Red Bean Cakes with Creamy Coconut Sauce

Beans and rice are an inexpensive and nourishing staple food in many regions of the world. Here they are blended with piquant spices and formed into cakes that are served with a delectable rich coconut sauce.

Rice and beans with a zesty twist–and using canned beans means you can make them in practically no time. Tasty, vegan, and substantial.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked or one 15-ounce can pinto, kidney, or other red beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cold cooked white or brown rice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, paprika, thyme, and cayenne. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

2. In a food processor, combine the beans, rice, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste, and sautéed onion mixture. Pulse to blend, leaving some texture intact. Shape into patties and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bean cakes and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides. 7 to 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

4. Place the almonds and shallots in a blender and grind into a paste. Add the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until hot.

5. Transfer the bean cakes to a platter, pour the sauce over them, and serve.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2003).

Adapted from Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Robin Robertson. Reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press.

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Julie Crispin
Julie Crispin1 years ago

I made this recipe last night - and doubled it for the family. First off - the sauce was most excellent - I added a dash of cayenne. The flavor of the cakes was outstanding - and loved all the healthy ingredients. But the texture was not to be desired. I recommend using brown rice - not white. I don't recommend using a food processor - it just made a big pile of mush. Next time I'll use a masher so that there is some texture or just my hands. The whole family loved the taste and said to make it again! Just need to work on texture.

Melanie Wolfahrt
Melanie Wolfahrt2 years ago

Thank you for the recipe, sounds really interesting

Marie W.
Marie W.3 years ago


Diane S.
Diane S.3 years ago

Nice recipe !

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Yummy! Love this recipe. Thanks.

Isoke Harris
Isoke Harris7 years ago

I grew up eating red bean soup with dumplings that traditionally had pork in it, but vegetarians or non-pork eaters use coconut milk. It has far more "fat" than this recipe. I still eat this way and would savor this recipe with a smile on my face. I have 4 children and weigh 115lbs. Go Yoga!!! Eat good! Chase your kids! Thanks you Annie B for a delicious recipe. Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

KT Bray
KT Bray7 years ago

To save on the fat of the coconut milk I made a dill/cucumber/yogurt sauce that was awsome on the bean cakes. I put everything over rice and it filled my family all day.

Ann M.
Ann M.7 years ago

I will try this recipe and modify it if I feel necessary relative to how I eat. Are we all totally consumed with how much fat, carbs, etc. are in something without being able to eyeball it or to use some restraint in eating? Do you eat in restaurants? Curious about that.

Gladys G.
Gladys G.7 years ago

Great point, Marion!

Marion R.
Marion R.7 years ago

hey Linda S.
there's more to life than counting carbs and fat. Like wholesome ingredients and enjoying a normal-sized portion of a great meal.