Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spicy Black Bean Burger

Some times a guy just craves a good burger. But it's hard to find a good veggie burger patty. Those ones you buy in the store in the frozen food section leave something to be desired for sure. I know people who buy them and like them but, for me, they're too small, too dry, and too flavorless. As such, there is only one thing left to do. Get your bean on!! (why do I say things like that? why?!)

Now you can make a vegetarian burger out of many different types of ingredients like mushrooms, chickpeas, rice, lentils, corn, etc. But, of them all, and I sit here now typing this, my favorite is of the black bean variety. Disclaimer: Please be advised that this can and probably will change at my most arbitrary of whims.

I read recently that the average person has 7 "go-to" recipes that they use and stick with. Let me say that again in other words. Aside from maybe dining out, they only eat seven different things. The mere thought of that actually makes me shudder. However, in all honesty, I can look back through my years on this planet and tell you that I have been guilty of that type of culinary rut. It wasn't until I went vegetarian that I broke that pattern. Kind of ironic, actually.  

This recipe has quite a few ingredients but they all meld well together. And it's an easy recipe to put together. The whole thing takes maybe a half hour to prep and is ready in about and hour. Please take note of the word "spicy" in the title. Spicy is relative. Now, I'm a self proclaimed chile-head but I'm so over the whole "look at me eat super hot chile peppers, aren't I manly?" mentality. That being said, I consider this recipe to be on the mild side of spicy. However, I know someone, who shall remain nameless (I love you sweetie), who would categorize this recipe as "what the hell did you put in there?" So just be a mindful of the peppers in this recipe. Again, this is mild but definitely has a tiny little kick. If you don't like that, cut back or leave them out completely. 

Spicy Black Bean Burger


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans of black beans, drained, rinsed, and strained
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz quick outs
  • 4 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage


1. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute. 

2. Place sauteed ingredients in a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients together crushing/squeezing it so as to break the beans up and bind everything. You want to crush the beans, not completely mush them like a puree. The texture should still be somewhat chunky. 

3. Break the mixture into about five portions. This will give you five (roughly) 6 ounce patties. Feel free to form them by hand. If so, wet your hands with cold water first to keep the mixture from sticking too much. But if you're anal like me, use a round flat-bottomed plastic container lined with plastic wrap to form your patties.  

4. Place formed patties on a plastic wrap covered  tray and let them set up for at least a half hour. You don't want to skip this step for two reasons. First, the patties will firm up, helping to ensure they don't fall apart while you cook them. Secondly, this will give the oats time to absorb moisture and therefore soften. If you cook them too early, the oats might be crunchy or chewy. So be patient and let them set. 

5. Now it's time to cook your burgers. You can do this two ways: bake or pan fry. If you choose to bake, preheat over to 375 degrees. Place you patties on an oiled cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes then flip the patties and bake for 10 more minutes. Alternatively, heat about 3/4 Tbsp (per patty) in a skillet over a medium-high heat. Pan fry the patties for about 3 minutes per side. There are perks to both method. Baking dries the patty well enough to leave moist but take on that "burger" texture. While pan frying give the outer portion a nice crispiness but leaves the center a tad mushy. Either way, they are quite tasty. Hmmmm. I wonder what might happen if you baked them first, then hit them up in the pan for a minute or so on each side. Best of both worlds? 

5. Serve on burger buns, ciabatta rolls, facoccia bread, etc, along with your favorite accoutrements such as lettuce, tomato, sprouts, guacamole, cucumber, mayo, ketchup and so forth....

Serves: 6

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