Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

I've been doing this thing lately where I crave some kind of burger weekly, if not multiple times a week.  Maybe it's because it's summer, maybe because I finally started eating them with toppings in the bun, or maybe it's just because they're delicious, but my burger cravings have increased exponentially over the last few months.

This is weird for me.
Not a bad weird, but weird, since I used to be able to go for months without a burger.

Thanks to these increased cravings, I've had to figure out some good hamburger alternatives.  I try to alternate animal-based meals with plant-based meals - it's cheaper and healthier - and having multiple burger cravings a week tends to mess with that.  There are times when there's absolutely no substitute for a gigantic beef-based bacon cheeseburger, but most of the time, I do really well with turkey, bison, or a veggie burger.
And let me tell you, I've become a total veggie burger convert.  And these black bean burgers kick-started my conversion.

Black beans are chopped up with brown rice, sweet onion, jalapeño peppers, garlic, and chili powder, blended with some lime juice, then mixed with whole wheat breadcrumbs and formed into patties.  They're cooked up for less than 10 minutes in a skillet and layered on a toasted whole wheat bun with some lettuce and salsa, making me a happy happy camper.  They are spicy, tender, wholesome, and filling - always a plus for a vegetarian meal!  And it's vegan if you don't use cheese!

...but why wouldn't you use cheese?  That would be delicious...

Anyway.  If you're veggie, if you're a health nut, or if you just like spicy things, make these and be happy :)

Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Source: adapted from Cookin' Canuck's recipe on CuisineNie

2 tbsp olive or canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds & membranes removed if you don't want heat)
1 tsp chili powder
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, more if needed

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until it softens.  Add the garlic, jalapeño, and chili powder and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Scrape the mixture into a food processor.  Add the black beans, brown rice, lime juice, salt and pepper and pulse until the beans are chopped - not pureed.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs with a wooden spoon.  Form into 4-5 equal-sized patties with your hands, adding more breadcrumbs if necessary.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes on a baking sheet or plate lined with plastic wrap.
To cook the burgers, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the patties for approximately 4 minutes on each side.  Serve on toasted whole wheat buns with your toppings of choice.  Enjoy!

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