I’m a fan of bean burgers. Cruise the freezer aisle of Whole Foods and be blown away at all the options. In general, they are all pretty good and are easy weeknight eating. I’m still on a quest to find a delicious, easy to make bean burger of my own. This corn & black bean burger recipe was an experiment that turned out to be a tasty success.
When Burger Was King
As a kid, I hated ground beef. Didn’t like burgers, didn’t like “normal” ground beef tacos. I was a hot dog girl. Part of the aversion to beef was the unexpected crunchy onion bits that were often found in ground beef dishes. This included fast food burgers.
I remember going to a friend’s birthday party when I was very young. It was at Burger King (can you believe that was a destination for a kid’s birthday party?). This was back in the days before there were chicken fingers at Burger King. It was just burgers and whalers.
My mom politely told the host mother that I didn’t like hamburgers so not to fret if I didn’t eat mine. I guess I must have at least nibbled it because I remember getting praised by my parents later that night for at least trying it.
Embracing the Cow
Sometime during college I did overcome my burger aversion. I feel like it was a very late night or very early morning when I discovered the absolute perfection of a McDonald’s hamburger WITH the crunchy onions, pickles, mustard and mayo. There is still a place for that. And while I don’t think there really is a place for Hamburger Helper in MY home, I did live in a dorm in college so I understand that too.
But other than the very rare occasion when I hit the drive through, I pretty much never eat ground beef. Or burgers. Or steak. Give me lamb, Clarice. Better yet, a bean burger.
By choice, I eat almost exclusively a plant based diet. While I do love animals, it isn’t really about saving them. For me it is more about eating whole foods. Local, small, sustainable. Not mass produced, which most meat is. I find that I’m just as satisfied without meat. Plus if you cut out meat, you get to eat bigger portions or you can eat more often since veggies digest faster.
I’ve ALWAYS loved beans. I think the kidney bean was my first love. My mom had a pretty simple chili recipe (which did start with chopped onions and ground beef) that used dark red kidney beans. I loved their texture and picked around the beef base to get them.
Beans are a great substitute if you are cutting meat out of your diet because they are a great source of protein (which means they will fill you up and you won’t be starving ten minutes later). Bean burgers offer endless flavor options and are pretty darn versatile on the dinner plate.
After kidney beans, I think refried beans (which are made with pinto beans) were my next discovery. That creamy, beany spread that showed up on my plate in a Mexican restaurant. Gross to think about that now, but it was part of the journey.
Now that I think about it, the very first bean burger recipe I ever made was a pinto bean burger. Click the image below to check out that recipe from Cooking Light.
Salad Bar Nightmares
I think chickpeas were the last bean I embraced. Most of my early experience with chickpeas was finding them on the buffet salad bar lineup. They were marinated in Italian dressing and straight from a can. Yuck. I did not have a taste for vinegar as a child, and I thought that was just what chickpeas tasted like.
The chickpea is now my favorite. I have an obscene number of cans in my pantry. I can’t go to sleep at night if I’m out of chickpeas (or avocados). As vegetarianism and veganism blossom, the chickpea is enjoying the celebrity of the brussel sprout only it’s likely to last longer.
One note – I pretty much never eat veggie burgers on a bun. I either use them as part of a grain bowl meal or as taco filling. Cut a burger in half and you have two half-moons that fit perfectly into a hard corn taco shell. It’s not my idea, found it out the internet and then my head exploded because I hadn’t thought of it before.
Keep It Together
The key to a bean burger is finding the best way to keep it together so it doesn’t crumble when you cook it. You can always use an egg and some breadcrumbs, but the fashionable way to do it is using cooked quinoa. Sometimes I use both.
Ultimately the goal is to make a hearty bean burger that has minimal “filler” ingredients and that is a “one bowl wonder”. I’m still experimenting. Got a favorite veggie burger recipe? Share below!
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 ear corn, husked and kernals cut off, save cob
- 1/4 cup white onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 fresno chili, thinly sliced and seeded (optional)
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1-2 limes
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all bean burger ingredients. Using the back side of a knife, scrape the corn cob to release the milk into the bowl. Discard the cob. Use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash about 3/4 of the beans leaving some whole for texture.
- Wet your hands. Take a large spoon and scoop about a 1/4 cup of mixture. Shape with your hands into either burgers or sliders (should make about 6 burgers or 9 sliders). Place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until they look cooked and have dried out a bit.
- Use immediately, refrigerate or freeze. My favorite way to eat these is as a taco filling with a hard corn shell, guacamole and shredded cheese.