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The Black Bean Burger to Beat All Burgers

Recently, someone asked me what is one thing I enjoy doing for myself simply because I enjoy it. I thought about it for a moment, and then responded, "I love to cook." As a vegetarian of over 14 years,...

Recently, someone asked me what is one thing I enjoy doing for myself simply because I enjoy it. I thought about it for a moment, and then responded, "I love to cook." As a vegetarian of over 14 years, it can sometimes be hard to find recipes that are already vegetarian, or to adapt meat-heavy recipes to be meat-free but still resemble the flavor profile of the original recipe. If you are looking for a meat-free recipe that really packs a punch, look no further. What follows is my recipe for a homemade burger made from black beans and stuffed with gorgonzola.

First, gather your ingredients. Your hands will get messy with this recipe, so unless you want black bean puree all over your kitchen, it's best to get everything ready before you dig in.

Black Bean Burger
Black Bean Burger 

Black Bean Burger

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 can of black beans (or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups bulk cooked)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup of vegan mayo (or real mayo)
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled gorgonzola
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onions
  • 1 clove of garlic (or about 1 teaspoon of ground garlic or garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Direction:

  1. Start by draining the black beans. They don't need to be bone-dry, but they shouldn't be swimming in liquid. Pour them into a mixing bowl. Here's the fun part-- mash up the beans with your hands until most but not all are well-crushed. Mashing them by hand leaves the skins somewhat intact which helps create texture. If you don't want to get messy, you can wear gloves, or puree the beans in a food processor.
  2. Next, add all remaining ingredients except the gorgonzola. Mix them together until they form a sticky dough. If your dough is crumbly and dry, you've added too many breadcrumbs. But don't worry! Add more mayo, or just a bit of plain ol' water, and it should bring your burgers to the right consistency. If your burger mix is liquidy and won't hold its shape, you haven't added enough breadcrumbs. Add more!
  3. After you have your burgers at the right consistency, divide the mix in half. Take one half, and form four patties. Using your thumb, make a small indent in the middle of each patty, about 1" in diameter.
  4. Fill the indent with gorgonzola cheese. If it looks like it won't all fit, that's okay. It will.
  5. Take the remaining half of your burger mix, and form four more patties. Place these on top of the patties filled with cheese, and press the edges together around the cheese. If they won't stick together, wet your fingers with a little water, and that should seal them up nicely.
  6. Next, coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and place on medium heat. Once your pan is hot, place the burgers in the pan. They won't brown the same way a meat burger will, but depending on the thickness of your burgers, it typically takes about 2-3 minutes a side to cook one burger. If the cheese starts to melt through the sides, don't worry. That just means your burger is done.

Once you have a visible, but light, char on each side (this shouldn't take long), your burgers are done! Place on a bun with some cayenne aioli, arugula, and a tomato slice, or any other toppings you'd like, and enjoy!

Not only is this recipe perfect for a summer grill-out (yes, you can grill them), the addition of vegan mayo as opposed to real mayo is a heart-healthy choice that doesn't impact flavor. The mayo just acts as binder to help the beans stick together with everything else. Fresh herbs like basil add a seasonal lightness, and the curry helps balance the earthy umami of the black beans.

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