Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Black bean patties with pineapple guacamole


Last year, my husband picked up a wonderful (autographed!) cookbook called Clean Food, by Terry Walters. The recipes are sorted by season, with emphasis on eating what is grown closest to home and sustainable as possible. It's a lovely book. Despite the lack of pictures, when you read the recipes you can imagine exactly how they will look and taste, which I love in a cookbook. I hadn't even noticed until recently that it's also vegan. That's a damn good cookbook!

Being good Southerners, we are big fans of shaping things into patties and pan frying them. Beans are great for this. I made the insanely delicious black-eyed pea cakes from Martha Foose's beautiful cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea the other night, but didn't photograph it. They were a huge hit with us. Buy that book and make them before fresh black-eyed peas disappear. Anyway, these are the same concept, different flavors.

Talking the talk is well and good, but I've decided it's time to walk the walk on the issue of eating less meat. Brilliant omnivore with a dilemma Michael Pollan sums it up thusly: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Minimalist who knows how to cook everything Mark Bittman (who has a hilarious and awesome show on Cooking Channel) is vegan before dinnertime. And anyone who's seen Food, Inc can tell you that breaking our habit of eating meat every day (or every meal, for some) is an all around good thing; good for our bodies, good for the planet, and obviously, good for the animals.

This is a great weeknight recipe. You won't miss meat at all. The guacamole is fantastic, I love the combination of spicy jalapeno and sweet pineapple. I may add a little minced pineapple to all my guacamole from now on. I made very few changes, only due to lack of materials and to collapse some steps out of sheer laziness. I left out the jicama, because I didn't have one, and used a roasted hatch chile in place of a roasted red pepper because I grabbed them on impulse had no idea what else to do with them. I still have a few left, any suggestions?

I served with a big bowl of cold watermelon, it was a great complement.

1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 roasted hatch chile, skin peeled off, seeded and chopped
1/2 a jalapeno, seeded and minced (you will use the other half in the patties)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (do 1/2 a cup, you use it in the patties too)
~ 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
the other 1/2 of the jalapeno, roughly chopped
1/4 a small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (from above)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/3 cup cornmeal or bread crumbs (I went with cornmeal)

First of all, grind your flax and get it soaking in a small bowl with two tablespoons of water for 20 minutes. At first I had no idea why, but after 20 minutes, I figured it out - the flax turns into a gluey sticky mess, which holds the patties together. Neat-o!

While that's happening, combine all of the ingredients for the guacamole, season with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black and taste. Terry makes a suggestion here that I haven't heard before (and I accidentally tossed the pit before I could try it) to place the pit on top of the guacamole to keep it from browning. Hm! Anyway, I just used my ole faithful method, plastic wrap pressed down into contact with the surface of the guacamole. Pop into the fridge.

Chop your watermelon and also pop that into the fridge to chill.

Combine the garlic, jalapeno, and onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the cilantro and cumin and pulse a few more times. Next add half of the black beans and all of the cornmeal or bread crumbs and pulse again until just combined, not smooth. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and add the soaked flax, other half of the black beans, and a good pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently mix to combine. Form into four thin, equal-sized patties.

When you're ready to eat, heat a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. When hot, fry the patties for three or four minutes on each side, until dark brown and crisp. Serve slathered with the pineapple guacamole and cold juicy watermelon on the side.

Serves 2, takes half an hour.


  1. We are trying to limit our meat and this looks terrific. I LOVE the idea of mashing the seeds with water to bind the beans. They always seem to break up on me. I wonder if it would work with sunflower seeds, which I have in the house?

    Love your blog - it is gorgeous!


  2. I'm addicted to veggie patties lately and these look scrumptious! Beautiful flavours in the guacamole too!!

  3. My family loves these black bean patties, too, and I hope you continue to enjoy your other CLEAN FOOD creations! When you're ready, my second book, CLEAN START (which is also gluten-free) is full of pictures!

    In the meantime, I wanted to let Patti know that flax seeds, when ground and mixed with water, become gelatinous...similar to an egg. While sunflower seeds have a different consistency, they would add great protein and fat to this recipe and as long as you have a light touch, I think the patties would hold together just fine!

    Eat clean live well!


  4. i love the clean food cookbook!

  5. Me too! :)

    Thanks for the comment, Terry! And YAY pictures!!