Polenta Black Bean Cakes with Orange Basil Salsa

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For the Salsa

  • 2 oranges, peeled, sectioned and diced (I used some orange zest too)
  • 1 lg. tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds/viens removed, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbls. chopped basil
  • 1 Tbls. chopped mint
  • 1 Tbls. lime juice (I also used the zest)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Black Bean Cakes

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C. bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced (I used a combo of red and orange bell pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • fresh ground black pepper

For the Polenta

  • 1 tube pre-made polenta, sliced in 1/4′ slices
  • 1 Tbls. olive oil
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese


Make the salsa

  1. Combine all the salsa ingredients in bowl. Let it sit in refrigerator at least an hour for flavors to combine.

Make the black bean cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. In blender or food processor, combine 1 cup beans with the eggs. Blend to smooth puree.
  3. In bowl, combine remaining whole beans and bean/egg mixture.
  4. In saute pan, heat about 1 Tbls. olive oil and sautee onion, bell pepper, and garlic until soft. Add salt, pepper and cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Add vegetable mixture and bread crumbs to black bean mixture and stir well to combine.
  6. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly oil baking sheet.
  7. Scoop about 1/4 c. of bean mixture onto sheet and flatten into patty shape. Continue making patties until bean mixture is used up, you’ll get about 16 patties.
  8. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, flip patties over and bake another 10 minutes. Keep patties warm.

Make the polenta

  1. In pan, heat about 1 Tbls. olive oil. Add polenta slices in single layer (you will need to do this in batches). Fry until crispy, then flip and fry the other side.
  2. While the second side is cooking, top the polenta slices with some crumbled goat cheese so it will heat up and start to melt.


  1. Place polenta slice on platter, top each slice with warm black bean cake, then top each with a spoonful of the orange basil salsa.


Recipe adapted from Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures