I was really apprehensive while making these Black Bean Burgers. I like to be realistic in life, which is why I mentally prepared myself for the doom of collapsed burger patties. It happens to the best of us. I also braced myself for a mushy, possibly flavorless interior. To make myself feel better about possible failure, I chalked this experience up as a trial run. And then..
I took the advice of two different articles/recipes on Black Bean Burgers and plucked the concepts that made the most sense to me: not rinsing the bean juice away because it’s tacky (in a sticky way, not a gaudy way), and panko bread crumbs.
The first thing you need to accept is this: a Black Bean Burger does not, will not, and should not taste like a ground beef burger. It’s not meant to mimic beef–it’s simply meant to allow people on plant-based diets the option of having a, in the words of Jules’ from Pulp Fiction, tasty burger. The process in creating the patties is very similar in that you want to season them properly and bind them together with an egg and breadcrumbs, but the similarities stop there.
I cooked my burgers on a cast iron skillet and the end result was perfection. The burgers felt very sturdy, so I think it’s safe to say that they would do well on a grill, but I can’t say for sure.
I took some step-by-step photos to give you a visual of what the patty making process is like. The entire time I was making these, I kept thinking, “Is that supposed to look like that? Am I doing this right? Is something missing?”
I don’t want you to have that sort of anxiety in your life.
When you crack open your can’o’beans, drain them with a strainer, but do not rinse them. Shake them out well, but no rinsing. I feel like the stickiness of the bean juice lent a big hand in why these burgers stayed together. I’m no scientist, but I just have this feeling…
Put them in a large bowl.
Mash them with a fork until about 3/4 of the beans are mush. You want some full bean action in there, so I let 1/4 of the concoction remain as full beans. Got it? 3/4 of it mush, 1/4 of it not mush. I can math.
If it looks like mud, you done good.
Add the extras. You can do what you want seasoning-wise, but I definitely suggest panko bread crumbs over Italian breadcrumbs. They are fuller, more crisp, and they do a better job at bulking the patty and giving it some…sturdiness.
I love pretending that I know what I’m talking about.
I also added chopped red onion and jalapeño.
Once you’ve plopped everything into the bowl, use your fork and mix until everything is completely blended.
Then, with clean hands, dig in and make some patties.
Please note: unlike beef patties, these won’t shrink. So whatever size you create will be the size you end up with.
And then there were noms.
I dressed my burger with Pepper Jack cheese, a slice of tomato, baby spinach leaves, red onion, and some homemade guac.
It was perfection.
But you can add whatever you’d like to make it your very own level of perfection. I encourage you to play.
If you want to taste one of my ideas of perfection, see below.