Friday, June 5, 2009

Black Bean Burgers

(pictured: Baked black bean burger fresh out of the oven still on the baking sheet)

Sometimes I want something for dinner like a burger and fries. Since meat burgers are out I make many different versions of bean burgers.

Beans are a fantastically healthy item to add to your diet. They provide low fat protein, help lower cholesterol, and are a good choice for diabetics. The fiber in the beans keeps your blood sugar from spiking after eating. If you have any diabetics in your life these burgers are also great since they don’t contain a lot of fat, which is another thing they should be reducing. The fiber in the beans is also good for reducing your probability of colon cancer.

These burgers are so packed with flavor they may make you forget meat burgers.

Black Bean Burgers
Makes 6 burgers/servings


1 cup of dried black beans soaked for 6 – 8 hours
1 red onion, diced fine
2 - 3 tablespoons of dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
½ tablespoon of ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon of hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of oregano
½ cup of oatmeal (not instant)
6 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten


Drain and rinse soaked black beans. Cover with four inches of water and simmer until tender (approximately 30 minutes, exact time will depend on the age of the beans). Drain cooked beans (reserving a half cup of cooking liquid in case you need to add it to the burger mixture later). Place beans in the food processor.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion in white wine until tender. Add softened onions to the food processor with the beans. Add the kosher salt, chili powder, hot crushed peppers, cumin, oregano and oatmeal to the food processor and process until you have an evenly blended mixture. The mixture should still have a little texture from the ingredients, but it should be evenly distributed throughout the burger mixture.

Move the bean mixture to a large mixing bowl and spread the mixture up the sides and bottom of the bowl and sprinkle the vital wheat gluten across the burger mixture. With you hands knead the gluten and bean mixture together. The burger mixture should firm up a little as you knead. It will feel similar to making bread by hand, but with less resistance. The goal is to evenly and thoroughly mix the gluten into the burger mixture. Add a little bean liquid by the tablespoon if the wheat gluten does not fully incorporate into the bean mixture after a few minutes of kneading.

Form the burgers into patties and move to a half sheet pan. Spray the tops and bottoms of burgers with olive or canola oil from a mister (or use a pan spray like Pam). Move the lightly sprayed burgers to another half sheet pan covered with parchment or silpat. You don’t want to spray the burgers while on the silpat as the excess oil can embed in the silpat and ruin the surface (I ruined a silpat with excess oil when making oven fries).

Bake the burgers until they are hot and firm. I flip them after 15 minutes to brown both sides of the burgers. The total cooking time takes 20 minutes in my oven. The exact time will depend on how thick you made your burgers, and your oven.

The cooked burgers can be wrapped and frozen and reheated in a skillet or eaten immediately. My husband likes the crunch the burger gets when it is reheated on the stove with a little olive oil.

These can be served on a bun or not. They are nice with sliced avocado and tomato as a topping.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 170.39
Calories From Fat (4%)- 7.09

Total Fat - 0.84g
Saturated Fat - 0.16g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 253.7mg
Potassium - 522.74mg
Total Carbohydrates - 27.8g
Fiber - 9.19g
Sugar - 0.84g
Protein - 13.53g


These burgers are very flavorful. Once you start making your own veggie burgers you won’t buy the premade variety in the store very often. The nice thing about making your own veggie burgers is that you can flavor them any way you like. My husband and I like our food to have a lot of flavor and these burgers are no exception. They may be too spicy for children, but most adults will love them. I like to serve these with roasted sweet potato fries and a salad.

If you are unfamiliar with vital wheat gluten it can typically be found with the specialty flours in the grocery store. It is what gives bread its chewy structure. When you add it to veggie burgers it gives them a meat like chew you can’t get from veggies and starch alone.

If desired you can cook these veggie burgers on the outdoor grill. The addition of the wheat gluten causes the burgers to be more firm than most veggie burgers. If you are going to cook them on the grill I would partially cook them inside in a pan with a little oil to form a skin on the outside so that they don't stick to your grill racks.

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