Spache the Spatula

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash

Guess what? I’m going to New York city tomorrow with my two best friends :)! I couldn’t be more excited to not only see the city I’ve only been to once almost a decade ago, but to see my friends that I rarely see since I’ve moved 3000 miles away. I’m going to be there until Tuesday, so you probably won’t see a post until next Wednesday or Thursday. Hopefully, I’ll remember to take a bunch of photos of the extensive amounts of delicious food I’m sure to eat while I’m there so I can share it with you guys!

Are there any restaurants/bakeries/etc. that I absolutely MUST go to while I’m there?

Okay, let’s talk about this dish. It sort of came out of nowhere. I had some leftover polenta sitting in the fridge from the meal I had made earlier this week (where I served it with catfish and kale + onions + peppers + garlic- I whole-heartedly recommend trying this and I have no clue why I didn’t take photos), and I knew I needed to use it before I went to NYC. I had actually been thinking of making a sort of spin on a Caprese Salad with polenta cakes in place of mozzarella cheese, but I wanted something a bit more substantial and I had been craving Mexican food (Mikey and I have a serious addiction to Mexican food. I mean, we have to restrain ourselves from eating it more than once/week). Thus, this Tex-Mex-ish meal of Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash was born!

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash

I just used a regular store-bought salsa found in the refrigerated section for this, but  if  you wanted to get all fancy-shmancy, you could make your own. I’m totally obsessed with the mash. It may not look like much, but guys, this is something special. It’s creamy, slightly sour from the lime juice, a bit garlic-y, and all-around addictive. This would make a great dip or taco filling. Or, you could eat it by the spoonful like I so gluttonously did!

And then, because egg yolks make everything better, I plopped an over-medium egg over the top of everything. No, it’s not elegant, but it’s a delicious take on Huevos Rancheros that I want to eat over and over again.

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash + Fried EggPolenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash + Fried Egg

*By the way, this meal could very easily be made vegan by leaving off the egg, and using vegetable broth in the polenta and beans instead of chicken both.

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash


  • chilled polenta (polenta recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Black Bean and Avocado Mash (recipe below)
  • Salsa
  • extra avocado and cilantro, to garnish
  • eggs cooked your way (optional)
  1. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut the polenta into your desired shapes. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add the polenta cut-out to the pan and cook until golden on both sides (be careful as the polenta will pop a lot while cooking).
  3. Spread a few tablespoons of the mash onto a plat and top with the polenta cakes. Spoon about a tablespoon or two of salsa over top and garnish with avocado slices and a sprig of cilantro. Top with an egg if desired.

Black Bean and Avocado Mash

recipe adapted from here


  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • juice of 2 small limes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large sauce pan, bring the chicken both, onion, and garlic to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the black beans, turn to a boil, and cook until the liquid is reduced to just below the beans, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the cilantro. Use an immersion blender to puree the bean mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the mixture in the fridge to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados with the lime juice. Stir in salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. When the bean mixture has reached room temperature, combine it with the avocado mash.

Simple Polenta


  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup corn grits/polenta (I used this kind)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until very thick, stirring frequently to prevent clumping.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in butter/Earth Balance. (You can just stop here if you want creamy polenta, but if you want to make cakes, continue.) Spread the polenta into a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to firm up.

Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado MashPolenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash


5 Responses to “Polenta Cakes with Black Bean and Avocado Mash”

  1. rebecca — March 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    gimme gimme gimmeeeeeeee

  2. David — November 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    "Stir in the parsley."

    What parsley? There was no parsley in the ingredients list.

    • Rachael replied: — November 6th, 2013 @ 12:17 am

      Sorry about that! I meant to write cilantro (they look so similar I guess my brain decided to switch it)! I've fixed it now :]

      • David replied: — November 6th, 2013 @ 7:08 am

        I got it figured out, thanks. Great recipe. Had it together with a very nice scallops dish, and this dish stole the show.

        I forgot to buy salsa, so I substituted a few slices of pickled jalapenos on top to give a little spice. My wife and I thought this turned out to be a good idea–it got some spice in, but no other store-bought flavors from the salsa that might have interfered with the delightful flavor of the bean and avocado mash.

        • Rachael replied: — November 6th, 2013 @ 10:55 am

          I'm so glad you liked it, David! Pickled jalapeños sound like the perfect addition of spice and acidity to balance the mash—I'll have to try that next time! Interesting pairing with the scallops, that sounds delicious :]

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