I have a habit of buying cilantro and never using it completely. I don't know why this is the case. I'm rather fond of cilantro. Its fresh flavor brightens up anything it lands on. But for some reason, it buries itself in my fridge under the lettuce or spinach, which always seem to get more attention. Then I find the cilantro later in the week and think of all the ways I should have used it. I remedied this situation by making a quick cilantro pesto to accompany little patties I had in mind. Many of you seemed to like my brown rice chickpea burgers. These are similar in nature but rather than making traditional burgers, I've made mini patties. They could be served as part of a main spread but would also work as an appetizer. Little sliders come to mind.
I've been making lots of these mini concoctions lately: mini quinoa patties, mini lentil patties, and mini bean patties. They appeal to me as they lend to excellent snacking, perfect for those times when you don't want a big meal but need something substantial to hold you over. I've never really been one to grab a handful of crackers and carry on. I run well on mini meals. These mini black bean patties are the perfect fuel.
While I often cook my beans from scratch, I've cheated here and used canned. I suspect many of you will do the same. The recipe calls for one can and if you have some leftover brown rice in your fridge, even better. The patties come together with red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime zest. They're quickly pan fried then topped with the cilantro pesto. It's bright, clean, and fresh tasting. I've used sunflower seeds in this pesto but you could experiment or use any nuts or seeds you have on hand. Sunflower seeds are a great thrifty trick for when pine nuts aren't in the budget. If you're not up for making the pesto, top them with avocado mashed with a little lemon or lime juice, which is equally as delicious. Happy grazing.
~Mini Black Bean Patties with Cilantro Pesto Recipe~
1 cup short grain brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
handful of cilantro, chopped
zest of 1 lime
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, add black beans and brown rice. Using a potato masher, mash black beans and brown rice together until they form a paste. Add in onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime zest. Add in the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Use your hands to combine. Form mixture into one large mass. Score the mixture with your hands, creating four equal portions. Separate each portion once more, giving you eight equal portions. Form eight mini round patties.
Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a skillet pan. Add the patties and cover. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes on the first side until the patties get a nice brown crust on them. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with cilantro pesto. Serves 2 as a main, 4 as an appetizer.
Cilantro Pesto Recipe
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Scrape down the sides as necessary until the ingredients are well combined. This makes a thick pesto. If you would like a runnier pesto, simply add more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.