Corn fritters and chipotle beans are the perfect compliments for a deliciously easy, plant-based meal. Crispy, chewy corn fritters only require a few ingredients and fry up or bake without any oil required. The spicy-sweet chipotle beans take only minutes to prepare leaving you left with only one thing to do – chow down!
Sign of the times
It’s a sure sign of autumn when the abundance of fresh corn and other harvests start showing up in the markets. When it does, I start conjuring up recipes to take full advantage. That usually looks like stews or casseroles, so when I settled on corn fritters and chipotle beans using the first of the corn, I decided I would consider it a bit of a transition. I wasn’t quite ready to rev up the oven for a few hours, but I wanted those autumn tastes.
Sure, I’m a fan of corn on the cob, but I’m more of a fan of eating good food. I never let the seasons stop me – frozen or canned corn will work with this recipe too. And, it’s no compromise when it comes to nutrition. Good quality frozen or canned is comparable to fresh. Depending on how long those ears of corn have been out of the field and in your shopping bag, the frozen or canned stuff might even be healthier.
On to the fritters!
Corn fritters are wonderfully easy to make. It’s seriously a matter of grabbing a bowl, mixing together all the dry ingredients and adding the corn and scallions. After that, add a cup of plant milk. It isn’t even as precise as my sweet potato biscuits. You just want them to hold together enough to get them from the spoon to the pan without being runny.
Press down and fry
The best way I can describe the fritter batter is lumpy. Just plop them onto your heated pan. It won’t spread out much, so use a spoon to mash them down. You want to get them thin enough You want them to be cooked in the middle without burning on the outside. Getting them in some round shape is always good, but fritters like be unusual. That’s what makes them unique.
Yes, you can also bake them
I’ve tried baking fritters in the oven, and that’s also an option here, but if you have a non-stick pan, they dry fry (frying without oil) nicely. I had this same experience with tempeh sausage which goes to prove that yes, you can brown without oil. You know what else you can do when you don’t use oil to fry? Clean up a lot quicker. It’s something I’ve really started to appreciate since we quite using oil in our house. I’m sure our old pipes are happier too. Hey, I was talking about the sink pipes, but of course our old heart pipes run a lot cleaner without the added oil.
The quickest beans in the west (or anywhere else)
Honestly, the name chipotle beans is really an alias for cheater baked beans. Our beans won’t be seeing the inside of an oven, but they fit that profile we associate of beans in a ‘tomatoish’ sauce and call baked beans. This isn’t a compromise, but it is a bit of a workaround.
I used brown, Borlotti beans (the same ones I used for Chilean sweet potato stew). You could also use pinto, black or white beans such as cannellini. I’ve not tried them, but red kidney beans would give you a bit of a sweeter taste which might be nice too. My point - use whatever beans you like. Ok, chickpeas might be a bit weird, but in a pinch…
Grab the blender for this one
I experimented a bit with approaches to the sauce. I first started out sautéing the onions and then adding ingredients to layer the flavors before adding the beans. Guess what? The sauce is great if you simply blend all the ingredients and then allow it to simmer for a few minutes before adding the beans.
Chipotle chilis in adobo - yes, they're hot
The heart of the spicy chipotle sauce for the beans are my beloved chipotle chilis in adobo. It was many years ago when I discovered those cans in the Mexican food section of the supermarket and I’ve never looked back. If you’ve never tried them, they are small chipotle chilis canned with a smoky, sweet sauce.
What to do with the rest of the can?
I use a lot of chipotle chilis in adobo. They make great refried beans for a mean quesadilla and they are also great in sauces, salsa, even hummus. The only drawback is that you never use an entire can unless you are cooking a mega amount.
Unless you happen to be having a chipotle recipe party in the moment, the best way I’ve found to keep leftover chilis is simply to freeze them. My preferred method is to put 2 chilis in a small plastic baggie and divide out the sauce a bit and them put each baggie in a freezer container. You can also put them in an ice tray although I resist this because the flavor will linger if you want to use it for other things.
A bit of timing
With the beans taking just a few minutes, I put this dish together by mixing up the fritter batter and then setting it aside while I made the beans. They are happy to simmer on super low to keep them warm while you fry the fritters. If you decide to bake the fritters, just do them first and take on the beans while they’re in the oven.
This dish is wonderful with just fritters and beans, but if you want a garnish, it goes particularly well with slices of avocados. If you happen to have some vegan sour cream on hand, it’s another option. The beans are spicy, so lettuce or even tomato slices would be welcome.
Some folks hear the word workaround and immediately think of compromising or settling. I’m not one of those folks. I consider a workaround as a new way to overcome a problem or get a desired result. That might mean finding a quick way to make a delicious meal or figuring out a way to save the rest of that can of chipotle chilis in adobo. It might also mean offering to bring a dish to a dinner party to ensure that you have something delicious to eat without compromising your health journey. Who knows? That offer to bring a dish might just open someone else to changing their own health journey. Peace.Print
corn fritters and chipotle beans: plant-based & oil-free
Crispy-chewy corn fritters are smothered with spicy-sweet chipotle baked beans and with a side of sliced avocado and lime, are the perfect compliments for a healthy and quick plant-based, oil free meal.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings (2 fritters each) 1x
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: American
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 1 Tbsp. sauce
- ½ cup water or veggie broth
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 3 cups brown or pinto beans
- ¾ cup polenta
- ¾ cup flour (I used finely ground wheat, but you can use any all-purpose)
- 1 tsp. chipotle powder or paprika
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 4 ears of corn boiled with the kernels shaved (about 3 cups) or 2-7 oz. (198 gm) cans or the equivalent frozen.
- 4 scallions (green onions), finely sliced
- 1 cup plant-milk (I used oat, but soy or almond or another is just fine)
- Lime slices
- Chopped cilantro (coriander)
- Add everything but the beans to a blender or food processor.
- Put on a saucepan and add the beans. Heat through.
- To prepare the corn, remove the husks and silk from the cobs and wash them. Fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the ears of corn and boil for 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the corn. Run a bit of cool water over the corn to help it cool and stop cooking. When the corn is cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut off the kernels. (note: if you use frozen corn, heat it in a pan with a bit of water until it has defrosted and then drain it. For the canned, just drain it.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Next, mix in the corn and scallions. Add the 1 cup plant milk and make sure that everything is combined. The batter will be lumpy and a bit sloppy. You don’t want it too runny, but if it’s dry and falls completely apart, add a bit more milk.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and scoop up an eighth of the batter (½-3/4 cup) of batter and press it down so that it is of even width. Add as many scoops as your pan will fit. Fry for about 3 minutes and then flip until they are brown on both sides. (tip. You can usually tell if they are ready to flip when you can move the fritter around before flipping).
- To bake the fritters, preheat the oven to 4250F (2200C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add 8 scoops of batter to the sheet, pressing down on them to thin them out. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops start to brown, flip and finish browning them.
- To serve, place 2 corn cakes on each plate along with the bean. Add garnishes such as slices avocado, lime wedges or chopped cilantro (coriander).
- If you use frozen or canned corn, you'll cut the time for this recipe by 15 - 20 minutes.
- If you want to add a bit more flavor to the fritters, consider finely chopped red or green pepper.
- Chipotle peppers are hot, so if you want to cut the heat, reduce the amount you use. You can also use only the sauce from the can. Just increase the amount to 2 tablespoons.
Keywords: corn fritters and chipotle beans