Chef Kirsten Helle | Healthy bean cake recipe
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Healthy Southwest Bean and Vegetable Cakes + Meeting Alton Brown

Hopelink is one of the local nonprofits that is close to my heart. They touch the lives of so many, it is an honor of mine to do what I can to serve them.


In late October, Alton Brown gave an inspiring speech at the Hopelink luncheon . The room rose to their feet not only to applaud his words, but also thank the many people who have used the services of Hopelink and got a fresh new start.


The night before the luncheon I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner with Alton and some special attendees. Alton was charming and gracious, even getting up to serve our table bread. We had a delicious dinner, but I had a surprise addition to the appetizer menu. Next to the delicious crab cakes, oysters and tuna sashimi I set out some small Southwestern Bean and Vegetable cakes. The same recipe that I made at the food bank cooking class the very next day. Alton said they were “very good!” and I hope you also enjoy them!


This is one of the recipes I shared at the cooking classes that I give monthly at the Hopelink food bank. I design the recipes using mostly foods that people can get at the food bank, plus maybe a few budget friendly additions. I know what its like to have to stretch your dollars, so I hope to help the patrons learn a few healthy recipes they can make to bring a delicious, budget friendly meal to their family table.




  • 1 cup flour, plus additional for coating
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped up very fine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 lime, juiced (optional)
  • Oil for cooking



Place 1 cup flour, egg, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, chili powder and salt (and lime juice if using) into a bowl. Mash with the back of a fork or a potato masher until nice and squishy.


Form into 8 patties, set aside.


Get the oil into the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile place a bit of flourĀ onto a plate and tap the patties into the flour on both sides, tap off excess.


Cook in the warm oil until browned and crispy on the first side, flip and cook until browned and crispy on the other side. Enjoy!

*Note: Substitute frozen vegetables for canned if that is what you have.

Enjoy this recipe? Discover Chef Kirsten’s Meal Plans.

Alton Brown and Chef Kirsten Helle

Hopelink Chef Kirsten food bank cooking class

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