Southwest Corn Cakes with Black Bean Carrot Salsa

These corn cakes and salsa are fun and summery and tasty! The only real work here is chopping the carrots- the rest comes together very easily after that. I like my corn cakes to have a hint of sweetness and texture to them, which is why I add corn kernels and agave nectar. These ingredients are optional though, so feel free to make the cakes according to your taste preferences! I like to top them with sour cream and chives, but feel free to use any toppings that you want (various cheeses, guacamole, greek yogurt, the opportunities are endless!).

This recipe is: vegetarian, gluten free, vegan (don’t use sour cream, greek yogurt, or honey!)


For the salsa:

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes, or equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (less if you don’t like garlic as much as we do)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • your choice of garnishes (scallions, cheese, sour cream, greek yogurt, jalapenos…)

For the corn cakes:

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • olive oil for cooking (about 1/4 cup total)
  • optional: 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, canned) to add texture
  • optional: sweetener (sugar, honey, agave, etc.) to taste (I used 2 tbsp agave)


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Cook the garlic for a minute and then add the carrots, cumin, and coriander. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften. Then add the black beans, tomatoes, and water. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat uncovered for about 20 minutes, until carrots are tender and sauce has thickened. Add lime juice (I used a whole lime), salt, and pepper to taste.
  2. Make the corn cakes by combining the corn meal, salt, chili powder, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and sweetener (if using). Combine all ingredients and mix in the corn kernels, if using. The mixture should be soupy but not watery. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, test using a spoonful of batter. The edges should sizzle right away. Fry the cakes in batches, adding oil as necessary with each new batch, and drain on paper towels.
  4. Top corn cakes with carrot black bean salsa and other garnishes and serve.

Serves 4.


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