Mexican Black Bean Veggie Burgers

by Marjan

Reminiscing of my high school days, when all the cool seniors raved about going to our local sushi restaurant Friday nights. Sushi was 'in' and if you revealed displeasure for raw fish, it wasn't 'cool' and you were cast 'out'.

My Persian cuisine culture deterred me from consuming raw meat. After all, Persians are on the opposite end of the spectrum, since generally food ingredients are over cook, especially all meat/fish products. Even in graduate school, as my palate for a variety of flavors was expanding, I was hesitant to even try California Rolls when classmates gathered at the local sushi restaurant across campus! My friends promised me a good roll without raw fish would be the training wheels I needed to develop a taste for sushi. A young food connoisseur, I tried time and time again bites of California Roll. Without fail, I always digressed to chicken, beef, or salmon teriyaki (to my friends' dismay)! Once again, I was 'out'.

So what does this story have to do with Mexican Black Bean Veggie Burgers?
Be patient, I am coming around to that...


For my brother's 40th birthday, I wanted to treat him to the best Sushi (his favorite food) in LA. My research lead me to Nobu! I dreaded dinning in a reputable sushi restaurant and ordering cooked fish, knowing I would embarrass my brother and our friends. It turned out, that faithful magical night transformed my palate. I had sashimi and loved it! In reality, I feel it was my celebration or 're-birth'; kicking off the training wheels and becoming a fan of sushi and sashimi to this day. I guess finally I was 'in'.

The moral of this story: quality ingredients, preparation, and recipe is key to transform even the most finicky of eaters into a Savorychick! Since my experience at Nobu, I realized I never 'disliked' sushi; I just did not have the right exposure. To this day, I do NOT like California Rolls; especially when on the menu it reads as "kalifornia roll"! Please!!

Self-proclaimed carnivore, I do enjoy eating healthy, balanced, whole foods. Never in my mind did I think I would enjoy a veggie 'burger'! On a recent shopping extravaganza to Costco, samples of black bean veggie burgers were being served. Curious, I tried it! Yikes, I will never do that again!

A week later my friend, who does gravitate more towards vegetarian choices, ordered a veggie burger at one of our favorite local restaurants. Again, I had a bite and could barely swallow it. I wondered to myself 'how do vegetarians/vegans survive eating this?'

My thought was 'I need Mr. Matsuhisa Nobu to make me a Veggie burger'! Since the possibilities of that are slim, it was up to my own culinary skills to break down the ingredients into quality whole foods using flavors that appeal to my palate. Hard work does pay off!

Starting with cooking the black beans, using fresh vegetables from our ranch, adding seasoning such as cumin, herbs, chili, garlic salt, etc., I was able to create a black bean veggie patty that I enjoyed! Served with avocados, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeños, and Mexican cream, even my family loved these 'burgers' and didn't complain, 'where is the beef'?


I'm a purest and will admit calling these delicious patties 'burgers' is sacrilegious! There is only ONE type of BURGER in my mind! Many years ago, I shared a post for grilled turkey burgers; yet still hesitate and debate calling them burgers. I really like to call these my Mexican Black Bean Veggie Patties!
However, since these patties are served like a burger, I guess I'll keep the title of this post as it is...What do you think?

Serves 4
Ingredients:
I rarely use canned or preserved foods. Therefore, you can either cook your own black beans until  soft or make life easier for yourself and just open up a can of quality organic black beans. For the seasoning, I have recommended using taco seasoning vs. instructing you to use 10 different spices with variety of measured amounts. I make it hard for myself in the kitchen, but you don't have to! One more step to make this recipe even easier, is to finely chop all the veggies in a food processor (red bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, and garlic). Chop just until all the veggies are processed but not muddled.

4 Hamburger buns; choose your favorite bread. I prefer onion bagels as they add an extra layer of flavor. I simply slice my bagels in half and spoon out extra dough on the inside to make a thiner slice of bread to hold all the toppings and dressing with every bite.

Patties:
1 16oz can of black beans
1/2 red bell pepper; finely chopped
1 small onion; finely chopped
1 jalapeño; seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic cloves; finely chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt if mix does not contain salt)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2/3 cup bread crumbs (or more to help hold patties together)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons of butter (substitute with olive oil if vegan)

Toppings:
lettuce; desired amount sliced
tomatoes; desired amount sliced
red onions; desired amount sliced
avocado; desired amount sliced

Dressing:
1/4 cup Mexican Cream (quality organic mayonnaise may be substituted)
1+ tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce such as Cholula or 1+ tablespoon of adobo sauce
1 large lime; zest and juice

In a small mixing bowl, mix cream, hot sauce, lime zest and juice.

Using a strainer, drain black beans and rinse with water. Shake strainer to discard all liquids.

In a large, flat frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until soft. Decrease heat to low and add chopped bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, black pepper and taco seasoning. Stir and sauté for 5-6 minutes just until vegetables are fragrant and slightly tender. Transfer mix to a bowl and cool. Reserve frying pan to cook patties.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, mash beans into a crumble/paste. Add cilantro, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and semi-cooled vegetable mix. Pulse 2-3 times until all ingredients are combined.


Using the same frying pan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium low heat. With both your hands, form 4 equal size patties; if mix is not holding together add 1/4 cup more bread crumbs until black bean mix binds. Fry each side for 5-6 minutes until golden brown.




While patties are being cooked, toast buns; spoon 1 tablespoons of dressing/sauce onto bread, top with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions. Place cooked patty on top with second half of bun. Enjoy!

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