Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

This recipe is loosely based on "Best of Everything Burgers" from allrecipes.com. Would you believe I've never made my own veggie burgers before? Turkey, sure. Chicken? Yep. And beef, of course. But for vegetarian burgers, I've always relied on Morningstar Farms or Boca. Those are not exactly clean, and they usually contain wheat, so I figured it was time to get on the stick and find a good recipe that The H could enjoy. What better day to try one than Meatless Monday?

Here's what I ended up with:

2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup red onion, minced
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 - 1 cup quick oats (not all oats are safe for GF folks, check for a cross-contamination disclaimer if you are extremely gluten sensitive)
1 egg
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp Frank's RedHot sauce

1. In a food processor, combine beans, onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Pulse several times until combined but not smooth.

2. Add rice, egg, oats, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce to processor and pulse several times until well mixed.

3. Form mixture into patties and place on wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.

4. While burgers are chilling, cover grill grates with foil and preheat to medium temperature. Spritz with cooking spray. Cook burgers 6-8 minutes per side.

Top with cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado, etc. and enjoy with or without a bun. Freeze any leftovers.

Sounds great, right? Except... they were SO SOFT. They stuck to the foil and were too loose to flip. Folks, we almost ended up at Burger King. No lie. The H was already disappointed that we weren't having "real burgers" for dinner like he thought, and now to have these (apparently fake) lumps of mush staring us in the face... it was just a kick in the teeth.

Fear not--I figured out a way to get them off the grill, remove the charred foil, and finish them under the broiler. And then I realized I forgot salt, so I shook some kosher salt over the tops and called them done. Sigh.

The little guy positively devoured his (two!), starting before I even got them to the table. The H politely ate one or two, saying they had a great flavor (which they did).

Mine was enjoyable, if not for the headaches it caused before serving. I ate it on a whole-grain sandwich thin with spinach, mustard, extra Frank's sauce, two thin slices of marble cheddar cheese (local), and a bulb of grilled fennel on the side. Perhaps the leftover one will be better since it's had a chance to set and chill throughout.

This recipe certainly needs perfecting, but the flavors are good enough that I might consider it again. I should have added more rice or oats, or both, when I realized how soft the mixture was. After re-reading the original (linked above) I cannot imagine how wet they would've been if I had used the two eggs, cheese, and additional beans called for. Perhaps you'll have better luck. The flavor would be worth it! These were served with a tomato-feta-cucumber salad, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper, and grilled fennel, topped with the same (minus feta). Fennel is one of those things, like beets, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, that I am teaching myself to appreciate.


  1. When I make vegetable/bean burgers at home, I always cook the vegetables first because they have so much moisture in them, without cooking them a bit, the burgers fall apart. I suggest chopping up the vegetables, then sauteeing them in olive oil for 10 minutes, then add them to the food processor with the other ingredients to mix them.

  2. You know, I'm kicking myself for thinking (but not doing) that when I added the mushrooms! Thanks for the tip. :)

  3. It took a fail on my part to figure it out :) lol

  4. I just made Tosca's Black Bean Patties and we didn't have any issues. I think the kicker here is the quick oats?? I find that quick oats even by themself just turn into a pile of mush. Tosca's calls for regular oats, sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Lots of binders!! Also, I baked them in the oven instead of doing them on the grill. They were delish! Try again, Kate. Not all recipes are created equal :)