Friday, September 16, 2011

Versatile Black Bean Burgers

Versatile is the new black.  At least when it comes to the recipe for black bean patties in Vegan Unplugged. That recipe is one of the most popular in the book, and it lends itself to lots of variations. 

The recipe originated during Hurricane Isabel back in 2003.  With no electricity for over a week, we dined royally using only a single-burner butane stove and ingredients from our pantry.  For the patties, Robin mashed together a can of black beans and a can of diced potatoes, along with some dehydrated onion and other seasonings, with breadcrumbs as a binder.  They tasted so good, we now make them whenever we’re pressed for time — not because the power is out.

Over the years, we’ve discovered lots of ways to change this amazingly simple recipe — we usually use quick-cooking oatmeal in place of breadcrumbs for more nutrition, sometimes adding ground walnuts or sunflower seeds to the mix.  I enjoy them as burgers on a toasted roll with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a swath of ketchup.  They’re also great with salsa, peanut sauce, or barbecue sauce. Most recently, we topped them with sriracha mayo – wow.

Try all 80 of the great pantry recipes in Vegan Unplugged—they’re ready in 15 minutes.  And right now there’s an amazing 2-for-1 sale going on at Vegan Heritage Press — buy one at the already low price and get another one free to give to someone you care about.

Here’s the recipe, with some of the variations included.  They’re soy-free and can be made gluten-free or fat-free as well.

Versatile Black Bean Patties  
Have these incredibly tasty patties your way — with mustard, ketchup, spicy peanut sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce, or my favorite, sriracha mayo. Note: if you want to include ground nuts, substitute them for about half of the oats or breadcrumbs.

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced white potatoes, drained
1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, if you’ve got it)
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (can be gluten-free) or breadcrumbs, or a combination
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil (or cooking spray)

In a large bowl, mash the beans and potatoes with a potato ricer until well mashed.  [Note: instead of mixing my hand, you can use a food processor.] Add the onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Mix until well combined.
Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and use your hands to shape into patties.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat or spray the skillet with cooking spray. Cook the bean patties until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
Makes 6 patties