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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK, so this is my first ever vegetarian burger! It uses no eggs, so depending on the kinds of condiments you use, it is completely vegan. On the positive side the mixture will be very sticky, so you will have to oil your hands to work the patties into the shape you want. The patties are made only from a few simple ingredients. They cook easily and stay together very well, and if you are, like me, in transition from meat eater to vegetarian you won't really notice much difference in consistency, taste or texture! On the negative side, you can not make the patties very thin, or if you hold them up in the air on a spatula, they might fall apart.

½ cup of cooked black beans (you can use half a can)
½ cup of garbanzo beans (you can use half a can)
½ cup of Panko bread crumbs (you can also use a slice or two of toast ground up in the blender)
1 cup of uncooked rice (your choice what type, I think I use long grain white)
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon high heat oil like rice bran oil (what I used) or sunflower oil
A splash, depending on your blender, of bean juice
¼ - ½ teaspoon of salt (I just used 6 shakes of sea salt from a small table shaker)
¼ - ½ teaspoon of course ground pepper (again a few shakes - if using finely ground use less)

NOTE: DO NOT USE CANOLA (RAPE SEED) OIL! They add deodorant to it because it is already rancid by the time it hits the store shelves!

Put the two cups of water in a pan and boil it. I usually measure out my 1 cup of rice first, set it aside in a small bowl, the use the same measuring cup to pour in the cold water which I then bring to a boil.

When the water is boiling, add the rice and bring it back to a boil. When that is boiling turn down to medium heat and add the olive oil. I just used a metal tablespoon measure to pour the oil in, the stirred everything once before covering the rice. After the oil is in, cover and let cook 15-20 minutes.

NOTE: I had an issue here. I cooked for 20 minutes and I guess my burner was extra hot because the rice was burning to the bottom of the pan! Our previous oven, doing the same thing, would have beautifully cooked rice with a just a little sticking to the bottom. So I either cooked things too long, or the extra olive oil, which is a low heat oil (and why it was not added to the boil) messed things up. So cook 15 minutes and then check. The water should be mostly gone, with juts a little rice sticking to the bottom.

The reasoning here with the rice is that I was seeking substitute for hamburger meat fat. That is a fat that is semi-solid at room temperature, and liquid when cooked. The best way to emulate this was to use rice (for the semi-solid part) and olive oil (for the greasy part.) Olive oil is the thickest oil, closest to grease, that I could think of. Turns out I was right, and sticky, olive oily rice is just like hamburger fat (and better for you!)

While the rice is cooking dig out your blender. You really need to have a good blender or food processor if you are going vegetarian. Because you will want to blend up things like this, and smoothies. My blender barely worked (I had to add a splash of bean juice to mix things up) but it did well enough. You can also use a fork and do everything by hand for a chunkier effect

NOTE: If you add any bean juice use very little, 1 teaspoon at a time, probably no more than 3!

Anyhow open your cans of beans, dig out a colander or something you can drain the juice from, and drain that juice into 1 or 2 containers where you will store the remainder of the beans separately, or together, based on your preference. Do not throw the bean juice out!

Rinse the beans, letting that rinsed off juice go down the sink (no need to save that), grab ½ a cup, and throw it in your blender. Do this for both beans. My process was to open both cans, drain the black beans into a single container, rinse the beans under the faucet, grab half a cup, throw that in the blender, put the beans in the container with the bean juice, and then repeat for the garbanzo beans.

Put a skillet on the stove and add a tablespoon of high heat oil. Put it on a low heat to start warming it up. Pick up the skillet to spread the oil around as it warms up. When the rice is cooked scoop in ½ - 1 cup and throw that in the blender with the beans. I used 1 cup of cooked rice, you might try ½ a cup and see if that goes better, the choice is yours.

Mix everything up, using whatever setting will get you a semi-chunky paste. You need a good paste, so you can't have it too chunky, but you can experiment with this. Mine came out to about the consistency of refried beans, maybe slightly less chunky.

Scoop everything out in a medium - large bowl. Throw in your breadcrumbs and seasonings. You can play around here, but do so at your own risk! I only used salt and pepper, keeping it simple, and I know that tasted great!

Now I tried mixing things with my hands, before oiling them. Big mistake! Your mixture should be VERY sticky! So you can use an oiled spoon (use the same high heat oil you are cooking with, rice bran in my case) to dig out a scoop and press it down on your skillet, or you can oil your hands to knead the "dough", forming the patties with your hands. Find what works for you.

For me I scooped things out with a wooden spoon, didn't think to oil it, threw it on the skillet, tried to flatten the mix with the same spoon, got nowhere, tried to use a metal spatula to flatten it, the patty stuck to the back of the spatula, so I took it off the stove, had a brief moment of frustration, used my hands to flatten things, realized that some of the oil from the skillet was on top of the patty, making it possible to smooth them into the shape I wanted, so I oiled my hands, problem solved.

My first patty was too thin and it fell apart when I picked it up to look at its underside to see how it was cooking. I had cooked it initially on the next step up from medium, but that was cooking too fast, the bottom of the skillet was burning, so I turned down to medium, and eventually one step down from medium.

So try cooking these on medium, 2-4 minutes, each side. USE YOUR NOSE! If it smells like it is burning, it probably is. If it smells cooked, it probably is. The kitchen is an excellent place to develop this under-used but very powerful sense!

You should get 2-3 patties, bun-sized. They will not shrink (another advantage), once one side has cooked you can add cheese, depending on your diet and preferences. I am a lacto ovo vegetarian, so I will still use cheese. I know of no cheese substitute that will melt like good 'ol fashioned cheddar. But if you are a vegan and know of such a cheese, go head and use that if you like.

That's it! When I was done I dug out a hamburger bun, some leftover shredded lettuce from taco night, an onion, some old fashioned mustard, some mayo (if you are a vegan, use a substitute or try salsa), and I lathered each side of the bun with mayo, mustard (if you are not using mayo you may not want mustard) on one side, lettuce on the other, the patty, now with cheese, torn in half (it was too big), was in the middle and I topped that with a thin slices of onion. YUMMY! I really was surprised at how good this was, how crispy the patty came out, yet juicy in the middle.

NOTE: While I have not tried it yet, I suspect these will cook very well in spaghetti sauce as an alternative to meat balls. They seem to stick together very well, and in a ball I imagine that will not fall apart. Use Italian seasoning for this, 1-2 tablespoons. Add pepper if you like, leave out the salt (most sauce has plenty.) Oil your hands to roll the balls, insert cheese or your favorite, meltable cheese-like substance into the middle for an extra surprise. Be warned that this may leak out, depending on how the balls cook! Stir GENTLY if cooking in the sauce. I will try this and provide an update with the results later.

Martha Stewart's Meatless Monday Black Bean and Rice burgers at YouTube.
Better Homes and Gardens Black Bean Cakes with Salsa

18 Posts
This is awesome, thanks so much for posting! I've been looking for a good vegan bean burger recipe for ages. Looking forward to trying it out :)

Premium Member
16,664 Posts
This sounds good, and I like how it uses familiar ingredients most people already have in their kitchen. :D

15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
A few slight updates...

Use olive oil for working with the "dough." The high heat rice bran oil seems to stick to things.

It's OK if the "dough" is slightly moist. Add your 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs, or ground dry toast, "knead" everything together, and it should work into about the same consistency as hamburger. I just did this tonight, making "meat" balls with this.

More updates on the results of the black bean hamburger balls, but so far, using olive oil, they were easy to form and are holding together well. Cooking them in the sauce.

Glad you guys like the recipe!

UPDATE: As promised, here is an update as to how the "meat" balls turned out. Well it was sort of like a bean paste held into a ball. The fork slides through - its not strong enough to use to hold the noodles on your tine. Slight bean taste as well. Neither issue is noticeable as a burger.

I think cooking the "meat" balls in the sauce is the problem. I think as a patty there is more texture there. The solution may be to cook the balls on the stove, rolling them around until they are brown on all sides. Or perhaps an ingredient could be added to make them"meatier"? I'm open to suggestions!

BTW prepare to feel stuffed with this! Very filling meal.

2 Posts
Thanks so much for this easy recipe! My family loves burgers and I've been looking for a simple vegetarian alternative. And I actually have all of the ingredient:)
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