I am always tinkering with my black bean burger recipes – at under a dollar per pound of dried beans that end up being at least 1.5 quarts once soaked – almost everyone can afford to play with beans in the kitchen. My six-year-old likes them most of the time (we’ve had a few failures of seasoning and of texture along the way, before developing and settling on this recipe) and they freeze well, so I can throw them from the freezer into my lunch bag and heat them up satisfactorily in the office microwave.
I generally start soaking my beans by rinsing and picking through. I put them overnight in a big bowl covered by at least 3″ of water. In the morning, I drain and rinse, then put them in the slow cooker (crockpot)with a teaspoon or so of salt, switch them on low, cover and go to work. By the evening they are usually done; there is a “beany” smell that tells you it’s time to check for tenderness. Good cooks engage all their senses to the task; the more you cook, the more likely you are to raise your nose from the computer suddenly, like a mystic having a vision, and say solemnly: “The beans are ready” or “The rice is done.” The less you cook, the more likely you are to look up from the computer with streaming eyes and cough “Oh s**t, dinner is burning!”
If you are not soaking your own beans (and believe me, I don’t judge, because I cook straight from the can too when necessary), make sure to drain and rinse well (low-sodium tinned beans allow you to control your own saltiness, but are slightly more expensive than regular and of course buying dry is the cheapest and salt-free).
Everything came together very nicely in this new version I have been working on; be advised that the black quinoa retains a bit of crunchiness, so if you would prefer a smooth, falafel-like texture, you can substitute regular quinoa.
I used two eggs. You might just want one, but I have been burned by floppy, mushy egglessness in the past so I am not taking chances.
Anyhoo, we tucked into these very happily — Leandro doing the full burger, bun and ketchup treatment and me having a salad topper of a burger, and I have a half dozen still left in the fridge for lunches or those days when after-school activities cut into cooking time!
Black Bean Burgers with Black Quinoa
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup onion, chopped fine
¼ Cup green cubanelle (Italian cooking) pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs cumin powder
1 Tbs oregano
2 Cups beans (soaked) or 2- 15 oz. cans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp salt
2 Cups black quinoa, prepared according to package directions
(optional ¼ Cup white flour)
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease lightly.
Warm oil in a large skillet at medium-high until rippling. Add onion and coat, then lower heat to medium, add green pepper, and sauté until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute, followed by cumin and oregano and cook another minute.
You may want to add beans to skillet for further cooking and softening (add ¼ Cup water at a time for greater tenderness).
In a bowl, mash beans into a thick paste (use a fork, potato masher or ricer). Add cooked vegetables, egg, and quinoa and season with salt (and pepper if desired). Shape into four generous burgers (or eight small ones) with your hands (don’t mess with it too much). If you find it much too wet, mix in the optional flour and then place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on one side, 10 on the other and then a five on the first side. Serve with thinly sliced red onion, sliced avocado, sliced tomato and Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce, and Hot, Cheap & Easy’s number one post ever: Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms Burger Topper Extraordinaire if desired.