Twice as Tasty

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

I designed this recipe for meatless burgers that are loaded with flavor yet firm enough to be frozen and then grilled

By Julie Laing
Photo by Julie Laing.

I’ve eaten many tasty homemade veggie burgers over my meat-free decades, but most can’t hold up to freezing and reheating like commercial brands. So I had two goals when creating a black bean burger recipe: intensely flavored and freezer ready.

To reach both goals, I experimented until I could pile in vegetables, herbs and spices with just enough egg and filler to bind the ingredients and nail a workable moisture balance. Chilling briefly makes the mixture more manageable, but packing it in a mold is crucial when shaping burgers that will stay together through freezing and then reheating on a grill or in a skillet on a stovetop. A wide-mouth canning ring makes burgers perfectly sized for homemade sourdough brioche buns. It works so well that I usually bake and freeze a double batch for months of quick meals.

I typically grill the vegetables, but sautéing works too. Drain off excess liquid before mixing them into the beans. Grilled and frozen vegetables can be defrosted fully and then squeezed to remove unwanted water. Dried herbs can replace fresh ones; use just one-third of the given volume.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Serves 8

1 15-ounce can or 2 cups cooked black beans, drained

2 large cloves roasted garlic, minced

1/2 cup minced cooked onion

1/2 cup minced cooked bell pepper

3/4 cup minced cooked mushrooms

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon tamari, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

In a large mixing bowl, use a potato masher to crush the beans into a paste, with just a few remaining broken or whole. Stir in the garlic, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and eggs. Mix in the parsley, cilantro, oregano, paprika, cumin and tamari until thoroughly combined; season with freshly ground pepper.

In a small food processor, pulse the sunflower seeds half a dozen times, until coarsely chopped; pour the seeds into the bean mixture. Repeat the processing with the rolled oats and then the breadcrumbs, pulsing until each forms a coarse meal; add them to the beans. Stir until the mixture comes together. If it is too wet to hold its shape when squeezed in your hand, stir in another tablespoon or so of ground oats. Let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Shape the bean mixture into eight patties, packing each tightly into a wide-mouth canning ring and smoothing the surface so that it sticks together when the ring is lifted. Place each patty onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping the patties halfway through the baking time, until firm and golden. Serve immediately, or cool the patties on a rack to room temperature before refrigerating them for up to three days or freezing them in zip-close freezer bags for several months.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.