Monday, June 28, 2010

Recipe: Southwest Black Bean Burgers

A lot of my favorite recipes are the result of looking for cheaper and easier ways to fit protein into my meatless diet. I love the convenience of frozen bean or soy burgers, but they're not exactly budget friendly. When Alana at A Veggie Venture posted a recipe for black bean burgers, I immediately gave them a try. They were delicious, so I filed away the recipe for future use -- and promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward a year and I've got black beans in my freezer from the farmers' market last season that need to be cooked and used to make room for fresher veggies. While I'm slow cooking them, I start to smell grilling food and craving burgers, but not the beef or turkey kind. I start craving those black bean burgers. I pulled up the recipe and got to work whipping up a slightly altered version based on what I had on hand.

Southwest Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from A Veggie Venture
(Makes 4 regular burgers or 6 sliders)


1 1/2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 a 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans (or 1 - 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt


1. Heat 1/2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, green chilies and garlic and saute until the onions begin to brown, stirring frequently.
2. Transfer to a food processor and add the cilantro. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped.
3. Add the beans to the food processor and pulse several times, just until the beans are broken up into small chunks but not too pasty.
4. Put the bean, onion, chilies and garlic mixture into a large bowl. Add the egg, bread crumbs, cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir with a fork until well blended.
5. Form into four large patties (or 6 smaller ones). (If you are planning to eat them later, refrigerate at this point. You can also freeze them after they've chilled for about an hour. Just put them in a freezer bag. Thaw completely before cooking.)
6. Heat the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet.
7. Carefully add the burgers to the oil and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned and warmed through.

I wouldn't grill them unless, as Alana recommends, you use a grill basket. They're not solid enough to stand up to the grill grates. But they are hearty and flavorful enough to please just about any meat eater. I like mine topped with pepper jack cheese, sliced avocado and tomato, and a little bit of mayo. I'd suggest you make a double (or triple) batch and freeze some for later. You'll be thankful you did. These things are addictive!


Kayris said...

Yum! I made a similar recipe, I think it was a Light and Tasty version, and they were good, but a tad dry. One tip I've read for adding moisture to lean meats (or beans) is to add a little melted butter to the patties before forming. I tried it with bison meat and it was yum! Although, as you said, they wouldn't hold up to actual grilling.

Out of curiosity, do you eat meat when someone else cooks it? Like if you eat out or go to a BBQ and the host cooks burgers on the grill?

Alexis Grant said...

This looks so good!! I love black bean burgers.

Ami said...

Kayris - Thanks for the butter tip. These weren't too dry, but that would probably make them even better.

As for eating meat when someone else cooks it, I haven't needed to make that choice. Since I'm still eating seafood, most restaurants have some veg or seafood option that I can eat, so that's rarely a problem. If I'm going to a BBQ or friend's house, I usually ask the host if there will be a veg option, and if not, ask if I can bring along something vegetarian to share. I'm pretty flexible, though, and while am not against eating meat if I think it might offend my host if I don't, I can often get by just eating side dishes. In my experience, people aren't offended by my offering to bring a veg dish, though.

Alexis - These are soooo yummy! Give them a try. I bet your dad would like them, too!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to try these. I love black beans and have been eating a ton of them since I went vegetarian in April. Last night I polished off a batch of black been and corn quinoa (it was southwestern-y, too). I'm trying to get Dan on the quinoa train, but so far no dice.

This recipe sounds delish!

Ami said...

Erin - Yum! I love quinoa and that sounds so good. I might have to try it with some of the fresh corn on the cob I got at the farmer's market. I actually froze some of the black bean burgers from the last batch I made. I pulled them out, thawed them, browned them in a pan and then took them to a BBQ with me this weekend. I just asked the griller to put them on the top rack of the grill long enough to warm them through and they were delicious!

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