I confess, veggie burgers have never really been on my “things I want to make” list. In fact, black beans, quinoa and the likes weren’t even in my vocabulary, I’d say.
But things change, (and so do your taste buds) and when Mr. Wonderful got a not-so-happy cholesterol report recently, his doctor recommended to help lower it, that we avoid foods that involve animals, like meat, eggs, and cheese. I decided to start making meatless meals three days a week. And then came the challenge – how to do that in an interesting fashion.
I know my man (and myself) and I knew that a plate of steamed vegetables wasn’t going to cut the mustard every night for dinner, so I started looking and playing around with flavors and textures. This was one of our very favorite dishes I came up with and I think it will probably be a regular all summer long.
Surprisingly, the kids even woofed this down so, encouraged, I kept looking around for other ideas to incorporate meatless meals that tasted great.
When I came up with a combination of black beans and quinoa in the form of a veggie burger, that tastes pretty doggone good, is large and filling, and when I realized the cost, in comparison to those frozen patties at the store was way better, I smiled with success.
Side Note: Here are a few of the questionable ingredients from the frozen grocery store burgers we were buying:
Corn Oil,Wheat Gluten,Calcium Caseinate,Cornstarch, Yeast Extract, Dextrose, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Wheat Gluten, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Inosinate, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Caramel Color
I haven’t researched these to make sure they are evil but seriously, why?
I prefer to know what’s going into my food so I find whole ingredients just have to be better right?
Now, these take a little time to make, but do like we did and make up a big batch on a weekend day and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Pop them into freezer bags so you can pull one out anytime. But try them fresh, when they’re at their best. You can pan-fry them, but they are best when baked in the oven so that the outside crisps up and the inside is soft and moist. Top a salad or simply serve them on a bun with avocado, sprouts, lettuce and your choice of sauce and you’ll see why we like them.
I also think if you rolled these into small balls (like meatballs) and placed them, crunchy and yummy on a salad, it would be fabulous!
Start out by making your quinoa. I use my rice cooker to make mine and it comes out perfect every time. Today I used red quinoa as I thought it might make prettier burgers. I learned that you should rinse your quinoa first to remove a bitter coating, drain it and then add the appropriate amount of water.
Usually the back of the bag tells you to use 1 1/2 parts of water to one part of quinoa but I have always used two parts of water to one part of quinoa so I used 1/2 cup quinoa and a cup of water. If you don’t have a rice cooker, simply follow the stove directions on the back of the bag and do it on the stove.
Before you cook it, it looks like this.
When it’s finished, it looks like this.
Once you have your quinoa cooking, chop about 1/2 of a red onion (about 1/2 cup chopped). Add it into a medium sized skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Stir it around for about 5 minutes.
Add in four chopped garlic cloves and stir another minute, then remove to a bowl.
Drain and rinse two cans of black beans and dump them into the bowl. Also add in one teaspoon of salt, cumin and coriander.
Chop up one chipotle and adobe pepper and also add a tablespoon of the sauce from the can right in the bowl with the black bean mixture. Add in one-half chopped red, orange or yellow peppers. Or, you could do a combination of all three. Hey, whatever floats your pepper boat is ok with me! A lot of recipes I saw called for corn, but I prefer the health benefit of peppers rather than the higher calorie and starchy corn.
Add in one cup of whole oats.
And add in two egg whites.
If you’re vegan or sometimes vegan (like my daughter Kayla), you could probably omit the egg whites. I think the paste of the beans provides enough of a binder.
I started out by mashing this all up with a potato masher. You could do this if you use a lot of muscle, or you could recruit someone with really big biceps in your household, but I quickly realized, it would be much easier to pulse it all in my food processor. Remember, we still haven’t added the quinoa.
Pulse this until a thick paste forms but there are still good sized chunks of things inside as well.
Add in back into the bowl along with two cups of your cooked and fluffy quinoa.
Fold it all together to incorporate the quinoa.
Then get ready for the fun part! It’s like making mud cakes again like you did when you were little! Only these, you can actually eat.
Come to think of it, there was always someone on our block who ate the real mud cakes….I wonder where they are today?
Form them into a ball.
Then flatten them out on a wooden cutting board or piece of wax paper and shape them.
Place them on a wax paper or parchment lined baking sheet.
Tonight it was just Mr. Wonderful and me, so we popped two of these onto a parchment lined baking sheet and stuck them in the oven on 400º for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes we flipped them. I have made them in a pan or in the oven, and I much prefer them in the oven. The outside gets nice and crunchy and bakes evenly that way.
The rest I stuck in the freezer for several hours, then when they were good and solidly frozen, I added them into freezer bags for easy dinners later on. They won’t stick together that way and you can easily remove one or two when you need them.
I love these served with avocado slices, lettuce and tomato.
Try these Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers on your next Meatless Monday! I hope you enjoy them!