Adzuki-Millet Cakes

Like many great things in life, this recipe happened by accident. Well, at least the final product was an accident, as I had originally intended these to be a homemade answer to my Hilary’s Adzuki Bean Burger obsession (am I alone here?). While I wanted to mimic the original burger as much as possible, I also wanted to make this recipe easy and accessible. So, I decided to use only one of the two grains used in the Hilary’s burger. I decided on millet for its consistency when cooked. I also did not want to create anything that necessitated the use of a food processor — a great culinary tool, in my opinion, but one that can also incur unnecessary cleanup in many instances.

These tweaks probably led to a somewhat “looser” consistency than the original burger, one that was reminiscent of a savory cake rather than a burger. Not that I complained. As I shoved down two of these babies, I started wondering why I was ever looking for a veggie burger recipe in the first place, when there was a perfectly delicious version available in the frozen section of my local Whole Foods (ok, there were several reason I was doing so — money, trying to avoid processed foods, trying to cut down on the fat content of the original recipe — but those were soon forgotten). I also remembered that I had unsuccessfully gone through a string of attempts at a homemade bean cake recipe a while back. It seems I found the answer to whatever was plaguing my previous bean cake attempts — even if I had ended up forgetting the question.

I’m filing these cakes under “appetizer”, “side” or “main course” recipes, as I can see them as all three. Slightly cooled, they could top a dinner salad. Still warm, I imagine them over a heaping bed of steamed or sauteed greens — maybe kale or spinach — and  maybe drizzled with some oil and vinegar. I also served them to Gennaro inside of a warm pita with greens, chipotle Vegenaise spread and hot sauce (unfortunately, the pita was not gluten-free, or I certainly would have tried this version). And while we’re labeling these, I have to admit they also make a great snack. I like them cold, right out of the refrigerator, for a protein-packed and healthy, non-processed snack.

Adzuki-Millet Cakes:

Please note: You will likely have remaining millet left over. You can use it in salads or try it anywhere else you would use quinoa or — if you eat it — couscous. I also give it to my dog, Woodley, for a fun change-up to his usual nighttime snack, which was vet-recommended for gastrointestinal issues he was having — see, he is like his mom!

Yield: 6-8 cakes


3/4 cup uncooked dry millet

1 1/2 cups well cooked adzuki beans (I used my pressure cooker to cook 1 cup dried beans according to the instructions found here. I had some leftover, which I ate over some cooked quinoa with spinach. Canned adzuki beans, drained, would also work)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus more for cooking cakes

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 scallion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander


1. Add millet to a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Cook on medium heat until the water is just absorbed (watch carefully after about 10 minutes of boiling to see where it’s at). You can try stirring it to check on water content/consistency before removing from heat — the final consistency should be somewhat lumpy and not as “fork-fluffable” as quinoa is when cooked. You want this consistency for the cakes.

2. As millet cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a separate skillet. Add red pepper and scallion and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside.

3. Once millet has cooked (i.e. once the water is absorbed), add 1 1/2 cups of the warm millet, adzuki beans, chia, spices, salt and water together in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well, while mashing everything together with the back of your spoon. Add red peppers, scallion and garlic and mix well.

4. You can use the same saute pan as used for the red peppers (no need to wash). Heat additional teaspoon of coconut oil (if needed) in the pan. Meanwhile, measure out 1/3 cup amounts of adzuki-millet mixture and roll in the palm of your hands before pressing into patties. Add patties to hot saute pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until crispy and lightly browned on the outside. Repeat this step to cook the remaining patties.


  1. says

    This recipe looks awesome! I’m on the Elimination Diet to see if I have any food allergies and still am off soy, gluten, citrus, and most beans except azuki and mung beans! I’m astonished that your recipe fits all my crazy diet requirements and am excited to see your other recipes!

  2. Paula says

    Mine are falling apart in the pan. Was I supposed to make the chia into a gell first, because I don’t see that step. Any ideas to get them to bind together more?

  3. Beth says

    Hi Paula — did you use warm millet in the recipe? I think the freshly cooked millet makes a difference, as it helps everything clump and stick together when warm. You will want to cook until “clumpy” as it says in the directions. If that still doesn’t work, you can try making the chia into a gel as you said. Good luck!

  4. Paula says

    The millet was warm, and I “smashed” them together as hard as I could with my hands. I had some mixture leftover after dinner, and I found that the mixture that had been sittin longer held together better, so maybe that’s the trick

  5. Karen says

    Hi Beth, I overcooked the adzukis tonight in the crockpot, so I googled adzuki burgers and your recipe came up. We see eye to eye in that I like to keep everything very simple as well. This recipe looked nice and simple, and I had most of the ingredients, except the scallion and red pepper. So, to the bean & millet mixture I added a saute of onion, chopped mushrooms, and finely diced carrots for color along with double the amount of spices. Noting how soft they were, I threw in a bunch of sunflower seeds for crunch. I cooked most in the coconut oil, but I baked several as well, and the baked ones came out more crispy and much more healthy too. So–thank you so much for this recipe. My husband loved it because the burgers are much lighter and less intense than our regular black bean burgers. Thanks again for the rescue!

  6. says

    These were so delicious! I used heaping measurements of the spices, plus some smoked spicy paprika. Topped them with sliced avocado, sprouts and some kale and brussel sprouts sautéed with a tahini sauce on the side. I think its a new staple.

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