Now that I have basil growing in the garden again, I’m on a quest to use up my frozen pesto because I’ll be able to make it fresh whenever I want to. If making a big batch of pesto and freezing it for fall and winter marks the end of summer for me, then frantically trying to use up that pesto is a sure sign of spring. It happens every year, like clockwork.
It’s a good thing this recipe took a few tries to get right–I think I used half of my pesto supply perfecting it. The first time I made it, I only used cannelini beans. It was not good. I’ve realized that I only like cannelini beans as a component of a dish, not as the main ingredient. White bean cakes with just white beans, pesto, panko, and egg were definitely meh. So then I used half the beans and more ingredients each subsequent trial. Cheese! Why not? A zucchini? Of course! And then quinoa. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more. And this is a more is more recipe. But even with more, it’s still not a lot.
If you make this, don’t skip the roasted tomatoes on top. I say this because I am always the person who skips making the sauce or topping when I’m making recipes like this. So don’t skip the tomatoes! It would be like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter. Trust me, I made this recipe enough times to know. But all that effort was worth it, because the end result is delicious.
Delicious little cakes made with white beans, quinoa, zucchini and pesto and topped with oven-roasted tomatoes.
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 c. cooked dried cannellini beans)
- 1/4 c. quinoa, cooked according to package
- 1 small zucchini, julienned
- 1/4 c. prepared pesto
- 1/4 c. panko
- 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt + pepper to taste
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 c. coarsely chopped basil leaves
- olive oil mister or cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper.
- Combine beans, quinoa, zucchini, and pesto in a medium bowl. Use wooden spoon to smash beans a little bit. Fold in panko, cheese, and egg. Form mixture into 12 patties and place each one on first baking sheet.
- Transfer tomatoes to second baking sheet. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place both baking sheets in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bean cakes are golden brown and tomatoes are just beginning to brown. Halfway through cooking time, stir tomatoes and flip over bean cakes. Serve tomatoes over cakes and sprinkle with basil.
I use Simply Recipes' Fresh Basil Pesto recipe, but any basil pesto will do.