Vegan black bean burgers

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I like burgers. They’re quick, easy and filling. But, the meaty kind aren’t on the menu for someone trying to stick to a healthy diet. My initial transition to vegan burgers started with the kind you can find in your grocer’s freezer section. They were quick, easy and relatively tasty, but a bit expensive. I thought with my skills in the kitchen I could find a recipe that was more cost-effective, lower in sodium and tastier.

I found this recipe in the book The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn (Rip happens to be the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, whose book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease helped persuade former President Bill Clinton to follow a vegan diet) and thought with a few modifications, I could turn it into a burger I would love. The recipe is pretty easy, but even more so if you own a food processor. Purchasing one is, so far, the best investment I’ve made in my culinary adventures.

I put the all the ingredients except the oats in the food processor and blended them well. (Full disclosure: I forgot the carrots for this batch! They were missed, because they add moistness to the burgers.)

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Then I added two cups of oats and gave the mixture another blend. This is an important step in the process; it helps thicken up the mix and makes forming the patties easier. And isn’t easy the point of making burgers? When I was done, I transferred the mixture into a large mixing bowl.

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I know this isn’t much to look at but, trust me, it’s going to taste good!

The final step before patty formation is to add one more cup of oats to the mix. Keep these in their original state; it add a nice texture to your burgers. (I think the fancy, foodie word for this is “mouthfeel.”)

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Now the fun begins! Form your burger patties. When you’re done you should have eight patties and some sticky fingers. Here’s how mine looked before I popped them in the oven:

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After a quick 15-minute bake in the oven, your burgers are ready to eat! There is a mild spiciness to these patties because of the chiles, but they pair very well with almost any topping you’d care to put on them. (Because I have the palette of a 5-year-old when it comes to burgers, I only like to put ketchup on mine.) A nice accompaniment to these burgers on a cold, winter’s night is salty baked potato.

The full recipe is below. If you try it, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

Makes 8 patties; inspired by The Engine 2 Diet

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can tomatoes with chiles

1 garlic clove, minced

1 t. onion powder

1 c. shredded carrots

3 cups old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all ingredients except oats in food processor or blender. Add two cups of oats and mix until blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add remaining oats. Form into patties and place on nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for seven minutes. Turn patties and bake for seven minutes more. Serve on hamburger buns (or not) with condiments of choice.

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