Vegetarian Week: Black Bean Burgers - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Vegetarian Week: Black Bean Burgers

Veg­e­tar­ian cook­ing can get a bad rap. For those who aren't reg­u­larly prepar­ing meals with­out meat I think the 1970s, macrame plant holder beside the Moose­wood cook­book halo still lingers. In real­ity, veg­e­tar­i­ans have long since had a total makeover. There wouldn't be books called Skinny Bitch in the Kitch if they hadn't. Seri­ously, Rory Freed­man and Kim Barnouin's recipes are great! Even though I'm com­mit­ted to cook­ing a few meat­less meals each week I do tend to think of them as the most vir­tu­ous dishes I'm going to feed my fam­ily. But what about fun stuff? Like burg­ers. I love them. So, so much. I'm the per­son who'd rather have a burger than a steak at a bar­be­cue. I like the idea of a veg­gie burger but so often I find they taste of sea­son­ing rather than beans or veg­gies and cer­tainly not like meat. I love this black bean ver­sion. They're sat­is­fy­ingly savoury but the black beans really come through. Zesty rather than spicy, they've got a Latin bent. My kids are going through a stage where their spice thresh­old is extremely low. But these were win­ners with every­one. Plus, they come together quickly. And they're fun, damn it.

pho­tos by Maya Vis­nyei

Black Bean Burgers

2 x 14 oz. cans of black beans
1 egg
1/4 cup of panko (or plain bread­crumbs)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp oil


Rinse the black beans in a colander.

Dump one can of beans, panko, cumin, oregano, cayenne and the egg into a blender. Pulse it together until it forms a goopy past. I find I have to stop once every few pulses and give it all a stir so that the top gets as much puree-ing as the bottom.

Empty the blender con­tents into a bowl. Stir in the other can of beans and the cilantro. Use your hands to form into pat­ties. Don't make them too big or you'll have hard time with flipping.

Heat oil in a pan to medium then gen­tly place your pat­ties in. Don't mon­key with them once they're in the pan. Cook for 5 min­utes a side. Once you're close to 5 min­utes on the first side, start slid­ing a thin, flex­i­ble spat­ula under to loosen them away from the pan. You know what Julia Child said, you need the courage of your con­vic­tions when flip­ping! And if it breaks, just piece it together and no one is the wiser. A great and wise one was Julia. Serve on a bun with your favourite top­pings, like tomato, avo­cado, let­tuce, salsa, spicy mayo. Bet­ter yet, just put it all out on the table and let your fam­ily build their own burgers.



  1. Laura says:

    How many does this make? I assume it's 4? I have an ath­letic 13-year old boy who would prob­a­bly eat 3 of these himself …

  2. Ceri Marsh says:

    Hi Laura,
    Yes, it does make 4 good sized burg­ers. Sorry about that! Let me know how your son likes them! Now I'm scared about what my gro­cery bill is going to be once my kids get to that age… it's already out of con­trol.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. Karen says:

    These look really good and sim­ple to make. I am a pretty unad­ven­tur­ous cook but these look like some­thing I could do!
    I am won­der­ing what the fries are in the back­ground of the first pic­ture? Did you make those as well?
    Love your site and I love the lit­tle cook­ing tips you give as you write. I need all the guid­ance I can get!

  4. Ceri Marsh says:

    Hi Karen,
    So glad you're lik­ing the site! And you can mas­ter these — no prob­lem. I'm not one for com­pli­cated recipes either. These are easy-peasy, I promise. Let me know if you try them.
    Those fries in the back are sweet potato fries. We fea­tured them last week. Let's see if I can put a link in here.

    There you go!

  5. R&K says:

    LOVE this recipe. We made these for din­ner tonight. Cheap, easy, deli­cious & fill­ing! The black beans (and we bought the most expen­sive kind) were only 1.30 a can. Ground beef here is 4.09lb. This recipe is health­ier and half the price!

    We added a lit­tle gar­lic pow­der to the mix­ture and it was perfect.

  6. Ceri Marsh says:

    I'm so glad it was a hit! Yes, the sav­ings with cook­ing with­out meat are a very nice bonus. Love that you made this your own!

  7. […] some­thing new in an attempt to be healthy. So sue me.  Until then, I will enjoy my home cooked black bean burger with roasted aspara­gus and sweet pota­toes. Mmm. black bean burger, sweet pota­toes and asparagus […]

  8. This is some­thing I've got to try! I'll bet it's won­der­ful with a bit of guacamole.

  9. Katie says:

    I love the idea of home-made black bean burg­ers, and these turned out pretty well. They were, how­ever, a bit mushy for my taste, but I didn't want to cook them any longer for fear they would fall apart. Per­haps another egg or more Panko would help the tex­ture? Have you run into this prob­lem before?

    Thanks for a great, healthy din­ner. Your pic inspired me to make sweet potato fries as well, and the com­bi­na­tion was lovely. :)

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