Vegetarian Week: Black Bean Burgers

Vegetarian Week: Black Bean Burgers

Veg­e­tar­ian cook­ing can get a bad rap. For those who aren’t reg­u­larly prepar­ing meals with­out meat I think the 1970s, macrame plant holder beside the Moose­wood cook­book halo still lingers. In real­ity, veg­e­tar­i­ans have long since had a total makeover. There wouldn’t be books called Skinny Bitch in the Kitch if they hadn’t. Seri­ously, Rory Freed­man and Kim Barnouin’s recipes are great! Even though I’m com­mit­ted to cook­ing a few meat­less meals each week I do tend to think of them as the most vir­tu­ous dishes I’m going to feed my fam­ily. But what about fun stuff? Like burg­ers. I love them. So, so much. I’m the per­son who’d rather have a burger than a steak at a bar­be­cue. I like the idea of a veg­gie burger but so often I find they taste of sea­son­ing rather than beans or veg­gies and cer­tainly not like meat. I love this black bean ver­sion. They’re sat­is­fy­ingly savoury but the black beans really come through. Zesty rather than spicy, they’ve got a Latin bent. My kids are going through a stage where their spice thresh­old is extremely low. But these were win­ners with every­one. Plus, they come together quickly. And they’re fun, damn it.

pho­tos by Maya Vis­nyei

Black Bean Burgers

2 x 14 oz. cans of black beans
1 egg
1/4 cup of panko (or plain bread­crumbs)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp oil


Rinse the black beans in a colander.

Dump one can of beans, panko, cumin, oregano, cayenne and the egg into a blender. Pulse it together until it forms a goopy past. I find I have to stop once every few pulses and give it all a stir so that the top gets as much puree-ing as the bottom.

Empty the blender con­tents into a bowl. Stir in the other can of beans and the cilantro. Use your hands to form into pat­ties. Don’t make them too big or you’ll have hard time with flipping.

Heat oil in a pan to medium then gen­tly place your pat­ties in. Don’t mon­key with them once they’re in the pan. Cook for 5 min­utes a side. Once you’re close to 5 min­utes on the first side, start slid­ing a thin, flex­i­ble spat­ula under to loosen them away from the pan. You know what Julia Child said, you need the courage of your con­vic­tions when flip­ping! And if it breaks, just piece it together and no one is the wiser. A great and wise one was Julia. Serve on a bun with your favourite top­pings, like tomato, avo­cado, let­tuce, salsa, spicy mayo. Bet­ter yet, just put it all out on the table and let your fam­ily build their own burgers.

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