texture they’re perfect for forming into these little black bean cakes. Sometimes I find it hard to come up with delicious vegetarian recipes which are truly filling, but these totally fit the bill.
I love serving these to Kenya with a little guacamol-wee and sour cream for him to dip in.
Trust me, the only major problem I had making these was keeping my husband away from them. Luckily, most of the ingredients are things I keep on hand, so I quickly cooked up an extra batch so we would all have plenty to munch on at dinner and throughout the next day.
Photos by Matt Armendariz
Black Bean Cakes
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ear of corn, cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup cilantro, packed
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor and puree.
- Heat a large saute pan over low to medium heat with 1-2 tbsp oil.
- Place 1 Tbsp of the bean mixture in the pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture into an even circle (the size and shape of a pancake).
- Cook for 3 minutes.
- Flip on the other side and cook another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
- Cook remaining patties, adding about 1 tbsp oil for each batch, and move to a plate.
- Cool and serve.
- *Allow to cool, transfer to a ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or heat in oven for 10 minutes at 300.
Do you happen to know the nutritional information on this? Specifically proteins, carbohydrates and calories and fat count?
Thank you!!! Yes, these are so hard to get right. The update to the recipe should be made with your modifications. Still mushy, but actually workable. They also need to be much thinner than I originally thought.
I was really excited for these but could not get them to cook through. The outsides were cooked but when I cut into them they were still pureed mush inside. How thick are they suppose to be after you spread them out? I tried to make them as thin as possible, but they kept sticking to the spoon and lifting off the pan, which made it really difficult to spread out. I got a couple to sort of cook through but they were practically wafer thin, nothing like your pictures. Could you make a video the next time you cook these? The little bit I tasted had fantastic flavor, so I would really like to my little one to be able to eat them. Thanks.
Do not waste your time using this recipe. The cakes all crumbled and as a result were inedible.
I just made these and my 5 year old absolutely loved them. We’ll see what our two year old thinks. As for my wife and I, we both thought they were pretty bland, however we can see how they’d be much better with guacamole, sour cream, salsa etc.
I made some initial patties which ended up being too thin, think wafer cracker thin. They absorbed the oil and tasted like it, so don’t make that mistake.
Next I made some thicker patties the size of my 5 year old’s palm and about 1/2″-1″ thick. Those turned out the best.
Finally I made some which I baked at 375F for 14 minutes and they turned out fine, but I much preferred the end result when pan fried.
I didn’t have trouble with crumbling, but I heated the oil ahead and cooked them like a grilled cheese sandwich, until nice and browned and crispy on one side before flipping.
All in all a solid recipe for the intended budding foodies.
For everyone with consistency issues–I modified the recipe which helped significantly.
-5 TBSP of breadcrumbs
– 3/4 cup of cheese
Hope this helps someone else out there experiencing crumbly patties! My toddler loves these.
Cool, great tips!
I too wanted to try these baked instead of fried.. for those of you wondering, I used cooking spray on a sheet pan and baked at 350 degrees for 12 minutes; then flipped, and baked another 6 minutes. They seem to have turned out just right!
So glad these were a hit!
I just made a variation of these without the cheese for my dairy-free toddler and they were a hit! They stuck together just fine also. I used pre-made refried black beans (a happy/organic one) and so didn’t need to use the blender – the corn looked pretty not blended up.
It is quinoa tossed with cucumbers and tomatoes 🙂
Which quinoa salad is in the picture?
This would work just fine without the corn. You can simply omit it!
I am not allowed to eat corn – would this recipe work without the corn? Or is there something I could substitute in?? They sound soooo delicious!!!
Try it and let me know how you like it!
hmmm….an interesting recipe – i’ve got to try this one!
I hope your family loves them as much as mine does!
Nice and simple. Thank you.
Is there a way to make these without using a food processor or blender?
I think I need to try these again. Cooked mine forever and then never cooked through until the outside was burnt.
Is there a way to bake these? Like in a muffin pan?
I’ve made these twice. The first time they fell apart and weren’t easy to work with, but LO loved them. So I just made a second batch and accidentally forgot to add the egg. It managed to bind together nicely, but still had a tough time working with the batter with the cheese. I found working with a hot pan and a lot of oil helped firm up the edges and cook them faster.
Catharine was right… Mine were crumbly at first but I hadn’t let the oil heat up. Once I did they worked like a charm.
I had the same problem with them being crumbly/falling apart. Cooking them longer helped, but still not great. They are tasty though, and super easy. Can’t wait to see if the kid likes them.
The cheese is there for flavor, so you should be fine to just omit the cheese! If you want the cheesy flavor, you can try adding about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast!
I just found this recipe and am excited to try it out. My son is allergic to dairy, so I’d like to omit the cheese. Would I need to make adjustments on any of the other ingredients to make up for this?
Did anyone figure out why these weren’t working? I made them tonight and because of comments made sure to follow directions. These didn’t work at all. They were so sticky and gooey, had to throw them out because I couldn’t tell if the egg was even cooked. 🙁 only weelicious recipe fail so far….
I made these for the second time tonight and they were perfect! I used an immersion blender to make them (don’t have a food processor) and it worked perfectly. I think there is a learning curve to cooking them, but the second time around, they turned out just right. My nearly 2-year-old proclaimed them ‘yummy’ and I agree!
I made these out of the cook book last night and they were fantastic! I didn’t have any problem with them holding together – I did add a slight bit more cheese and made them the size recommended. Can’t wait to eat them for lunch today! Thanks!!
I make so many of your recipes for my daughter, but this one just won’t work. They won’t stay together and they are mushy. Did I do something wrong? Glad to see others had the same issue.
We love these.
Though the cakes don’t stay together, I just cook a a bunch at a time and make like a hash. It is quicker that way and the girls will eat this whether it is in cake form or not.. They love it. They eat in a wrap, or right off their plate. With, of course, some sour cream 🙂
Without being there I can’t know for sure what went wrong. Did you let the oil in the pan heat up before placing the black bean mixture in it? If the oil was too cold the black beans would just absorb the oil instead of cooking and getting that crisp coating! How thin did you make the cakes? Too thin and they’ll cook too quickly and possibly fall apart. Too thick and they’ll take longer to cook or cook unevenly.
These just fell apart…i followed the recipe exactly…it was still like mush. Any suggestions on what I could do better?
Just stumbled upon your post today and I can’t wait to try these recipes with my little ones. Thank you for the helpful info.
These are another freezer staple in our house. Sometimes they are wetter than others so, we may use more bread crumbs. The key is to let them sit a while before you try to flip and don’t make them too big, like a scant tablespoon at the most. My daughter has been eating these since 11 months and LOVES them.
These were excellent! I don’t have a food processor so I used my blender. I didn’t use oil on my pan as I have a non-stick griddle. When I tried to flip the first one it started to crumble, but I left them for a few more minutes and then they were easily flipped. Delicious, will definitely make these again!
Made these tonight… Same crumbling issues as the other posters. Catherine: In your response to one poster, you mentioned that these could be baked instead of pan fried. Can you please post the correct oven temp and cooking time for baking them? I’d love to try again… and prefer to bake instead of fry when possible anyway 🙂 Thanks! Your website is fantastic and so helpful!
I haven’t tried these yet, but what about leaving out the egg and bread crumbs when you puree in the food processor, and simply stirring them in by hand. Sees like this might help with some of the crumbling issues. This is how I used to make all sorts of similar dishes when my now 2 year old was starting finger foods. I’ll have to give it a try and report back.
Superior thinking detnmstraoed above. Thanks!
Love the flavor of these but had the same crumble issues as the ladies above. Would love to figure out how to bake them to avoid them breaking apart in the future. I did notice they firmed up a bit when allowed to cool but still turned out a bit of a mess. Hope my son likes them anyway!
Potato starch may help also.
Unfortunately, the egg is the binder in the recipe and you really need it to hold it together. How old if your wee one? You can try 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp of water and see how that works but I have not tested it so I wouldn’t be so sure. Let me know if you need help with other finger food recipes 🙂
Are there any good substitutes for the egg in this recipe? I think it would be great finger food but can’t use the egg, at least not right now.
Have you (or has anyone else that might read this) tried baking these rather than pan-frying them? It’s very labor intensive, especially without owning a griddle pan.
I tried these today and had the same problem with them falling apart in the pan. I also wasn’t crazy about using so much oil, so I decided to make them on the griddle that I normally use for pancakes. A bit difficult to manuever into a pancake on the pan (no matter which one I used), but they taste great.
Thank you for your great post! It has been very useful. I wish that you will continue posting your knowledge with us.
yes they can 🙂
these are so good. my whole family loves them. do you think they could be baked?
Oh, see I put the oil into the batter. Bet that had a lot to do with my problems. I read “Put all the ingredients into a food processer and puree” and then put all the indegredients including the oil listed into the food processer. Thank you so much for clarifying. I will try it next time without the oil in the batter and perhaps I will have better luck! My 9 month old gobbled them up for lunch today. I am sure I will be making a new batch soon 🙂
The 1 tbsp is for the pan. You have to let it set on one side before flipping. But thanks for letting me know! I’m happy you enjoyed the flavor 🙂
I had the same problem with my first attempt. Is the 1 tbsp of oil listed in the ingredient list supposed to go in the batter or is it for the pan? I ended up adding more bread crumbs. I made them very small, about the size of a silver dollar. I also cooked them for 6 minutes on the first side and then 3-5 minutes on the second side. The flavor was great.
I had the same crumble issues too! I thought I should have used another egg. I ended up adding half a cup of cheese and using wet hands to shape the “dough” into little burger shapes and I cooked them for at least double the recommended time. Hope that helps. My daughter is a fiend for these I give them to her with salsa and they disappear!
I’m just making them right now, you have to make sure that they fully set for 3 minutes before you flip them and the pan is oiled. Did you cook them under low heat?
So I made these last night. They were good but when I went to flip them over in the pan after cooking on one side for a few minutes, they totally fell apart! 🙁 What’s the deal? I followed the recipe exactly. Any tips? Thanks!!
I love the black bean cakes recipe. I made it for my daughter’s lunch. I used food coloring to color the sour cream so I could make a flower on the top. Sour cream petals, guac leaf, and cheddar cheese center. I know they aren’t beautiful, but I am pretty excited about it.
Great little salad. We are huge kale fans, but tend to only eat it in the wtneir. Adding this to our must make kale list. Love the addition of cranberries and pepitas alongside creamy avocado.
1/4 cup of cilantro?