Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Black Bean Burgers

I have picky eaters in my house. It's nearly impossible to find a meal that pleases everyone, but here's one that comes close. Juliet says it's her "favorite healthy meal." Caroline and Laura don't get excited about it, but they'll eat it if they can find one with a lot of cheese. Maybe your family will enjoy this recipe, too.

Black Bean Burgers

  • 3 green onions, trimmed and minced so fine that the youngest family member can't see them
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (lemon is fine if you don't have limes)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Canola oil, I don't know how much, just guess

  • cheddar or pepper jack cheese
  • whole wheat hamburger buns

In a large bowl, coarsely mash the black beans with a potato masher. You don't want to completely pulverize them. Some of the beans should still be whole.

Mix in the green onions, bread crumbs, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, eggs, and salt. 

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. I find that these burgers hold together better if I use quite a bit of oil. I don't deep fry them, but I don't just coat the bottom of the pan either. You might have to experiment a bit to find what works for you.

I use a number 16 disher like this one to scoop three or four helpings of the bean mixture (however many will fit in your skillet) into the hot oil. Then I use a heat-resistant scraper like these to press the blobs into patties. Don't be discouraged if they try to fall apart. They do that. Just use your scraper and your spatula to nudge them back into shape. 

Cook the burgers for about three minutes. Then gently turn them and cook for another three minutes or so on the other side. Again, they will try to fall apart. Just do the best you can. 

When you think they look done, move the burgers onto a baking sheet. Collect all the little bits that broke off the burgers. They're tasty, too. 

Continue cooking the burgers until you've used all the bean mixture. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven.

We like cheese on our burgers. I always have sharp cheddar in my kitchen, but sometimes I use pepper jack. Paul and I like that, but the kids don't. Put slices of cheese (or shredded cheese) on top of the burgers and put them in the oven to melt. Make sure the youngest child gets the cheesiest one or she will cry.

You might like to serve these burgers on buns, but I actually prefer eating them with a fork. Beans are so starchy already, I think the buns are overkill.

One more comment about their tendency to fall apart. I was once tempted to despair over a batch of burgers that completely fell apart. Eventually, I put all the bits into a baking dish, covered the mess with cheese, and called it "black bean crumbles." We ate it and we were happy.

So give this recipe a try and let me know in comments how you like it.

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