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Corn Cakes With Black Bean Spread

Corn Cakes With Black Bean Spread 4.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Feb 27, 2017

These easy, pan-fried masa cakes fall somewhere between South American arepas and Mexican sopes. The toppings are uber-flexible: Take the suggestions here or use your favorites.

When fresh corn is in season, grill a cob for this; when it's not, use frozen.

See the related recipe for Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde Cocida) linked below for an alternative sauce option. You'll need 1/4 cup for this dish.

Make Ahead: The masa dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before forming it into the cakes and pan-frying. You may have slightly more bean spread than you need for this recipe. The spread can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; let it come to room temperature before smearing on the cakes.

Where to Buy: Find masa harina at Latin markets or in the international aisle of most big grocery stores. Look for frozen grilled corn kernels at Whole Foods Market.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes eight 4-inch cakes

  • 1 cup masa harina (corn) flour, such as Maseca brand (see headnote)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup boiled, grilled or roasted corn kernels (fresh or frozen/defrosted; see headnote)
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked black beans (from one 15-ounce can no-salt-added), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimenton dulce; optional)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed shredded red or green cabbage (may substitute radicchio)
  • Flesh of 1 ripe Hass avocado, cubed, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde (see related recipes; may substitute salsa of your choice), for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (may substitute queso blanco), for garnish

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Whisk together the masa harina and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in the warm water until well incorporated. Stir in the corn; you might need to use your hands to form a dough with a Play-Doh-like consistency. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Combine the black beans, lime juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin and the smoked paprika, if using, in a food processor; pulse until the mixture is almost smooth. Taste, and add more salt and/or lime juice, as needed. The yield is about 1 1/4 cups.

Divide the masa dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball. Working with one at a time, place a ball between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Use your palm to gently press and flatten each ball into a cake about 4 inches wide and 1/4-inch thick.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil; once it shimmers, add as many cakes as you can fit without overcrowding, working in batches as necessary. Cover with a lid and cook until the corn cakes are browned in spots on the bottom, about 3 minutes.

Turn them over, cover and cook until the second sides are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the corn cakes to a platter. Add more oil, if necessary, between batches, and repeat with any remaining cakes.

Smear each corn cake with about 2 tablespoons of the black bean spread. Top with shredded cabbage, avocado, a drizzle of salsa verde and a little feta, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "One Part Plant," by Jessica Murnane (HarperWave, 2016).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (using 1 cup bean spread and 2 tablespoons oil): 270

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 9g 14%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 380mg 16%

Total Carbohydrates: 43g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 8g 32%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 10g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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