Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Photo courtesy Pulses.org

There’s no doubt that plant-based meats, especially burgers, are hot sellers these days. Ultra-processed foods, though, whether vegetarian or vegan, are still usually filled with excess sodium and short on the assorted benefits found in whole foods. They also tend to be quite pricey. Think of them as a convenience food and enjoy them occasionally, if you like.

Here’s a delicious recipe adapted from  Pulses.org that will help you get some pulses onto your menu. The burgers are even more budget-friendly if you cook up the beans from dried ones. But canned ones are also pretty cheap, especially compared to these plant-based meats.

If you don’t have a food processor, check the recipe notes for an alternative method.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Makes 6 servings

3 cups black beans, cooked, divided; (just a little less than 2 540-mL cans, rinsed and drained
1 medium bell pepper, green; roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin, ground
2 tsp hot sauce, (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, (see notes for plant-based substitute)
2 cups breadcrumbs, preferably whole grain, divided (see notes for gluten-free alternative)

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside.

In the basin of a food processor, combine 2 cups of the black beans, bell pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, and salt. Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth, thick paste—scraping the sides as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add in the remaining black beans, the eggs and 1 cup of the breadcrumbs, mix well. Continue adding breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture can easily be formed into patties.

Form the mixture into six large patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the burgers begin to brown, feel firm, and start to crack on top. Serve immediately or freeze.

To freeze, let burgers cool completely (in the refrigerator, uncovered), then freeze flat on a baking sheet until solid, about 3 hours. Transfer to a labeled zip-top freezer bag. Will keep in the freezer for about 3 months. Defrost before heating in skillet, on grill, or in the oven.

This recipe makes for six, large, “meaty” burgers—want smaller or thinner burgers? You’ll easily be able to get 8-10 burgs from each batch. A food processor will result in the best burgers, but if you don’t have one, try this method: use a fork to mash 2 cups of the black beans until they form a fine paste. Finely mince the green peppers, onions, and garlic. Mix together with the black beans, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, and salt. Then proceed with the recipe at step three. Both flax and chia eggs work in place of the eggs in this recipe. Just mix together two tablespoons of either ground flaxseed or chia seeds with six tablespoons of warm water. Let sit five minutes to thicken, then use in place of the two eggs in the recipe. Panko breadcrumbs work great in this recipe, but I frequently use oat breadcrumbs, too. Just pulse old fashioned/rolled oats in the food processor until the size/texture of breadcrumbs. Use cup-for-cup in this recipe. Make sure to use gluten-free oats if avoiding gluten. Burgers too sticky to form? Lots of variables can cause burgers to be too sticky (bigger eggs, juicier veggies, even higher humidity). If your burgers are too sticky, try chilling the mixture for 20-30 minutes before forming. You can also form the burgers with damp hands, or, as a last result, add more breadcrumbs (if you add too much breadcrumbs, you’ll end up with dry, flavorless burgers).

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Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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