This is a recipe for black bean burgers, adapted from my favourite cookbook, “The Lotus And The Artichoke“. It is vegan as well as vegetarian, not containing eggs to bind.
1 cup/200g cooked black beans (if you cook the black beans from dry, you’ll want 85g dry beans.
2/3 cup / 50g oats (as I am intolerant to oats, I use gari instead, a type of cassava flour which you can find in Indian food stores. If you can find it I think it contributes quite nicely to the meaty texture of the burger)
1 medium carrot
1 small raw beetroot
1 medium clove of garlic
1 small onion
1/2 cup / 60g chickpea flour (I used buckwheat flour and it worked; I suspect other flours will work too)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Unless you’re using canned beans, you will need to cook your beans first. (See also: How To Cook Black Beans). Soak them overnight with one tsp of baking soda, then drain the soaking water. Add new water and boil for 15-25 minutes. The cooking water will have a lot of flavour and nutrients, so set it aside for use in another recipe (e.g. as a vegetable stock) or drink it with a little salt.
Mash the beans in a large micing bowl. Add the oats/gari, the garlic (crush it or chop it finely), and the carrot, beet and onion. These latter three should be grated into the bowl. Use swimming goggles so that the onions don’t irritate your eyes (or else you may prefer to chop them finely, as it might be a little easier for your eyes to tolerate. Try grating first and see how you do).
Add the chickpea flour, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato sauce, paprika, thyme, pepper, and salt. Mix well. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. When the burgers are cool, they should hold together a bit better in the pan.
Form patties with your hands. The original recipe says to form 4 patties with this mixture; I find it can as easily form 8, and these will be a little easier to eat in between slices of bread. Fry about 5 minutes on each side, until they are browned.
Serve with buns or slices of bread, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard and whatever else. If you have black beans and time left over, you might be tempted to make a black bean salad to accompany.
Variations: for a more tex-mex flavour, add only 1/2 tsp paprika but also 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander. Or for spicy burgers, add about 1/2 tsp chili powder or 1 finely chopped chili. As these things vary immensely in potency, use your discretion.
I like these burgers very much, though I am still searching for my “perfect” burger. One thing I’ve thought of trying sometime was to make croquettes in the same way as falafels, but with black beans. This would involve mashing cooked black beans with cooked or grated onions, plus salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you were inspired by. Then they’d need to be refrigerated – very important for falafels or else they fall apart. Form balls (or patties?) with your hands and deep fry until browned and crunchy.