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Black bean burger closeup

Black Bean Burgers

During the summer of 2015, I told myself I was going to be a vegetarian. I was 25, spent every day working and/or swimming,  and I basically survived on these black bean burgers alone. They are nutritious, surprisingly versatile, and tastier than any other black beans I’ve ever had. I like to enjoy mine on a bun with a simple avocado crema, pepper jack cheese, some arugula for taste and crunch, and maybe even a little salsa. Here’s how to make your own.

 

Your grocery list

Produce

  • Red onion or shallot (yellow or white onion work as well, if that’s what you already have)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Bell pepper (I usually go for green or red for this recipe, but any color will work)
  • Portobello mushrooms

Dairy

  • Large egg(s) – you only need one per 15 ounce-can of black beans

Canned items

  • Low-sodium canned black beans (or dried black beans that have been soaked and cooked until they are soft)

Pantry items & seasonings

  • Flour (all-purpose, self-rising, and even gluten-free flour or even breadcrumbs will work)
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Bakery

  • Your choice of buns/bread for your burgers

 

Equipment/tools you’ll need

  • Mixing bowl
  • Food processor (or knife and cutting board for dicing vegetables)
  • Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
  • Skillet (for stovetop cooking – you can also bake them in the oven or grill them based on your preference)

 

How to make black bean burgers

With a Food Processor:

  1. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. In a food processor, add the black beans, onions, garlic cloves, peppers, and mushrooms. Pulse until the mixture is well combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add flour, egg, and your desired spices (such as cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper).
  4. Mix everything together until well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky and hold its shape when formed into a patty. If it’s too wet, add more flour gradually (about 1 tablespoon at a time).
  5. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will help the flavors meld together and the mixture firm up.
  6. Shape the mixture into patties of your desired size and thickness.
  7. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add a little oil to prevent sticking.
  8. Cook the black bean burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned and heated through.
  9. Serve the black bean burgers on buns with your favorite toppings and sauces.

Without a Food Processor:

  1. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Finely chop the onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork or potato masher until they are mostly mashed but still have some texture.
  4. Add the chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, flour, egg, and spices to the mashed black beans.
  5. Mix everything together until well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky and hold its shape when formed into a patty. If it’s too wet, add more flour gradually.
  6. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will help the flavors meld together and the mixture firm up.
  7. Shape the mixture into patties of your desired size and thickness.
  8. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add a little oil to prevent sticking.
  9. Cook the black bean burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned and heated through.
  10. Serve the black bean burgers on buns with your favorite toppings and sauces.

 

Tips for making great black bean burgers

  1. Properly drain and dry the black beans: Excess moisture can make the burgers mushy. Drain the canned beans and pat them dry with a paper towel before using.
  2. Use a binder: Black bean burgers need a binder to hold them together. Common binders include breadcrumbs, oats, or even flaxseed mixed with water. This will give your burgers the right texture.
  3. Adjust the flavor with spices and herbs: Black beans have a mild taste, so be sure to season your burgers well. Use spices like cumin, paprika, chili powder, and herbs like cilantro or parsley to enhance the flavor.
  4. Texture is key: Use a food processor to pulse the beans and other ingredients together, but don’t over-process. Aim for a slightly chunky texture to give your burgers some bite.
  5. Let the mixture rest: After mixing all the ingredients together, let the burger mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help the flavors meld together and make it easier to shape the patties.
  6. Cook with care: Cook the black bean burgers on a well-greased grill, stovetop, or oven until they are nicely browned on the outside and heated through. Be gentle when flipping them to avoid breaking them apart.

 

Ways to serve black bean burgers

  1. Buns: Use regular burger buns or opt for whole wheat or gluten-free buns, depending on your dietary preferences.
  2. Toppings: Add sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, avocado, or cheese (dairy or non-dairy) to enhance the flavor and texture.
  3. Sauces: Serve with ketchup, mustard, mayo, barbecue sauce, or any other condiments of your choice.
  4. Sides: Pair your black bean burger with a side of crispy fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, or a fresh salad.

Black bean burger closeup

Black Bean Burgers

Lena B.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Suggested Wait Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 Burgers

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Food processor or a knife and cutting board to dice vegetables
  • Skillet used to cook patties

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can low-sodium black beans 15 ounces, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 whole shallot
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 4 ounces mushrooms half of a pack usually
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • In a food processor, add the black beans, onions, garlic cloves, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Pulse until the mixture is well combined but still slightly chunky.
  • Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add flour, egg, and your desired spices (such as cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper).
  • Mix everything together until well combined. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will help the flavors meld together and the mixture firm up.
  • Shape the mixture into patties of your desired size and thickness.
  • Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add a little oil to prevent sticking.
  • Cook the black bean burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned and heated through.
  • Serve the black bean burgers on buns with your favorite toppings and sauces.

Notes

  • You can chop the onions, garlic, peppers, and mushroom by hand and sauté them slightly instead of using a food processor. Cooking the vegetables softens them a bit before being added to the burger mixture so the larger chunks aren’t left uncooked.
  • Unless you want some extra crunch, I’d suggest cooking at least the peppers and onions before adding them to the mixture if you aren’t using a food processor.
  • Black bean burgers can also be baked or grilled instead of cooked on the stovetop.
Keyword Black beans, Burgers, Vegetarian

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