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5 from 2 votes

Black Bean Torte

From the "Under the Chinaberry Tree" 1994 Newsletter. If you soak the beans overnight it reduces the cooking time. 


  • 1 2/3 cups black beans, dry
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups slightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 12 ounces roasted red peppers, rinsed and patted dry, then minced (set 2 tablespoons aside)
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • crackers or crusty bread


  • Cook beans with cumin in the stock until they are tender. Drain thoroughly.
  • Mash about 1 cup of the beans and mix with the whole beans. Set aside and let cool. 
  • For the cilantro pesto, place the cilantro leaves, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts, in a food processor or blender, and puree. 
  • Line at 4" x 8" loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the edges to overlap the top edge of the pan. Put 1/2 of the bean mixture into the pan, gently pressing to make a smooth layer. 
  • Carefully spread the cilantro pesto over the beans.
  • Make an even layer of the peppers on top of the pesto.
  • Sprinkle the feta cheese on top of the peppers.
  • Top the cheese with the rest of the bean mixture, pressing gently to make a compact loaf. 
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours or up to 3 days, with something perched on top, to add weight. 
  • Uncover pan, invert a plate onto it, and holding pate and pan together, invert again. This means flip it over! 
  • Lift pan off and remove plastic wrap. 
  • Spoon a yogurt or sour cream band down the middle of the loaf. 
  • Sprinkle with the reserved minced peppers. 
  • Present with several knives or spatulas for serving with the bread or crackers. 


I first made this in 1994 and it had been a while since then. A few notes after making nearly 25 years later, including some ideas of making it with store bought canned beans and pesto, are at this updated post.