Monday, July 28, 2014

Black Bean and Lentil Cakes

I have been making these lentil cakes for years now, never writing anything down. As a private chef I tend to getting working in the kitchen and try to get everything done on schedule, and there just isn't extra time for making notes. When you have been cooking awhile, especially in commercial kitchens, you go in knowing the basics of the recipes you need to make and then you just season and tweak until its perfect. How much salt did I just put in there? I don't know... enough to make it taste just right. 

I recently spent some time in Hood River, Oregon, cooking for two First Descents retreats.  They provide "outdoor adventure experiences for young adult cancer fighters and survivors designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same".  It was a life changing two weeks and if you don't already know about them, you should.  I will write more about them later.

I made these lentil cakes for the vegetarians on Burger Night, but I saw them on the plates of the meat eaters too. Even though I eat meat, I love these as a leftover snack the next day, hot or cold. I was asked for the recipe, so it was time to sit down and finally iron out the details. 

Black Bean and Lentil Cakes
Makes 8 cakes


2 tsp olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped small
1 medium carrot, chopped small
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 can black beans, 15oz
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked French green lentils, or Beluga lentils
1 tsp rice flour (optional)
1 tsp tapioca flour  (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat small saute pan over medium heat, once hot, add olive oil and onion and saute until onion softens, about 1 minute,  then add carrot and cook 2 more minutes stirring frequently. Then add garlic, stir, and turn off heat. Let cool.

Place black beans in food processor with cumin, paprika, thyme, salt and parsley and process until smooth.  Add the onion mixture and lentils and pulse until incorporated.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with oil to give a light coating.

Using an ice cream scoop, form into balls and place on baking sheet.  (My scoop holds about 1/3 t0 1/2 cup. If you have a smaller scoop that is fine, you will end up with more patties. And if you don't have a scoop at all, then just form the balls with your hands.)

Press down on ball to form patties about ½ inch high, pinching to close up any major cracks along the edges. If mixture breaks apart too easily, add the flours, and mix again. Repeat until all of the black bean mix has been used.

Place in lower half of oven, this will help the bottoms to brown, and bake for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven and carefully flip patties over with a large spatula, the patties may still be soft, so be careful not to break them.  Place back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

I like to serve these with a little basil mixed into some crème fraiche (for the dairy eaters) or my remoulade (fancy name for tartar sauce made with cashew creme). A chipotle mayo could be good, or guacamole seasoned with a little hot sauce like Lucky Dog Dia Del Perro.


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