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How to make a bean burger with whats in your pantry

After last weeks post (Translation: after wasting hours of productivity looking at delicious vegan and vegetarian black-bean burger recipes), I realized that bean burgers are one of the most versatile recipes out there. An old Mark Bittman customizable soup recipe came into my mind, and I decided to impart to you all a customizable vegan bean-burger recipe.

Since my inspiration for this post was the many bean burger recipes out there in cyberspace, at the bottom of this post, I’ll also post some links for other bean burger recipes that I found helpful.

The components of a bean burger:

  1. Beans – (any kind – 2 cans will suffice. Examples – black beans, chickpeas, white-beans). Dont throw away the liquid, and mash these up. You want to mash them up enough so that you have a batter, but not so much that its a puree.
  2. Binder: This is to hold your patty together. Personally, I love my black-bean patties a little crumbly. Lots of recipes use eggs – 1-2 will suffice, but we are going for vegan here. You can use a vegan egg replacer. Here’s a nice infographic with egg substitutions:  I am not sure how well bananas, apple sauce and peanut butter would work out here though. If you were using a vegan substitute, just use the vegan equivalent of 2 eggs (eg) 2 tbsp of ground flax. Whats nice is that you actually dont have to let the flax seed sit in water before hand for this recipe because the flax will absorb the moisture from the batter.
  3. A grain or starch: Other than the potato/sweet-potato and brown rice, the starches also have a binding quality to them. Most recipes use a cup. Example are grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, panko bread crumbs and even bread (one recipe suggested you put bread into a food processor and use the bread-crumbs from that). I have seen other recipes use sweet-potato or just potato, and chick-pea flour (besan) is another common one. You can also use corn starch or tapioca starch. You can use whole grains or you can grind them in a coffee grinder to make a flour. Oh yeah, you can use wheat or a gluten-free flour of your choice too.
  4. Filler: Add whatever vegetables you want! Whatever you use, chop it up really fine. Lots of black-bean burger recipes use cilantro, onions, corn and jalapenos for the south-west feel. Beets, surprisingly, were a big hit. Lots of burgers include a green vegetable like chopped frozen spinach or kale. Zucchini or squash is another common add in. For a mediterranean feel, you can use chick-peas as your bean and egg-plant as your dominant vegetable, and then add parsley and paprika. Basil, ginger mushrooms and soy sauce will give you an asian feel
  5. Spices: Go nuts! Use whatever you want! Most use cumin and garlic powder at a minimum. Use about 1tsp of salt or more to taste. If you arent using jalapenos, you might want to add crushed red pepper, sriracha, or chili powder. Paprika lends a smokey-ness. Soy-sauce lends a nice, savory umami flavor.
  6. Dipping sauce (optional): Adding a tbsp of Sriracha to some vegan mayo you have lying around is common. You can use some salad dressing. Another option is to make a tahini or nut-based based dipping sauce. Or you can use any condiment in the fridge. An avocado base or guacamole is another option.
  7. 2 tablespoons of your choice of heathy cooking oil

To make the burger:

  1. Mash up the beans with the bean juice from the can using a fork or masher. Add in your starch, spices, and binder. Add in your veggies. Use a wooden spoon or your washed hand to mix the batter so the ingredients are distributed evenly.
  2. To cook the burgers, coat a cast iron pan with your oil of choice (I like coconut for its high smoke point). Spoon the batter on to the pan and flatten with your spoon so it looks like a patty. Let it cook on low heat for 20 minutes on each side. The burger is ready to be flipped when it is holding together on the side which it is cooking on. The flip and cook to your desired crispiness.
  3. You can also bake these too but I havent tried to do that yet. I will update this post if I do.

Add on your condiment and place between 2 pieces of scrumptious bread if desired. Serve with a side salad to make the meal complete.

Other Black-bean burger Recipes:

Black-bean Burgers with Chipotle Lime Tahini and Crunchy Guacamole from Host the Toast

Simple Black Bean Burger Recipe on All-recipes.com

Spicy Chick-pea veggie burgers from Running on Real Food

Sweet-potato Black-bean burger from minimalist baker

Vegetarian Mushroom Burger from Rock-Recipes

Best-ever beet and bean black-bean burgers from Epicurious