Saturday, October 24, 2009

Potato and White Bean Cakes

Tonight I wanted to make a potato and cabbage dish but wasn’t really certain which direction to go with dinner. Initially I was going to make colcannon but this didn’t feel very creative so I wanted to make something else.

When I was growing up my mother would make potato cakes from left over mashed potatoes from the prior night. Her version included eggs and was pan-fried. I decided that I would make a healthier version and that is what I did. I added white beans and tofu to increase the protein content. Additionally, I used the least amount of oil necessary to achieve a crispy exterior on the cakes. I omitted the flour my mother used to dredge the cakes in to keep them gluten free.

These cakes are nothing like my veggie burgers. They are light and tender, with a crispy exterior. My husband thought the cakes needed vital wheat gluten but that wasn’t the texture I was going for tonight. If you want a firmer cake add a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten and breadcrumbs to the cakes. Here is what I did.

Potato and White Bean Cakes
Makes 11 cakes


1 cup cannellini beans, sorted presoaked
water to cook the cannellini beans
3 large Yukon gold potatoes (approximately 1 pound), pierced several times with a knife
½ red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely diced
¼ - ½ water to cook the aromatics
12.3 ounces of firm organic silken tofu
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or canola) to brown cakes


Cook the cannellini beans in water until tender. Then drain and mash or rice the beans while still warm. Warm beans are easier to mash. Place the mashed beans into a large bowl or on a sheet pan so they begin cooling.

Microwave the Yukon gold potatoes until tender. If they aren’t organic peel the potatoes. Otherwise mash or rice the potatoes and move them to the container with the beans.

Cook the onions and garlic in the water until tender and the water has evaporated. Add the cooked aromatics to the beans and potatoes. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top and combine.

Put the silken tofu and lemon juice in your blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the tofu to the potatoes and bean mixture. Thoroughly combine the mixture until everything is evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Using a ½ cup measure form the potato and bean cakes and set aside on a sheet pan. If you aren’t cooking them right away cover the pan with plastic cling film and hold in the refrigerator until needed. Cold cakes tend to stay together better. You can cook them right away if you are gentle when flipping the cakes.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with one teaspoon of oil. I used a cast iron skillet and got a nice crisp crust on the cakes. Cook the cakes in three batches until crispy on each side and hold in a 200 degree oven until everything is ready to serve.

Nutritional information for 1 cake:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 142.75
Calories From Fat (15%) - 20.96

Total Fat - 2.25g
Saturated Fat - 0.34g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 45.88mg
Potassium - 682.39mg
Total Carbohydrates - 22.43g
Fiber - 3.62g
Sugar - 0.86g
Protein - 7.58g


The flavor of these cakes was mild, but not boring. These potato and bean cakes would be good with many meals. We had these cakes tonight with a warm cabbage and apple slaw. It was a great combination. Both the vegans and omnivores enjoyed dinner tonight.

I will be posting the warm slaw recipe next.


  1. I'm going to the doctor monday, which I hate, but not as much as I would hate the late stages of Lyme's disease.

    The cakes look yummy. I'm going to give my mom the link to this post, she likes making those sorts of cakes with all types of ingredients, hehe. =]

  2. Madeleine,

    Sorry about the doctor visit on Monday. I am certain you have seen more docs recently than you care to remember. But you are right the doctor is much better than the alternative.

    Your mom makes things like this too huh? It must be a mom thing. I hope your mom likes my idea of adding white beans and tofu. It worked well, I was quite pleased with it.


  3. Mashed potato cakes are my favorite. A Thanksgiving morning after ritual, along with turkey croquettes. Besides crab cakes, (bad Marylander, I am), I think I like just about everything in pancake form and pan fried.

    BTW, another new kitchen guy...this one seems great and I think Ian is quite pleased.

  4. Alexandra,

    Mashed potato cakes were the inspiration. Without all the butter and cream of course. I agree with you on the pancake form and deep fried love. What a darn shame those things are normally less than healthy.

    It is fabulous news that Ian likes the new kitchen guy. Great sounds really promising.

    We will need to talk later. If you aren't working on Monday we should chat then. I can’t wait to hear what you thought of Great Sage.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend with Andrew,

  5. My mom used to make leftover-potato cakes, too, so I can't wait to try these! And so glad you left out the wheat gluten--now I can follow the recipe as written! :)

  6. Ricki,

    I hope you like them as much as we did. My husband had one last night as a snack so I think there will be variations of these making regular appearances on my blog.


  7. Hi Alicia,

    Firstly I must confess that I have been blog-stalking you for over a month now, I have read all your posts and think you are amazing in everyway! I am a vegetarian, not a vegan, mainly because I think I would not live without cheese, but even so your recipes are so inspiring and they are really making me consider going fully vegan.

    Love the sound of these potato cakes, my mother makes these amazing (and very unhealthy) potato cakes full of garlic and cheese, but I am going to try your version now instead.

    Anyway, congratulations on what you have acheived, I know others have said this before but your husband is a very lucky man! Keep posting, we will all keep reading.


  8. Hi Veena,

    Nice of you to comment and to meet you.

    I completely understand not wanting to give up cheese. That was the one thing that I really was "addicted" to. My favorite cheese was Buffalo Taleggio. If someone offered me some today I would like to think I would say no .... but honestly that would be really tough. What I am trying to say is I understand not wanting to give up cheese. Try the almond feta, that really helped me to not feel cheese deprived and it is so much healthier.

    I hope you like the healthy potato cakes. My husband loves them. He asked me to make some again soon.

    Thank you for the very nice compliment. Please stop by again and comment. I learn so much from the comments people post, and enjoy getting to know new friends.

    Have a great day and hope to chat with you again soon,


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