If you were craving some finger-licking fritters but were concerned about the excess calories from the frying oil, then you stumbled on the right recipe! Below we will prepare Mexican-flavoured black bean fritters with red peppers, cilantro, and spices. It's a super simple recipe ready in around 30 minutes, and it's healthier than the traditional one.
By the way, our black bean fritters are both vegan and gluten-free. Contrary to the original recipe, we prepared them without wheat flour, milk, or eggs. Instead, we opted for gluten-free oat flour and vegan flax-egg.
Fried food is deliciously crispy, but with all that oil, it becomes very high in calories and fats. Moreover, those fats are likely to turn into trans fats when cooking at such high temperatures . Trans fats are the most unhealthy, and you should avoid them, or at least consume them very sporadically.
To make this recipe healthier, we decided to oven-bake our fritters instead of deep-frying them. We just brushed them with a tiny bit of canola oil to make them crunchy. The result is tasty black bean crisps with half the calories and three times fewer fats than their fried counterparts.
Of course, if you have been eating well for many days and want to reward yourself with a bit of frying, we won't stop you. Adjust this recipe as you see more fit! We suggest you shallow fry them in a skillet with a stable oil, like canola.
Once ready, dip these crispy nibbles in your favourite sauce, or drizzle them with lemon juice and serve with a fresh salad.
NOTE: The default ingredients yield about 12 fritters and each serving consists of 3 bean pancakes.
What to serve with bean fritters?
Our vegan black beans fritters can be enjoyed on their own as a snack, or paired with other foods to form a complete meal.
Here are some serving ideas to get your going:
Dip them in guacamole and spicy salsa dips, to stay in line with the Mexican theme. A bit of melted cheese on top would go a long way, if you aren't vegan or intolerant to dairy.
Make a lunch-box with black beans fritters, brown rice, and a piece of fruit.
Pair them with a fresh greens salad with plum tomatoes and a drizzle of lemon
How to make oven-baked fritters crispy and not soggy?
It's easier to make fritters crispy by frying them rather than baking them in the oven. But, oven-baking is healthier. So how do we make these black bean nibbles crunchy without compromising our diets?
To avoid soggy fritters, pay attention to these four points:
Fritter shape and coating
Oven temperature and mode
Cooling and resting
Good fritters should be crispy outside, and just about soft enough inside. If the batter is too liquid, the patties won't hold their shape, and they will be soggy. If the mixture is overly compact, the inside will be dry before the crust forms.
For our Mexican-flavoured fitters, we found the right consistency to be in between that of pancakes batter and a muffins dough. You shouldn't be able to mould the mixture into a ball, but it shouldn't spread out and lose its shape when flattened onto a baking tray.
In terms of shape, the fritter shouldn't be too thick nor too thin. We found that a 1/3 of an inch (~1 cm) is the about the right size, but you can play around depending on which consistency you prefer. The thinner you spread the mixture, the crispier the result. Viceversa, if you fancy a softer and juicier texture, then go for a thicker patty.
You should also pay attention to the diameter, to keep the fritter from snapping. Try to spread the mixture between 2 and 3 inches (5-8 cm) wide.
Then, you have to set your oven to the right temperature and mode. Once again, we want to cook the fritters just the right amount to get a crispy coating and a juicy core. In our recipe, we baked them on one side with the fan mode at 215°C (420°F) for 20 minutes, and the grilling mode for another 5-7 minutes on the other side. If you have a static oven, set it to 230°C (445°F).
Finally, it would help if you let fritters rest on a cooling rack as soon as removed from the oven. Doing so will ensure proper airflow all around the patty and prevent soggy bottoms.
Can I eat fritters cold?
It is best to eat these fritters hot out of the oven, after just a few minutes of cooling on a rack. But maybe you prepared these at lunch and have some leftovers for dinner. Can you still enjoy them? Sure, you can!
Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure these oven-baked black beans fritters keep all their crunch:
If you are eating the leftovers in the same day, do not store them in the fridge. The moisture of your refrigerator will rob the fritters of their crispiness. Instead, you should leave them on a cooling rack and enjoy later during the day.
If you can't finish them in a single day, store them in the fridge for up to 5 days and re-heat before eating. Place them straight onto the oven rack and heat for 5 minutes at 200°C (390°F). If you use an oven tray, you should flip them half-way through.
Which flours can I use to make gluten-free fritters?
Our black bean fritters are both vegan and gluten-free. We used oat flour as a gluten-free replacement for wheat.
We love to use oats in our gluten-free recipes, because it's a whole-grain packed with soluble dietary fibres, essential for heart health. Also, using oat flour in baked goods gives moisture and helps the batter holding together.
But there are other flours you can use to make gluten-free fritters. Here are some of them:
Buckwheat and rice flour (50/50 mix)
Cornflour. This is an excellent idea if you want to dig deeper into the South-American theme we picked for this recipe.
Chickpea flour, for even more proteins.
- Large Red Onion
- Canned Black Beans
- Red Peppers
- Fresh Coriander
- Ground Oats
- Ground Flaxseeds
- Garlic Powder
- Chilli Powder
- Canola Oil
In a food processor, add red onions, drained and rinsed black beans, red peppers, and fresh coriander.
Blitz the ingredients pulsing them in short bursts to make a chunky mixture.
Transfer the blended beans to a mixing bowl and add oat flour, ground flaxseeds, water, garlic powder, paprika, chilli powder, and oregano.
Stir well until the ingredients are incorporated and you have a creamy batter.
The fritter mixture should be slightly runnier than a typical veggie burger dough.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and brush it with canola oil.
To make a fritter, scoop a spoonful of batter and pour it over the prepared tray. Gently press down with the back of the spoon to give the patty a flat and rounded shape.
Don't aim for perfectly shaped pancakes, they're meant to look a bit messy and chunky!
Bake the bean fritters for 20 minutes at 235°C (455°F) for static ovens or at 215°C (420°F) for fan ovens.
Then, flip them with the help of a spatula and grill them for 5 minutes until nicely crisp.
We have some extra tips to make these fritters perfectly crispy in our FAQ below.
You can use a mix of red, yellow, and green peppers for more colourful bean fritters.
Try adding a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the bean batter to boost these appetizers with a vegan source of vitamin B12.