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Burger Bonanza! Cooking the Book: Black Bean Burgers

2012 July 17

Mr. Kitchenette pronounced this both “the best dinner* we have had in six weeks” and “the best vegetarian burger I have ever eaten.”

High praise, my friends. This is a man who has eaten more than his fair share of fake meat (long story….) We’re not vegetarians, but we make an effort to eat less meat, especially at home, and this recipe can take the place of a meat meal any time as far as we’re concerned. Go make this one tonight. Then make it again next week. It’s that good.

The Good

Damn, this is a tasty burger (my apologies, Mr. Tarantino). The spices and beans and everything are just perfect, the corn is a sweet surprise (you can use about one ear of fresh if you can get your hands on it this summer). Even though this a variation on a primary recipe in the cookbook, I have no desire to even bother trying the book’s original recipe. Or any other black bean burger, for that matter.

The Bad

These aren’t really “bad” things, per se, more like warnings from our experience. First, this makes two humongous burgers. Seriously humongous, to the point of not fitting on our puny whole-wheat buns (and they are terrific on whole-wheat buns). In subsequent black bean burger adventures we have made four medium-sized ones. Second, you will be tempted to put these on the grill and it will end badly. They are a little too fragile for grilling. The chipotle provides a little of that smoky goodness you may be seeking without the whole thing crumbling into the coals — trust me on this one.

The Leftovers

After all that praise, I have to admit there was something… missing. Serving it with a slice of tomato helped — the acid balanced the rich creamyness of the beans. What really put it over the top was a little avocado saucy-spread we threw together the for the second and third times we made the burgers, so here’s a little bonus “recipe,” just for you: In a blender, mini-chopper or whatever carafe you use for your stick blender, throw in 1/2 an avocado, cubed; 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream; 1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste); the juice of 1/2 a lime. Blitz. Add 1 Tablespoon of cold water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Spread on buns with black bean burgers (plus you can sprinkle the leftovers with a little chopped cilantro and scoop up with tortilla chips).

* The other component of the “best dinner in six weeks” was another recipe from the book involving quinoa, the other half of the red pepper used in this recipe and some other flavor-echos from the burger. Meet me back here later this week for that recipe!


Black Bean Burgers (with corn and chipotle chiles)


1 large egg

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce [we have been adding a a little more to taste; maybe 2 tsp]

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine

1/3 cup frozen corn

2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

1 small shallot, minced

2 buns, toasted


Whisk egg, 1 tablespoon oil, cumin salt and chipotle chile together in small bowl. In seperate, large bowl, mash 1 1/4 cups beans with potato masher until mostly smooth. stir in egg mixture, remaining 1/2 cup beans, panko, bell pepper, corn, cilantro and shallot until just combined.

Divide bean mixture into 2 equal portions and pack into 1-inch-thick patties.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully lay patties in skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve on buns.

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