While looking back at the posts from the last month I realized that I’ve hardly posting anything but carbohydrate- or sugar-laden (but awesome) recipes: cranberry-walnut-quinoa bread, pita bread, mac and cheese, pizza dough, sugar cookies, cupcakes, and bagels – oh my! If you were beginning to worry about my health and well-being, I can assure you that my diet consists of more than flour and sugar. It’s just that perfectly browned, crusty loaves of bread are much more fun to photograph and talk about than the veggie wrap that I ate for lunch or the tuna salad I ate for dinner. Trust me, tuna salad does not photograph well. It takes something like these black bean burgers that are not only delicious and photograph well but are also a little more involved than a mixed greens salad or a veggie sandwich for me to mention it on here. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how to wash some lettuce leaves, chop some vegetables, and throw them in a big bowl. How to make a decent bean burger is a different story, though, and this recipe is definitely worth sharing.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always had a fear of making bean burgers. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to make them before, and it’s because I’ve long been under the impression that bean burgers were finicky things that were bound to end up dry and crumbly. If the rumors are true, these burgers are an exception to that rule. They were extremely easy to throw together, and they kept together well in the pan. No crumbling and no dryness; just crispy outsides and slightly creamy insides. For any Minneapolis readers, these are somewhat similar to the southwestern veggie burger at Joe’s Garage, just without the corn and falafel. And the chipotle sauce. And all the other toppings. Ok, they’re basically only similar in that they are lightly fried black bean burgers and I wrapped mine in a tortilla, but they’ve got a leg up on the Joe’s Garage burger because making them at home takes away the temptation to order french fries with basil aioli to eat on the side – a sure win for your arteries.
You could easily play around with the types of beans and seasonings in these burgers. If you want something more falafel-like, you could swap out the black beans for garbanzos. A chopped jalapeno would be a great addition, especially if you topped the burger with salsa and sour cream. Let me know if you come up with anything good!
Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from Gourmet, Feb. 2009
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 1/2 tbsp rolled oats
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Vegetable oil for cooking
Buns or tortillas
Lettuce, cucumbers, and cilantro-yogurt sauce for serving (see below)
(Makes two large burgers)
2-3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 cup plain yogurt
Combine half the beans with the yogurt, oats, cumin, oregano, and cayenne in a food processor. Pulse until it forms a paste. You could also do this by hand, roughly chopping the oats, mashing the beans, and stirring everything together.
Combine the paste with the remaining beans and cilantro. Season with salt, if needed.
Form the mixture into two patties. For lighter appetites or if you’re serving a couple of sides, you could easily stretch this into three patties.
For the yogurt sauce combine the cilantro, cucumber, and garlic in a small bowl.
Add yogurt until you get the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers add the burgers to the pan, and cook them until they’re slightly browned and crisp, flipping once. It will take about five minutes total.
Get the buns or tortillas ready while the burgers are cooking.
I broke up about 3/4 of a burger to fit on a medium tortilla, which turned out to be the perfect amount.
I have a bad habit of dousing anything in a tortilla or anything slightly resembling falafel with hot sauce. When I’m at home my falafel hot sauce of choice (as opposed to my egg hot sauce of choice or Mexican food hot sauce of choice) is Red Hot, and when dining out I’ll take whatever kind is available. In an effort to make myself appreciate a broader spectrum of flavors I held off on the red stuff, and I’m really happy that I did. The yogurt sauce and the crisp veggies were the perfect accompaniment to the burger. It’s amazing what you can taste when you’re not preoccupied with your burning mouth and clearing sinuses.