Classic Bean Burger


Classic Bean Burger

Check this out. Yes, it’s a burger made entirely of beans and nuts. That’s not mushy. That holds up on a grill. That actually tastes like something when you eat it on a bun.

Don’t expect it to taste like meat, but it actually tastes…surprisingly good! Perhaps a little less juicy than its meaty cousin, but that’s to be expected. AND it’s incredibly healthy, as well as easy to make (especially if you have a food processor).

So what’s the catch? Well, nothing. Except for the 10 (count them) – TEN times we had to make these burgers to get them to work out. (And that’s not counting this major failure from last summer that almost turned us off to the idea forever.)

Granted, our ambitions were rather high. We were looking for a meatless burger that was:

Grillable (most veggie burgers are pan-fried or baked, and fall apart quite easily)

Easy to prepare (many veggie burgers require lots of prep time pre-cooking grains and veggies, or even pre-cooking the burger before grilling)

Satisfying on a bun (especially when you’re expecting a burger, beans on a bun isn’t generally the most pleasurable experience)

It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but somehow our burgers were either too wet, too dry, too bland, too salty, too hard to work with, or too inconsistent. We tried endless variations eggs, cheese, and oats to try to bind them together, and various combinations of spices and sauces.

In the end, turns out  that simply beans, nuts, bread crumbs and some spices makes for a burger that’s easy to shape, grill-able or bake-able, and tastes pretty good too! (It also happens to be vegan, if that’s important to you!)

So, it’s not glamorous or fancy. It’s not the best recipe we ever developed. BUT….we did it!  We conquered the bean burger! (I don’t even want to tell you how many of these things we’ve consumed in the past several weeks.) But honestly – I’m already excited to make more of them :)

Classic Bean Burgers
Makes 4 burgers

Notes: We opted here for a classic recipe in terms of taste – we may try in the future to add some more smokiness, like a chipotle pepper or some pimentón. Feel free to mix up any spices or herbs that you prefer!

While the burger had a better texture than most we’ve tried, it’s still a tad dry on a bun, so toppings like cheese, ketchup, mustard, or pesto are helpful!  However, if you’re looking for a meaty and juicy taste for your “burger”, a grilled portabella mushroom might be the way to go.

What You Need
1/3 cup red onion (about 1/2 onion)
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 15-ounce can pinto beans

What To Do

1  Preheat a grill to medium heat.

2  Peel the 5 garlic cloves. In the bowl of a food processor, add 1/2 red onion and garlic and process until finely chopped. (If no food processor, chop finely with a knife.)

3  Add 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon hot chili powder, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper. Pulse 10 to 15 times until the mixture is coarsely chopped. (If no food processor, coarsely chop the almonds, sunflower seeds, and cilantro, and combine with the other ingredients.)

4  Drain and rinse the beans. In a medium bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher. Stir in the ingredients from the steps above, and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Mix together with your hands; taste and add more salt if desired.

5  Form the mixture into four patties. Place on a grill and grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the heat of the grill. Or, bake them in a 450°F oven for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.

Top with toppings of your choice, and enjoy!

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SonjaClassic Bean Burger

Comments 37

  1. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum

    Ah the veggie burger!! I’m definitely trying this next week! I knew you guys would get it sooner or later. :)

    Oh, by the way, we grilled some romaine last night and topped it with homemade blue cheese dressing. It was delicious. Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Post

      Aww, thanks!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the romaine — blue cheese dressing sounds delicious! I have a feeling we’ll be making it a lot this summer, so we’ll haev to try that variation :)

  2. Snippets of Thyme

    I LOVE that you guys tried so hard to get this just right. That is so cute! I actually love veggie burgers of all sorts and any kind of bean burger. Yours looks delicious!

  3. Ginnette

    Uuhh this looks very good! I have a question… Since you added hot chili powder, did it make it hot?? I don’t like spicy things, I’m sure I can change it for something else, right? Thanks!

    1. Post

      Our burgers didn’t turn out very spicy, even though we used “hot” chili powder (the quantity was pretty low; I’d add more or use hot sauce to get a spicy burger).

      I would think a standard or mild chili powder would provide good flavor without too much spice — and of course, you can substitute or add spices to your own taste! (A lot of bean burger recipes call for cumin or even curry powder, but we were going for a less distinctive flavor).

      Good luck!

  4. Kay Ecker

    Your photo is beautiful and your burger looks great! I’ve always wanted to make a veg burger and now that you perfected your recipe, I hope to try making it soon. Thanks for the inspiration:-)

  5. Biz

    Actually it sounds kinda good – although I am not sure I could fake out the hubs on this one – that’s okay, there will just be more for me!

  6. Lauren

    Wow! I’m SO excited to try this. I’m super glad to have found this on tastespotting. I’m still looking for the perfect veggie burger recipe.

  7. Jen

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. My daughter is a new vegetarian and my husband is an avid meateater who’s biggest complaint about vegetarian food is that it’s not hearty enough. I think these would satisfy all parties.

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