After a recent bad black bean burger experience (think mushy black bean patty served on a soft untoasted bun) I decided it was time to figure out how to make a great black bean burgers at home so I wouldn’t have to take my chances at a restaurant again. By great I mean a patty that stays together, gets crispy on the outside while it cooks, and has great flavor. Basically the opposite of what I ordered at that shall-remain-unamed restaurant.
1. The beans must be very dry
2. The patty needs a glue
Instead of just chucking a can of rinsed black beans into the patty mixture you should first roast the beans until they crack and start to dry out. This step gives the patty great texture and ensures you won’t have a mushy mess on your hands when you serve it. As far as the glue, a simple bread crumb/egg binds the burger together so there’s no worry of it falling apart after that first bite.
Making the patties is just like making meatballs – all you do is mix in the egg, bread crumbs, feta, some roasted garlic and onion, and some salt and pepper. The end result is a crispy-on-the-outside patty that holds together (there were a few cracks, but handling the patties with care ensured they stayed together). I topped mine with the usual burger accessories – crispy bacon, spinach, mayo/mustard, red onion and piled it all on a toasted sesame bun.
This is what a black bean burger should look like and, after the first bite, I had to give Serious Eats credit on this one – the burger was flavorful with the right kind of meaty burger texture without actually being a burger made of meat. Crazy!
Should I email that restaurant and let them know?
Drying out the black beans ensures a crispy-on-the-outside patty - no more mushy black bean burgers!
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 (15) ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/4 of a large onion (or half of a medium), peeled
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the top off of the head of garlic - just enough to expose the tops of the cloves - and remove the excess papery skin. Place the garlic and onion on a piece of tin foil, drizzle the olive oil over the top of each, and wrap them up loosely in the foil. Place in the preheated oven and roast them for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
- Spread the drained black beans on a large sheet pan. Place them in the oven for about five minutes or so, just until the beans start to split. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool for a bit.
- Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze the cloves out and finely chop them until the resemble a paste. Finely chop the roasted onion.
- Transfer the beans to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash them until you get a grainy texture. You want some of the beans to stay in tact. Add the garlic, onion, feta cheese, mayo, egg, and bread crumbs to the bowl. Using your hands gently mix everything together until it's well distributed. Divide the mixture into fourths and form patties the same size as the buns you will serve them on.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Cook the patties on one side until crispy and browned before flipping to the other side.
- Serve on toasted buns with your favorite toppings!
Adapted from seriouseats.com
I cooked up some bacon for my burgers and cooked the patties in a tablespoon bacon fat, but olive oil works equally well, so I've included that in the instructions.
The patties freeze well so if you make a big batch be sure to first freeze the patties in a single layer (for about 30 minutes or so) and then stack them up with a piece of parchment between each before wrapping them up for the freezer. The original article has more details, so be sure to check it out!