Want something filling, easy to make, and nutritious for dinner? Try a black bean burger. It is very quick to make, and not very labor intensive. (Get pumped – these puppies aren’t just for vegetarians anymore.)
Black beans are high in fiber, protein, vitamin B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium. They make a great hamburger substitute if you do not eat red meat or are cutting back on saturated fat.
Feel free to use different types of beans in your burger. The burger in the image above is actually made with half black beans and half kidney beans. Also, these types of burgers usually contain finely chopped vegetables. Celery, carrots, and onions help create a reliable flavor; but use whatever veggies you enjoy tasting.
I like my food on the spicy side, so I created a medium-heat spice mixture of cayenne, garlic, cumin, and turmeric – all anti-inflammatory agents. You can add fresh herbs, like basil and cilantro, and even a dash of citrus juice or zest, like lemon, to make it different and interesting. I recommend creating your dry spice mixtures in a separate bowl and mixing them thoroughly before adding to the main bowl. This ensures that the spices are more evenly distributed throughout the burgers. If you want to add lemon, oil, or some sauce to the burgers, combine all your “wet” ingredients in another bowl before adding to the beans.
I usually do not have breadcrumbs in my pantry, so I use oats as a more nutritious substitute for burgers (both veggie and meat), meatloaves, and other dishes that need a little “filler”.
If you think your burger is on the dry-side, spread a thin layer of creamy Caesar’s dressing, chipotle sauce, fruity salsa, or your favorite chutney to the top bun. Tomatoes and cucumbers makes great moisture additions, too. Pickles are okay, but they are very salty and pungent; so, steer away from them and let the other flavors come through.
Unlike beef and turkey, beans do not make very stable patties. So, you can use an egg as a binding agent to hold the burger together. I tend to bypass the egg and just let my burger be somewhat flimsy – mostly because I do not care that it is flimsy. If I am cooking for some friends, though, I usually add the egg to make it easier and more pleasing for my guests.
However, you may not need to use the whole egg. Be sure to beat the egg in a separate bowl, and add half of the egg to your burger mixture. Assess the stability of your mixture and determine whether you need to add the rest of the egg. You do not want your burgers to taste to eggy; so, you may want to add some more beans or veggies to compensate for the extra egg. If you do not use the remaining egg, fry it up, add some spinach and spice, and have yourself a little appetizer!
Black Bean Burger On Ciabatta Bread
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 medium celery stalk
1 medium carrot
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup oats
1 egg (optional)
light creamy Caesar’s dressing
fresh ground pepper
smidge of ground salt
Rinse and mash the beans. Roughly chop the celery, carrot, and onion, and place in a food processor. Add the oats to the food processor. (If you do not have a food processor, blender, or anything with a fast-moving sharp blade, just finely chop the veggies as best as you can. Do not bother chopping the oats, though. Either use them whole or substitute with breadcrumbs or crumbled-up pita chips.)
Add the veggies and oats to the beans and mix. If using an egg, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Add half of the egg and mix. Determine whether you need more egg to bind your bean mixture. Add the spice mixture and mix. Form two patties from the burger mixture.
You can grill, bake, or fry these burgers. For convenience sake, I usually fry my patties on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes each side. If you grill, be sure to place the patties on aluminum foil to prevent your burgers from falling apart and disappearing into the pit. Grilling probably takes about 5 minutes each side. If you are baking, set your oven to 375 degrees and bake roughly 8 minutes on each side.
Slice the ciabatta bread in half. Spread a thin layer of creamy Caesar’s dressing on the top piece of bread. Place a layer of mixed greens on the bottom piece. When the burgers are cooked, place a patty on the bed of greens, and top with some sliced tomato. Enjoy!