Black Bean Croquettes & Fresh Salsa Served with Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Everyone has a vegetarian friend. When they come over for dinner, the last thing you want to serve is pasta. Vegetarians are pretty creative in the kitchen and find great ways to make sure they get a healthy dose of protein.

When vegetarian friends stop by for dinner at my place, I make sure not only do they get a healthy dose of protein, but also grains and vegetables, ensuring that they get a well balanced meal. A great way to do this is to make black bean croquettes with fresh salsa served with a side of tomato and black bean quinoa.

Whether you are vegetarian or not, this tasty dish will leave your belly full and keep your pocketbook still plump.

For starters, make the black bean croquettes. These beautiful meatball-like rounds are like heaven on a plate. Black beans, like every other bean packed full of protein and fiber while being low in cholesterol. Their velvety texture makes black beans one of the best beans to work with, both whole and to mash them up to use as a meat alternative. If you are concerned with getting gas from the beans, feel free to add a couple drops of liquid Beano into your recipe.

Black Bean Croquettes

Serves 4, 2 croquettes and ½ cup salsa each

Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
  • 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, hot if desired, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, diced


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Mash black beans and cumin with a fork in a large bowl until no whole beans remain. Stir in corn and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Combine tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir 1 cup of the tomato mixture into the black bean mixture.
  3. Mix the remaining 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder in a small bowl until the breadcrumbs are coated with oil.
  4. Divide the bean mixture into 8 scant 1/2-cup balls. Lightly press each bean ball into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake the croquettes until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir avocado into the remaining tomato mixture. Serve the salsa with the croquettes.

A great side dish to serve with the black bean croquettes is black bean and tomato quinoa. The fresh flavors of the croquettes and salsa and mirrored in the quinoa. This side dish can be served hot or cold. If you are not a fan of some of the ingredients, leave them out, it won’t affect the consistency of the dish.

Quinoa is essentially a super food of the grain world. Traditionally revered as a “grain of the gods” by the Incas, quinoa has the highest protein out of all grains.

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Active time: 20 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/4 cup of diced peppers (green, red, yellow or orange)
  • 1 diced avocado

*can substitute margarine or soy butter to make this side dish vegan friendly


  1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
  3. Cook quinoa in a small pot. Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of quinoa. Cooked covered until all the water is absorbed (like rice). Stir the quinoa about twice while cooking so that the little seed-like bits are all coated.
  4. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

If there is any extra black bean and tomato quinoa, place it in a Tupperware container and place it in the fridge. Black bean and tomato quinoa is great when chilled to eat as lunch the next day. My favorite addition is to add diced avocado to this mixture for lunch left overs.


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