Black Bean Burgers That I Thought Would Suck but Totally Didn’t

Is that the best title of all time? No? It’s the worst? Ok. Fine. Well it’s true. I thought these would suck. And they didn’t. At all.


Let’s back up a few steps to Tuesday, when I blabbed on and on about the pair of shoes that I really wanted but couldn’t afford full price. Wellllll I found them online. On sale. On FINAL sale. And I bought them. Even though shoes are explicitly not a part of my very strict budget that obviously isn’t that strict at all.

So what does one do when they immediately have shopper’s remorse? I didn’t actually have shopper’s remorse. I’m just saying I did because I think that’s how one is supposed to feel when one blows their monthly budget on a pair of shoes. I’ll tell you what you do. You do some research online and find a recipe for black bean burgers that is both 1) healthy and 2) has inexpensive ingredients that are already in my cupboard.

So that’s what I did. A sort of punishment, if you will. Because given the choice between a double double, animal style from In-N-Out or a black bean burger on a whole wheat bun, we all know which one I’d choose.

But then…something strange happened. I kinda sorta loved these. A lot. As in, I would willingly make these in place of a burger and not even feel sad about it.

What is the world coming to?


  • ¾ cup panko
  • 3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • burger toppings of your choice — I served mine on toasted, whole wheat buns with spinach, guacamole and sauteed mushrooms


Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place 2½ cups of the beans (Do not throw away the rest – you will need them later! And if you’re like me, you will have to dig the can of remaining beans out of the garbage! I should learn to read instructions more carefully) in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture, toasted panko, the remaining ½ cup beans (hopefully not from the garbage), bell pepper, and shallot to the bowl with the mashed beans. Stir together until evenly combined.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties. (At this point the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking, or you can throw them in the freezer to eat later.) The patties may seem entirely too wet and goopey to turn into anything edible. Stay with me. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. I recommend leaving the patties completely untouched for the first 4 minutes, because if you try to move them too soon, they will fall apart. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.

Serve warm.

*Above photo from Google Images, because I am an idiot. I FINALLY took proper foodie pics for this recipe and then deleted them by accident from my phone. I then said a few very bad words that started with “F”.

Yields: 6 burger patties

Recipe barely adapted from (as in, I left out the cilantro): Annie’s Eats


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