Even before I became a vegetarian, hamburgers and cheese burgers were never about the meat for me. They were about the fixins and the buns. Loading a burger with mayo, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese was the only reason I would consider eating one.
So when I went veggie, I took a brief tour through the pre-made veggie patty market and found a few that were okay but looked weird and had strange ingredients and consistencies. Not to mention the fact that they were the definition of processed and pre-packaged food.
I had heard that people were doing great things in the non-meat burger world with black beans so I did a search for some recipes and tried a few with varying degrees of success and satisfaction. Some tasted terrible and some didn’t have the right consistency to act like a burger patty.
That is why I am happy to offer you the following recipe. After several weeks of very scientific ingredient combinations and experiments in our test kitchen (okay, my kitchen), I finally came up with something that looks, holds together, and even tastes like a burger.
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup barley
2 (15 oz) cans of low sodium black beans (drained)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cups bread crumbs ( or more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Step #1: In 1 tablespoons of olive oil, saute 1/2 c of chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and fresh herbs until soft and translucent; about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Step #2: Rinse and boil 1/2 cup of pearled barley until tender. Drain the barley well, and set aside.
Step #3: In a food processor, combine 1 can of the black beans (drained), the sauted onions, garlic, herbs, and the drained barley. Add the egg. Pulse the mixture, scraping down the sides as needed, until well combined but sill slightly chunky.
Step #4: Transfer the mixture in the food processor to a large mixing bowl. Add a second can of black beans (also drained), chia seeds, 1 cup of bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Stir by hand until well mixed and evenly combined.
Step #5: Let the burger mixture rest for 15 minutes to allow the bread crumbs and chia seeds to absorb excess moisture and bind the burger mixture together.
Step #6: Once your mixture has set, test its consistency. Form it into a ball or a test burger patty. Does it stay together without sticking to your hands? If so, you are doing great. If the mixture is gooey, sticks to your hands, and won’t form a patty, add breadcrumbs until you get the consistency you need. I make my patties from 1/2 cup of mixture each, which yields six to seven patties.
Step #7: Black bean burgers can be cooked in an oiled skillet (which is how I typically do it) or on a BBQ grill.
For the skillet cooking method: Preheat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Sear the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until heated through, about 5-10 minutes more. If you are adding cheese, now is the time!
For the grill cooking method: Make sure your grill grates are very clean and well oiled with olive or another vegetable oil as your burgers will want to stick. Preheat your BBQ grill as you normally would. If you can determine the temperature of your grill, aim for a temperature in the 400-450 degree range. Oil the grill grates once more before placing your burgers on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes on each side and then gently move them to a part of the grill with no direct heat. If you are adding cheese, add it now and allow the cheese to melt and the burgers to heat through.
Once the black bean burgers are cooked, you can treat them just like any other burger. Dress them up with a bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.
The article was originally on www.groundingup.com.