Black Bean Burgers

I am very blessed to have the opportunity to send my son to a wonderful public school, which is a member of the Wellness in the Schools lunch program. The other day my son came home from school, and told me that the resident program chef had come into their class to make an all-bean chili, which he said tasted great! I love to see children so excited about good food and cooking! I only wish that every school child had the opportunity to eat good food at lunch and be educated about what one can do in the kitchen with just a little know-how.

In my son’s backpack that day were three recipes incorporating beans, which, to my surprise, my son was eager to make for dinner. When a child is excited about something, particularly regarding food, you should always go with it. So, the following night, I decided to try out the recipe for black bean burgers. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical while I was preparing the meal, as I am not the greatest fan of veggie burgers, but much to my surprise, everyone in the family thoroughly enjoyed these meatless patties.

Luckily I had some tzatziki in the fridge, which I spread on the buns. Because the bean burger’s texture is smooth, I wanted to add some crunch to it, and the cucumbers in the tzatziki worked nicely. I also whipped up some guacamole, which added another nice element of flavor. However, you could simply slice some avocado and place it atop the burger, along with some sprouts or lettuce of your choice. This really is a delicious alternative to a regular burger for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Plus, since there’s no cost of meat involved, this meal would definitely fit into our $8 meal category for a family of four.

Yield: 5 burgers (or 8 small sliders)
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
5 Tbl. olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
zest of one lime or lemon
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbl. fresh cilantro
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. bread crumbs
6 brioche hamburger buns
3/4 c. grated cheese; cheddar, Monterey Jack (optional)
salt, pepper to taste
1 small squirt of Rooster sauce* (optional)

In a food processor, place one torn up brioche bun, the breadcrumbs, oil, cilantro, garlic, zest, and spices. Process until smooth. Add the drained beans, but only pulse the processor until everything combines. You want to leave some of the beans slightly intact. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place into a medium-sized bowl. Incorporate the beaten egg and cheese. At this point you can top the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook the burgers.

Form the bean mixture into flattened patties; set aside. In a large sauté pan, with medium-high heat, add a glug or two of olive oil and allow the oil to get hot. You can test the oil by flicking a few drops of water into pan, and if it sizzles immediately, it’s time to add the burgers. Place two to three burgers to cook at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Sauté the burgers for about 3-4 minutes on each side. If the burgers are browning too quickly, turn down the heat.

Meanwhile, slice the brioche buns and toast them for a couple of minutes. When the burgers finish cooking, place onto a bun, and add any condiments you plan on including. I tend to serve this with a simple side of salad greens and homemade french fries. Happy Eating!

*Rooster sauce is a type of hot sauce, also known as, Sriracha Chili Sauce. It has a picture of a rooster on the front of the bottle, thus the referral of the Rooster in its name. It is a lovely, barely noticeable addition to numerous dishes, such as pizza sauce. Most grocery stores carry this item in the foreign spices and sauces aisle.

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