I have a lot of vegetarian followers and they’re always asking me for hearty, vegetarian recipes. One of them recently asked me to create a good vegetarian burger. I love to make burgers and have competed in several burger contests but I have to admit that I’m not as experienced with making veggie burgers. With traditional burgers, it’s simply a matter of mixing ground meat with flavorings and putting some interesting toppings on. But making a great veggie burger is a bit more complex. First of all, I wanted to make sure that these meat-free burgers were filling and hearty enough to satisfy a serious hunger craving. Secondly, I wanted to infuse the burgers with lots of interesting flavors and textures. And finally, I wanted to ensure that the burgers were sturdy enough so that they wouldn’t fall apart during the cooking process. For any of you carnivores out there who think you don’t like veggie burgers, I hope my Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers will change your mind.
For the main base of my burger, I decided to use nutritious, hearty black beans and quinoa. Black beans are packed with protein and fiber along with several essential vitamins and minerals like B complex vitamins, potassium, magnesium and iron. They’re also loaded with antioxidants, which help prevent chronic diseases.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain-like crop that’s recently become very popular because of its numerous health benefits but it’s actually been around for centuries. It has many unique qualities and health benefits such as a very high protein content (about twice that of regular cereal grains), which makes it a great source of protein for vegetarians. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and several vitamins and minerals including B complex vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. And it’s gluten-free which makes it a nice option for people who are gluten-intolerant. Quinoa is not only a great choice for vegetarians, but also for anyone trying to cut down their intake of refined, processed carbohydrates while increasing their whole grains.
Although most of us think of oats as mainly a breakfast food, they are actually quite versatile. If you grind them up in a food processor, they form crumbs that can successfully be used to add fiber and bulk to meatloaf, meatballs and veggie burgers- much more nutritious than using traditional breadcrumbs. Oats are whole grains that are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Because they are packed with fiber, they help lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Oats have also been shown to help control blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy blood pressure. The fiber will also keep you feeling full for a long time thereby cutting down on snacking.
I wanted to infuse my burgers with lots of spices and flavorings so I decided to go with a Southwest theme and use chipotles in adobo, which are canned, smoked jalapeno peppers. In addition to the chipotles, I mix in cumin, cilantro, onions and garlic. It’s important to refrigerate the patties for several hours before cooking them as this will help them hold their shape. I bake my patties in the oven at 400 degrees F, which produces a nice golden crust on the outside but if you prefer, you can pan fry them in a small amount of oil. I serve my veggie burgers on multigrain Kaiser rolls topped with slices of avocado, a handful of baby greens and a cooling yogurt sauce but feel free to customize your burger any way you like. I like to serve them with my Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges on the side. One tip- if you have leftover patties, store them in the freezer. Then you can enjoy a delicious and healthy vegetarian meal any night of the week.
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- 2 cans black beans (15.5 oz each), rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large egg or flax egg*
- ⅔ cup cooked corn (canned or fresh)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobo
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup rolled oats, ground into crumbs
- 1 cup reduced fat or nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons minced chipotles in adobo + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 8 multigrain hamburger rolls, lightly toasted
- Avocado slices, tomatoes and cilantro leaves for topping (optional)
- Place the quinoa in a small saucepan along with 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan. Cook 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat.
- Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are softened, 5-6 minutes. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add approximately 1½ cans of black beans to the bowl and using a potato masher or fork, mash all of the ingredients together until a pasty mixture forms.
- Stir in the remaining beans along with the tomato paste, egg, corn, cilantro, chipotles, cumin and salt. Stir in the cooked quinoa and ground oats until evenly distributed.
- Form the mixture into 8 equal patties, compacting them well with your hands as you form them. Place the patties on a baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- To make the yogurt sauce, puree the yogurt, chipotles, adobo sauce, cilantro, lime juice, and honey together in a mini food processor until smooth.
- When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and place the patties on the sheet. Cook 10-12 minutes until the patties are golden brown and crispy, then carefully flip the over and cook another 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can pan fry the patties in a skillet with a little olive oil. Serve the patties on the buns with the cilantro yogurt sauce and toppings of your choice.
* Because of the wide variety of buns and toppings, the nutritional info above only includes the patties and yogurt sauce. I used Arnold Select multi-grain Kaiser rolls, which have 150 calories, 1.5g fat, 0 sat. fat, 6g protein, 27g carbs and 3g fiber per roll.