Crazy Couscous Cakes

You know you’re having a lazy Monday when you look for inspiration on the back of boxes in your pantry. I happened to have a box of couscous mix on my shelf—specifically a mango salsa couscous mix from Marrakesh Express (yeah, it’s a Hormel brand… sue me). I know, mango salsa and couscous isn’t exactly the flavor pairing I would have chosen, either. But, it was part of a set of six boxes I bought at Costco, so I was kind of stuck with it. And, it’s great with shrimp! (at least that’s what the front of the box shouted at me in annoying pseudo cursive font).

The back of the box had what sounded like a great meatless Monday recipe. And, besides the box of couscous, I had the ingredients on hand… so, why not? After I finished descrambling the ridiculous font (Seriously, why would a company use a lowercase j look like an upside down question mark? If I were any older or crankier, I’d be might peeved off.), I got down to business with this might fast recipe.

Southwest Couscous Cakes

  • 1 (6.1 oz) box of Marrakesh Express Mango Salsa CousCous (you know, the one I was holding in my hand reading the recipe from)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (4.25 oz) jar diced green chilies, drained
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 T all-purpose flour
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • Salsa and sour cream for serving

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Stir in next six ingredients. In large skillet, over medium-high heat, in 1 T oil, spoon couscous mixture (¼ C at a time) and gently press into a circle using the back of the spoon.

Cook 1½-2 minutes per side until lightly browned and crisp. Repeat twice with remaining couscous mixture. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.


While nice in theory, poor in execution. The flavors are all there, and taste great combined, but I was thwarted by the cake-i-fying of this recipe. Here I present the only three cakes that actually came out looking like cakes.

Couscous Cakes

I was going to serve them over lettuce as a bit of a salad topper, but they just did not hold up to the frying. No matter how little or long I let them fry, they crumbled upon flipping. (I even tried a two-spatula method… no luck). Plus, on the gross side of my thought train: The black beans reminded me a little too much of rabbit turds.

But, this recipe isn’t a complete loss. If you kept this as a salad (so omit the eggs, flour and olive oil from the recipe), it would make a great side to fish or veggie tacos. Or, if you love carbs like I love carbs, just throw the salad on top of our tacos.


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