Black Bean Burgers

My best friend brought over a ton of black beans—like two Costco cases. So I decided to make some black bean burgers! This is a pretty easy recipe that can be adapted to your own tastes. Unfortunately, I am 31 weeks pregnant and suffering from severe heartburn so these are a very basic recipe. You can add in more spices, grated veggies, and even some peppers. But these still came out delicious and very satisfying.  I also baked these, rather than pan fry them like most other recipes do. If you aren’t suffering from horrible heartburn or counting calories, you can absolutely fry them in a bit of olive or coconut oil.

Did I mentioned these freeze well too? Just wrap them individually in wax paper and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 months.

This recipes makes 4 large or 8 small patties.

Black Bean Burgers
2 cans (30 oz) organic black beans
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 tbs flaxseed
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 tps salt
1 tps cumin
1 tps smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
Water, as needed
Hamburger buns (I used potato buns)
Condiments and veggies

In a large bowl, mix everything together except the buns and condiments/veggies. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the oatmeal to puff up and absorb some of the liquid from the beans. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time. It should be a little gooey, but still hold a bit of shape.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Shape the black bean mixture into patties. I suggest doing this on the baking sheet with a spoon because the mixture can be very sticky.  I made 4 large patties, but you can always make smaller ones.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Turn up the oven to broil. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for minute or two.

Toast your buns, pop on your burger, and top with your favorite condiments.

I had to keep my condiments simple. Just romaine lettuce, stone ground mustard, and a bit of ketchup. However, I could have loved some vegan pepper jack cheese, Veganaise with some chipotle mixed in, tomatoes, and pickles. And try making my Homemade French Fries or my Sunchoke Fries as a tasty side dish.

In and Out Veggie Burger

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A few months ago a deal came up on Groupon for the Pitbull and Ke$sha concert in Mountain View. I do not really know why, but I LOVE Ke$ha’s music. I find her as a person a bit annoying though. I guess I like her “be yourself, even if you are a freak” musical message. Must be the Oregonian in me. And, how can anyone not love Pitbull? My mom even things he is sexy. I asked Michael to go with me—more as a courtesy though, he knew he was going no matter what. We had a really fun night. We drank some beers, laughed at the 14-year-old’s dressed like hookers, sang, and danced together.

After dancing to Mr. Worldwide for 2 hours, we were starving. And as a Californian now, that usually means In and Out. I normally get a tray of fries and just watch everyone happily eat their burgers. Now, I do not really crave meat ever, but I do love burgers (veggies ones now that is). I had read an article awhile about that In and Out toyed with the idea of doing a veggie patty burger, but, they do not want to deviate too much from the original menu. So, I assumed I would always munch fries in jealousy.

But I was wrong. I knew In and Out had a secret menu. Michael introduced it to me when I was visiting here and he ordered Animal Fries. However, last week we watched an episode of California’s Gold about In and Out, and someone ordered a Veggie Burger. I instantly searched the internet to find if it was true. And it is true….but not quite.

An In and Out Veggie Burger is simply the hamburger with no meat. Just the bun, lettuce, tomato, sauce, and onion or cheese if you want it. Simply order it with no sauce, ketchup/ mustard instead, and no cheese to make it vegan.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “A bun with veggies on it? Seriously? I can make that at home, what’s the point!” I thought the same thing. But Michael really wanted In and Out after the concert, so I thought I would give it a try. IT WAS AMAZING. The spongy bun, the crisp lettuce, the juicy tomato, the slightly tangy onion, and just the right amount of condiments…I want another one right now, it is that good.

Besides wanting to share the delicious discovery, the reason I posted this to show that you can be vegan and eat at normal restaurants. You can live a normal life and not be alienated by your lifestyle choice.

Seriously, try one next time you at In and Out. SO GOOD! It’s like heaven on a bun.

Lentil Burgers and Homemade French Fries

As awesome and convenient as frozen, pre-made veggie burgers are, they are still a processed food. Just because something is meat and dairy free, doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have preservatives and fillers. On occasion when you are working late or in a hurry, they can make a fine dinner. But, the best way to get a good meat-free burger is to make it yourself. My favorite alternative burger is lentil. I first had one in this little restaurant by the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. It had great flavor and a meat-like texture. Like beef, it will take on the flavor of whatever you season it with, so you can make Southwest burgers with chili and cilantro, Indian with cumin and curry—or any other flavors you like. These are just basic burgers, so feel free to experiments with the spices. This recipe makes about 2 burgers and can be easily multiplied.

And what would a good burger be without fries. Making your own fries is just as easy as opening up a bag of processed frozen ones. Just cut, soak, season, and bake. And yes bake, not fry. Baking is so much healthier, no one needs to be eating deep fried foods. This recipe makes one serving and be easily multiplied as well.

Lentil Burgers

1 cup dried lentils
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italians ones, but it plain is fine)
1/4 cup onion, pealed 
2 cloves garlic, pealed 
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp house seasoning

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse and pick through the lentils.

Cooking the lentils according to the directions on the package.

Drain the lentils and let them cool for a bit.

In a food processor or blender, at the lentils and remaining ingredients. Process until blender and fairly smooth. It’s okay if there are some big chunks.

Form into patties and let them chill in the fridge for a few hours. This allows them to firm up and hold up better while cooking.

Now, you can fry them in a pan but I get better results baking in the oven. Lightly spray a baking sheet and place the patties on. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping half way through.

Since you have the oven all hot, might as well be efficient and throw some fries on the pan too.

Homemade French Fries
1 small russet potatoes
Water
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp house seasoning, depending on taste

Wash the potato very well.

Cut the potato in 1/4 inch strips.

In the small bowl, add enough water to submerge the potatoes and then stir in the salt. Add the potatoes and soak for 15 minutes. This will add some flavor and remove some of the starch.

Drain the potatoes well and lightly dry.

In small bowl, add the potato sticks and house seasoning. Coat the sticks well.

You can cook them at the same time as the burgers on the same baking sheet. Spread the sticks in an even layer on part of the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, same as the burgers, until golden.


I didn’t have any buns, so I just ate mine plain. But I suggest a nice whole wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a good pickle on the side. I dipped my fries in some mustard and sweet chili sauce mix. If you go for ketchup, get the unsweetened all natural stuff. A lot of the big commercial brands are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

A classic American meal with a fantastic healthy twist. Loves it!