Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where's The Bean (Burger)?

I'm always looking for a way to be "healthy." This usually entails trying to give up something in my diet. Past attempts have been cheese, sugar, bread, fried food, etc. etc. As you can most likely guess, these have never worked out for me. I love food way too much to deprive myself of anything. Even when I do ban something from my diet, as I have with beef for the last couple years, there is always a caveat. I am "allowed" to eat beef if I know where it has been sourced from and if it is grass fed. Simple enough. So now, I eat it so infrequently that it really is a treat when I do.. and I savor that piece of meat!!

Recently there has been talk in my house about eating less meat. This doesn't mean giving anything up, just less of of it. Coming up with a weekly menu just got a little bit harder, but I am always up for a food challenge. Enter my friend Kelly. She has been a pescetarian (one who eats seafood but not mammals and birds) for roughly 14 or 15 years. I have always been intrigued by this type of deprivation (as I see it!) and interested more so in what Kelly eats. I am always asking her what she is having for dinner and making a mental note of it. One thing that she has answered to my "what's for dinner" inquisition has been black bean burgers. She has always told me how good they are and how she eats them all the time, but not until recently have I really made a move for the recipe.

Now that I have this black bean burger recipe and have tried it, I can truly say that I would take this over a turkey or grass fed beef burger any day. I have changed the original recipe to add some color with the addition of vegetables, but can see how this could be great with whatever you do or don't add to it. The flavors in the burger give it South of The Border appeal, so Kelly told me she tops hers with Monterrey Jack cheese and guacamole. I did just that. On the 2nd burger (the next day, mind you!) I happened to see my bottle of sriracha in the fridge and (though it is not a Mexican condiment!) it was so good with this burger and gave it a big kick! You could add salsa to stay true to its roots if you like, but the guacamole is a must. I also added some more heat with a slice of pepper jack cheese melted on top. I could eat this burger everyday. And since you can make the mixture, refrigerate and then cook whenever, you surely could eat it everyday (as I have this week)!!

Black-Bean Burger
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

makes 4 or 5 big burgers

2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed, drained well
3 Tbs mayonnaise, plus more as needed to make burger moist ( I like using Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise)
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs ( you can use regular breadcrumbs but I like panko because they are a lot crunchier)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can add more of less depending on how spicy you want them)
2 large pinches of kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
3 Tbs olive oil (you could use canola or whatever you typically cook with)
hamburger buns, warmed in the oven or grill
sliced pepper jack cheese
Sriracha (if you like lots of spice like me!)

Mash (blend, pulse) half of the beans along with mayo, panko, cumin, oregano and cayenne until everything is mixture together well to make a sort of puree or paste. Stir in cilantro, rest of the beans, peppers and salt.
Form mixture into patties.
Heat skillet over medium heat until you can feel the heat radiating off the bottom. Add oil and coat pan (I do it this way to create a non stick surface on my stainless steel pans). Cook burgers for a total of 5 minutes, flipping half way through. I put the cheese slices on top and then move the entire pan to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, but you could just do that on the stove top too. Add toppings and enjoy!

I have yet to try this on the grill, but my guess they would come out great. Just be careful handling them when you flip so they don't fall apart. I will try them grilled next week, and will also try the addition of corn. If you do so before me, let me know how they come out!

BTW.. the photo I have posted is the picture from the Gourmet website, not my own.... I forgot to take a picture of these when I made them this week (all I could think about was eating them!!). When I make them again, I'll make sure to take a picture.

Happy Memorial Day!!


  1. thanks for this post... bean burgers have always been one of my favorites and i can't wait to try this recipe!!!

  2. I made these tonight and they were delicious! My daughter LOVED them and asked when I was planning on making them again. I cooked them on the grill and they turned out great - just need a little practice at flipping them! Thanks Alethia! Love the blog!

  3. I'm making this recipe tonight.