Friday, 28 June 2013

Summer BBQ Alternative: Black Bean Burgers

This Canada Day weekend will be a great opportunity to get together with friends and family to celebrate this great country, and of course, share some great food! Now that the hot and humid weather has arrived, many shy away from using the stove or oven and in it's place, fire up the ol' BBQ. Despite the fact I am unable to keep one at my apartment, I still take advantage of the season by frequenting my parents house for all of my favourite summer staples.

The recipe I am about to share with you is a great alternative to your everyday beef burger. In fact, I think it tastes even better than most beef burgers. Now, you may be rolling your eyes at that comment - but seriously, just try these! They pair perfectly with a few slices of avocado, some pico de gallo, and a dollop of spicy sriracha mayo. 

These burgers are vegetarian, however, they can very easily be altered to accommodate a vegan diet as well. They are super easy and incredibly fast to whip up and do not require any equipment beyond a fork and a knife for their assembly. I have made them both vegetarian (with an egg used as a binder) and vegan (with vital wheat gluten as the binder). I personally prefer the egg version as I find them slightly more moist, and the vital wheat gluten can make them a little chewy, but they are definitely both very tasty. These are probably easiest to pan fry as they can be a little crumbly, but they would probably do quite well on the bbq if you placed them in a foil pan. If you are extra gentle you may be able to get away with putting them directly on the grill. 

Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from the Veganomicon recipe
Makes 4 - 6 patties


1 can (540 mL) black beans, drained and rised
1 egg (or 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten for vegan)
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1 tbsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (I went a little crazy the second time I made these - too much cilantro will make your burgers crumbly - be careful!)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion, grated or finely diced
2 tbsp cooking oil (vegetable, coconut, or olive)


After beans are drained and rinsed, roughly mash with a fork (I ended up using a potato masher, but a food processor would work too). Do not mash too finely; you want a good number of partial bean pieces left in the mix.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the olive oil) and mash everything together, using your hands. Shape mixture into patties, about 1 inch thick. The bigger the patty, the more likely it will fall apart when you're trying to flip it. I was able to make four patties which were about the size of your average burger. They could also be made much smaller for cute bean burger sliders! 

If you are going to pan fry, heat up 2 tbsp or your preferred cooking oil and cook burgers for approximately five minutes on each side. I suggest placing the burgers in a foil pan if you are going to use the BBQ to cook, as they may crumble on the grill.

Place on a burger bun or lettuce wrap, add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Hope you all have a fun, safe, and BBQ-filled Canada Day!

- Bean (Alex)

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