Black bean sweet potato cakes on a a bed of salad on a white plate

Black Bean Sweet Potato Cakes

The beauty of dishes like these is that they're so easily tailored to what you have on hand. This recipe was developed based on using spicy refried beans. Whether using plain or spicy, just keep tasting and adjusting the seasonings until you've hit upon the taste that's just right for you. I didn't have any cilantro on hand when I made these, otherwise I would have used it either alone or in combination with the chopped parsley.

Category Main Course
Keyword black bean cakes, legume cakes
Author © Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life 2014


  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 398 mL/14 oz can, spicy refried beans (see Note)
  • about 1/3 cup finely chopped onion or scallions
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 398 mL/14 oz can, black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • big handful flat-leaf parsley (and/or cilantro), finely chopped
  • olive oil, for brushing on the shaped cakes

How To Make This Recipe

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375℉. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into roughly 1-inch chunks, toss it with a bit of oil and roast at 400℉ for 30 to 40 minutes, or until nicely fork tender. If you're having sweet potato for dinner the day before, make extra to use in these cakes — that's kitchen smarts!

  3. Place the roasted and cooled sweet potato into a large mixing bowl and add the refried beans. Using a potato masher, mix together until well incorporated. Don't sweat it if there are some largish streaks of sweet potato … really, there are more important things in life.

  4. Add the prepped aromatics (onion, garlic and chili) and the black beans, as well as the pepper, salt and cumin. Stir together until the beans are evenly distributed, then taste and adjust the seasonings as required. Stir in the splash of vinegar and the parsley and/or cilantro.

  5. Using a 3-ounce ice cream scoop, place a mound of the mixture in the palm of one hand. Pat into a cake that's about 1/2-inch thick and nicely rounded (unlike the one with the jagged protuberance in my photos — oops). Brush a small amount of olive oil on it, then place the oiled side down on the baking sheet. Repeat, and once all the cakes have been formed, brush the tops with just a bit more oil.

  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve bottom-side up, or whichever side you think looks more attractive.

Recipe Notes