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 :)Print
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 portabello mushroom might be the way to go.
- 1/2 red 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 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 15-ounce can pinto beans
- 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
- Preheat a grill to medium heat.
- Peel 5 garlic cloves. In the bowl of a food processor, add 1/2 red onion and garlic and process until finely chopped (alternatively, finely chop the ingredients with a knife.)
- 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 black pepper. Pulse 10 to 15 times until the mixture is coarsely chopped.
- Drain and rinse the beans. In a medium bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher. Stir in the chopped ingredients above (onion, garlic, nuts and spices), and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Mix together with your hands; taste and add additional salt if desired.
- Form the mixture into four patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the heat of the grill. (Alternatively, bake the burgers in a 450°F oven for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.)
- Top with toppings of your choice, and enjoy!
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.