Spicy Black Bean Patties 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Dinner in Minutes Mar 19, 2014

The next time I'm asked to recommend a cookbook for beginners, this one will be at the top of my list: "The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook." The all-volunteer effort is geared toward customers in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Its simple, seasonal recipes call for farmers market items and inexpensive pantry ingredients. They are accompanied by handsome photographs and were curated by JuJu Harris, the culinary educator and SNAP outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture in Alexandria.

The project was underwritten by Bon Appetit Management; the book is a bargain at $20. Order it online at arcadiafood.org/order-arcadia-mobile-market-seasonal-cookbook, or pick up a copy from Arcadia's Mobile Market, a school bus turned into a rolling farm stand that serves D.C. neighborhoods lacking easy access to locally grown, sustainable foods.

These patties achieve a thin, crisp crust under the broiler. Canned beans are the go-to for a quick rendition, but of course home-cooked beans would be even kinder to the budget.

Serve two patties with a crunchy salad, or put one in a pita or on a toasted whole-wheat bun.

Make Ahead: It's best to cook the patties, then cool before freezing for longer-term storage. Reheat in a skillet or in the oven.

4 - 8

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: 4-8 servings; makes 8 patties

  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 28 to 29 ounces canned, no-salt-added black beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs (may substitute panko)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Cut the onion in half, then into very thin slices. Mince the garlic or run it through a garlic press. Peel the sweet potato, then use the large-holed side of a box grater to grate it; the yield should be 2 cups.

Drain and rinse the black beans, then place them in a mixing bowl.

Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then grease it lightly with cooking oil spray.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat; cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the garlic, hot sauce and cumin. Cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of black beans. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash most of the beans and blend in the onion mixture.

Lightly beat the eggs, then add them to the bowl, along with the sweet potato and bread crumbs. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Use clean hands to divide the mixture into 8 equal balls, then flatten the balls into patties, arranging them on the baking sheet spaced about 1/2 inch apart as you work. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisped and golden brown; use a thin metal spatula to turn them over, then broil for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.

Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook," by JuJu Harris (The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, 2014).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.