February 19, 2007

Black Bean Cakes - Gluten Free With A Variety of Lime Cilantro Toppings

As a family we made a New Year's Resolution to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our daily eating. We also resolved to eat at least one vegetarian meal per week. This is a challenge for some of our small family, because they already get experimental gluten-free meals. However, they have agreed to do this for the good of our health and for the planet.

I had been looking for family pleasing recipes when I found one for Black Bean Cakes that I wanted to try out. This recipe had the makings of something my crew would really enjoy as it contained black beans and cornmeal. The original recipe came from Gourmet Magazine and was used on Sarah Moulton's Food Network show with her recipe for a Spicy Cilantro Sauce.

I adapted the Black Bean Cake recipe so that it was gluten and nightshade plant free. I will list those ingredients as optional in the recipe.

Black Bean Cake Recipe

2 Tb butter
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sweet yellow corn
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cream, milk or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
Oil for frying black bean cakes in skillet

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic until soft. In a large mixing bowl, pour in about 1/3 of the black beans and mash with a fork or potato masher. Then add the other ingredients and blend. Place sheets of parchment paper on the counter and by spoonfuls place the black bean mixture on the paper. Pat the spoonfuls into small patties. In a large skillet, pour in your oil for frying until there is enough to cover the bottom of the pan and is about 1/8" to 1/4" up the side of the skillet. Heat the oil. Using a spatula, place 4 to 5 black bean cakes in the skillet to cook. Make sure there is room around the cakes. Cook until golden brown. Place the cooked cakes on a paper towel to drain. Continue cooking the cakes in batches until the are all done.

Spicy Cilantro Sauce

1 cup cilantro, minced
1/3 cup oil
3 Tb gluten free Tamari sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 jalapeno chile, minced

Mix the ingredients together. Make sure to stir before serving.

Three of my taste testers loved the Black Bean Cakes. My daughter didn't like them, mainly because of the cilantro. When we added the sauce, we all agreed that the sauce was rather unpleasantly oily. The overall flavor of the the oily sauce with the fried cakes was just too much.

We vowed to experiment with sauces on our left overs. We tried three other sauces, a Lime Cilantro Topping with Coconut Milk, Lime Cilantro Topping with Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil, and last was the Lime Cilantro Topping with Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil with Green Salsa. Each of these toppings have the same base, but the liquids are different.

Lime Cilantro Topping Base Recipe

1/2 cup cilantro, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Lime Cilantro Topping with Coconut Milk: Add 3 Tb Coconut Milk, adjust for taste.

Lime Cilantro Topping with Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil: Add 1 Tb Red Wine Vinegar, 2 Tb Olive Oil. Adjust to taste.

Lime Cilantro Topping with Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil & Green Salsa: Take the above recipe and add about 1/4 cup green salsa, start with a little less and adjust for taste.

My son wouldn't participate in the new sauce test tasting, although he kept eating the cakes. My daughter chose to eat taquitos instead. So the tasting results are from my husband and myself. The Coconut Milk Topping my husband didn't care for, although I thought it had a nice mild flavor. However, it didn't enhance the flavor of the bean cakes. Next was the Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil Topping, which we both thought was better than the Coconut Milk Topping although it was still missing something. We got the idea to add green salsa to the Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil Topping and that was a great mix. It complemented the black bean cakes beautifully and wasn't oily.


Sheri said...

These look really good, but I honestly can't stand cilantro. I might try them without.

Happy Homemaker said...

I love black bean cakes!!! Yum! The kiddos aren't so crazy about them.