Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vegan Black Bean Burgers on Pretzel Rolls & A Short Rant about Sandra Lee

Some of you may be familiar with the (perhaps lovably) inane television food personality Sandra Lee. Notwithstanding her extremely questionable taste in, well, everything and her complete failure to comprehend the term "home-made," I have to credit her for the base recipe for these yummy, healthy black bean burgers. (I know, this closely parallels a previous rant I posted about Rachael Ray, but this one is way better because of all the evidence. And also funnier. See links).

I can't say they're 100% better than the quinoa burgers I attempted recently, since these are still fairly soft, and a bit squishy. As a pick-it-up-and-put-it-in-your-face burger, they would be a bit disappointing, but this recipe makes a lovely flavorful knife-and-fork-style burger. I also think the flavor is much more appealing than the quinoa burgers were.
My version of the black bean burgers uses whole wheat bread crumbs, plenty of cilantro and fresh, yummy bakery rolls instead of burger buns. I've basically halved Sandra's recipe, except for the egg. I skipped the egg, since I realized rather late in the game that we were out. (I know, what kind of weirdo had ground flax on hand, but not eggs? Apparently, this kind.) I learned, though, that you can use 1 tbsp of ground flax seed simmered in 3 tbsp of water as an egg substitute. Brilliant!

1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained, divided into 2 equal portions
1/4 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 

1 tbsp ground flax simmered in 3 tbsp water, or 1 egg

1. Place garlic and onion in food processor, and blend until finely chopped.
2. Add cilantro, onion, pepper flakes, egg or egg replacement, and about half of the beans, and blend.
3. Dump mixture into a large bowl. Add the rest of the beans and the bread crumbs, and mix thoroughly. Form into two patties.
4. Cook burgers on oiled grill pan or George Foreman Grill until slightly charred outside and heated throughout. 

Serve on a lightly toasted bun with your favorite burger toppings. I recommend chipotle mayonnaise.  True, it is another step to mix the whole beans in separately, but I think it does great things for the texture.
I served these on something new to me, pretzel bread rolls. AMAZING. How did I not know that these existed? They were deliciously moist and, well, pretzeley. I whipped up a chipotle mayonnaise (one chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce sent for a spin with some mayo) which went fabulously with the burgers. We had ours with a little baby spinach on top, and a tomato-cucumber salad on the size.

If you're looking for a meaty texture, these are not the thing. Or do us both a favor and improve my recipe! As long as you don't mind using a fork, these are fabulous.

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