Meatless Monday: Black Bean Polenta Cakes

This entry was posted on Jun 26, 2017 by Charlotte Bell.

Black Bean Polenta CakesMost of the time, life necessitates that I make quick meals. But once in a while, I have a few hours to try something that takes some time. I saw this recipe in Forks Over Knives magazine, an offshoot of the documentary of the same name.

When I saw the photo of these little polenta cakes, I knew I had to try them, although I was a bit apprehensive when I read the subhead, “Ready in 2 hours and 15 minutes.” But as I read the recipe I realized that much of that time is inactive, for example, waiting an hour while the polenta chills and sets, and 30 minutes while it bakes. I could easily do other things during chilling and baking time.

This recipe made enough for several meals for my partner and me. I baked all the polenta cakes on the day I made them and then reheated them in my countertop convection oven the next day, for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.

I added a green salad with a homemade lime-cumin dressing (recipe below) to the meal. You can, of course, use homemade salsa and/or guacamole on the cakes, but substituting fresh store-bought condiments works too.

Meatless Monday: Polenta-Black Bean Medallions

  • 4-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup chopped leek, white part only
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • tomato salsa
  • guacamole
  1. In a large saucepan combine 1/2 cup of the broth and the next six ingredients (through the pepper). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered 2 to 3 minutes or until leek is tender. Add the remaining 4 cups broth. Return to boiling.
  2. Slowly add polenta to boiling broth mixture, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, 30 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Gently stir in beans and lemon juice and season with salt. Cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread polenta on one of the prepared baking sheets until 1/2-inch thick. Cool. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter (I used the can that the beans came in), cut polenta into 9 or 10 rounds; place on the remaining prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and golden, turning once. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette (adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • grated zest of 2 limes
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
  • 1/2 jalapeño chili
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the garlic, lime zest and juice, onion and chili in a jar.
  2. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pay until fragrant, then immediate remove them to a plate to cool. Grind to a powder in a spice mill, then add to the juice mixture.
  3. Add the oil, put a lid on your jar, and shake vigorously.
  4. Let the dressing sit for at least 15 minutes and add the cilantro just before serving.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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