Bean Cakes You Can Depend On

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Travel-friendly food is an essential part of summer. Whether you are spending time away from home or preparing for a day trip to the park or beach, you need those simple recipes to make on the go.

When the pandemic first hit this spring, some of us found ourselves buying and eating a lot of beans, and for good reason. Canned or dried, beans are inexpensive, they keep well and one bag of dried beans makes many meals, which meant fewer nerve-racking trips to the grocery store.

If you stockpiled a little too hastily back in March, this recipe will help you work through those unused beans in your cabinet. It’s an easy vegetarian bean cake made with a blend of herbs, chile paste and mashed cooked beans, which are shaped into disks, then seared in a skillet until crisp. It needs no special equipment, and you can stroll into most markets from Coney Island to Cairo and find nearly every ingredient.

Harissa, which is folded in to the mixture to add a hint of smoke and pepper, is the one ingredient that may not be so easy to find everywhere, but gochujang, sofrito, red zhug, red curry, ancho paste or any thick chile paste that adds a dash of heat will work just as well.

Almost any comparably textured cooked beans will do — red, black, navy or cannellini. There are heirloom options to play with if they’re accessible to you: Jacob’s Cattle beans are easy to find in Maine, yellow-eyed beans in Vermont, Scarlet Runner and Christmas limas across the Southwest and Amish nuttle beans in Pennsylvania.

These crispy patties, which take about 45 minutes to prepare, are stellar topped with a fried egg for breakfast, alongside dressed greens for a light lunch or served on top of rice pilaf for dinner. It is a delicious, simple and adaptable recipe you can rely on as many of us juggle the shifting realities of work, school and play in an effort to find our “new normal.”

Recipe: Crispy Bean Cakes With Harissa, Lemon and Herbs

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