Vegetarian black bean burgers

Last updated 12:00 25/10/2012

Relevant offers

In Portland, Oregon, in the United States, we know how to cook a guilt-free burger.


Main ingredient Beans
Type of dish Mexican
Course Main course
Cooking time <30 min
Serves/makes 4+
Special options Vegetarian

Whether it's made from beans, vegetables or buckwheat, we shape it in a patty, toss it on the grill and enjoy its vegetarian virtues.

Even after I moved to Wellington where the local beef is a meat-eater's dream, the black bean burger is still one of my favorite recipes and my Kiwi boyfriend loves the spicy Mexican flavours.

Black bean burgers are popular all around the US, but the homemade touch of the Portland-style black bean burger is, in my opinion, best.


1 can black beans
1/2 red capsicum
1 Tablespoon corn
1/4 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 egg or flaxseed egg substitute
1/2 to 1 full cup breadcrumbs, flour or combination of both
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
A pinch of salt
Olive oil

1. Drain and rinse the beans then crush them lightly with a fork in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Dice the onion, the capsicum, the corn and the garlic as finely as possible. You can use tinned or frozen corn thawed in hot water. To make short work of peeling the garlic, roll the clove on your cutting board lightly crushing it, then once the peel is removed, smash it with the broad side of a chef's knife. Works wonders as long as you keep firm hold on the handle.

3. Place the diced vegetables into the bowl with the beans. Add one egg and mix gently.

VEGAN OPTION - If you're vegan, interested in lowering your cholesterol, eating healthier or just never quite got the hang of cracking eggs without getting bits of the shell in your bowl, you can substitute flaxseed for the egg. Just blend or process one tablespoon of flaxseed, any colour, with three tablespoons of water.

4. Making burgers is not a task for the inflexible chef. Once you've got your glossy egg and bean or bean and flaxseed mess in front of you, it's time to trust your instincts, use your judgement and carefully add enough breadcrumbs and/or flour to bind your ingredients into perfect patty formation. This is where burger preparation transcends the realm of science and becomes an art form. Add only enough breadcrumbs and/or flour until the mixture is willing to hold its shape. More is not necessary. Less is a problem. Now, that you've proven your mettle, add the remaining spices and then shape that burger.

Ad Feedback

5. With your hands covered in flour, form four to six burgers. Shape them to fit your buns, they will not shrink while cooking. Lastly, brush a little olive oil on your patties. If you're going to grill your burgers, you'll want to set them on foil over the grill for seven to 10 minutes. Otherwise, baking them in your oven at 190 C is your best option.

NOTE - Do not attempt to fry your bean burgers. Unlike meat patties, bean patties do not contain animal fat to aid in the frying process. Trust me, I've tried. While your bean patties are willing to absorb a significant amount of oil on the stove top, they just won't cook on the inside until the outside is totally inedible crusty blackness.

Once firm all the way through, remove the patties from the heat, and serve them in a wheat bun or roll with any typical burger topping. That is, unless you're a reckless visionary in the kitchen, in which case try: avocado, jalapenos, grilled capsicum or maybe some pineapple grilled with teriyaki sauce? Top with any strong chili sauce or try mixing mayonnaise and chipotle together.

Fun fact: Oregon, the state where Portland is located, is almost identical in land mass and population to New Zealand.

View all contributions


Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content