Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Black Bean and Farro Cakes Recipe

January 22, 2010
This recipe caught my eye in the November 2008 issue of Food and Wine Magazine. It was accompanying a story about Rancho Gordo beans, an heirloom bean grower in Napa, California. When I dream about the food I miss from San Francisco, Rancho Gordo beans are right up there along with Miette gingerbread cupcakes and well, vegetables.

I like to serve these black bean cakes with a crunchy cole slaw, but they would also work as veggie burgers with a creamy sandwich spread, or for breakfast with a fried egg and a couple slices of avocado.

Thinking Ahead: The black beans are best soaked overnight before they are cooked, so plan accordingly. The cakes can be made up to a day in advance, just form them, cover and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, remove from the fridge, fry and eat. 

Black Bean and Farro Cakes Recipe

Yield: 6

Creamy black beans and chewy farro combine in these delicious vegetarian cakes that are pan-fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine


  • 2 cups black beans, picked over and soaked overnight
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup farro
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Place beans in a large saucepan and cover them by a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about an hour. Season with salt and let sit for about 5 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add farro and toast, stirring constantly, until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Cover with water by a couple inches and season with salt. Simmer until grains have begun to pop open and are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and starting to brown.
  4. Combine half of the beans, the farro, onion mixture, eggs, bread, 1 teaspoon of salt, and herbs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse into a chunky puree and remove to a separate bowl. Add remaining black beans to food processor and pulse a couple of times to break up the beans. Add to bean mixture and stir to combine. Form the mixture into 8 large patties, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
  5. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add half of the cakes and fry on one side until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove from pan and add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to pan. Add remaining black bean cakes and fry until browned and crispy on both sides.

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