Meatless Monday: Another Top-Shelf Bean Burger

If you’re a bean burger enthusiast, you may remember last year when at long last, I found a black bean burger that actually works. Well, I’ve got great news: The black bean burger now has company!

(Kim O'Donnel)

The credit goes to the dynamic cooking duo that is Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, who have just released yet another book, “Cooking Know-How.” (A more detailed look at the book to come soon in this space.) But these two haven’t just come up with a lip-smacking recipe; they’ve devised a brilliant bean burger template that can apply to several kinds of beans.

Assuming you’ve got a 15-ounce can of drained beans, here’s what you do: chop up an onion, some garlic and a small handful of unsalted nuts, and along with the beans, throw into a food processor with some rolled oats, an egg and dried spices and herbs of your choosing. Pulse, and you’ve got patties that hold up, crisp up and taste great.

Below, the details for the chickpea version, which I’ve tweaked a bit (and which the guys encourage you to do). Instead of cinnamon, for example, I added my beloved smoked paprika, but whatever you choose to flavor your patties, do heed their advice of using spices sparingly, that “less is definitely more” in veggie burger world.

In anticipation of your question, these patties do not remind me of falafel, which tend to be highly spiced and crunchy. Instead, Bruce and Mark’s patties are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, like a good burger should be. Don’t forget the fixins!

Chickpea Burgers
Adapted from “Cooking Know-How”
By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 minced garlic clove
1 ¾ cups canned, drained chickpeas (15-ounce can)
½ cup walnuts
½ cup rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking oats)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom (KOD: I loved this addition!)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt (KOD: use less if the beans you use are salted)
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil for pan frying

Pour oil into a skillet over medium heat and cook until softened and very lightly browned, stirring, about four minutes. Pour contents of skillet into a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.

Add chickpeas, nuts, oats, egg, spices and/or herbs, salt and pepper. Pulse until grainy but well combined. (Don’t whiz, as you’ll end up with a paste.)

Shape mixture into four patties. Refrigerate for up to an hour, if you have time, as mixture can be sticky. Otherwise, wet your hands and scoop up ½ cup of the mixture and shape into patties.

When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry patties until darkly browned, even a little crunchy, turning once, about seven minutes. Dress with your favorite condiments and fixins.

Burgers can be refrigerated for a day or so and crisped again in a skillet with a little oil.

By Kim ODonnel |  April 20, 2009; 10:00 AM ET Meatless Monday
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Could you suggest something that would bind the beans together besides an egg? Something vegan?

Thanks -

Posted by: goodwater1 | April 20, 2009 10:42 AM

Any suggestions for spice a combination to use with pinto beans if I want to serve the burgers with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup?

Posted by: library2 | April 20, 2009 11:07 AM

You could use about two or three tablespoons of "besan" gram flour (available at Indian stores) instead of the egg. I have used it and it works great. Mix it well.

Posted by: maitra2003 | April 20, 2009 11:20 AM

Thanks for sharing this as its so versatile. Mark and Bruce do lots of veg recipes and very well.
Instead of egg, I'd likely use 1 1/2 tablespoons flax seeds and grind them, then mix them with 2 tablespoons water. I'l have to try it and see how it works.

With summer on the way, burgers are very important.

Posted by: theveggiequeen | April 20, 2009 11:56 AM

i can't wait to try this :) i have actually made the black bean burger recipe from this blog using both black beans and chick peas (substituting a can of chick peas and the rest black beans) and they are sooo delicious- we make a batch of them and freeze the left overs which i take for lunches!! so much better than packaged frozen veggie burgers. i'm excited to try this recipe with the rolled oats and walnuts!

Posted by: ellicott1 | April 20, 2009 12:12 PM

Speaking of besan Kim, do you have a link to your recent chickpea dosa that you filled with a fried egg?

Posted by: fran426 | April 20, 2009 12:47 PM

Library2 - I would use a combination of cumin and fennel for that meal. I'd toast fennel and cumin seeds, crush, and add.

Kim - Thanks for highlighting this. I've been resistant to trying bean burgers, but you always make things sound good and I'm willing to try.

Posted by: esleigh | April 20, 2009 12:52 PM

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | April 21, 2009 6:52 AM

Thanks VeggieQueen, I'm thinking the water should be warm or hot so that it activates the flax seed. Thoughts?

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | April 21, 2009 6:54 AM

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