A couple of weeks ago I catered a dinner for a group of hungry hikers. The crew spent a Saturday trekking the 14-mile round-trip up and down Mount Diablo and the meal was the shining light at the end of the walk. My sister, the leader, requested that I prepare a hearty yet meat-free vegetarian meal that included black beans. Always up to the challenge, I decided to make black bean burgers. After scouring the web for an exciting recipe, I chose this Mexican-inspired one from Gourmet.

Although I tweaked it a little, the final burger is meaty, satisfying, and incredibly scrumptious. I took the time to make fresh salsa and guacamole, but feel free to use store-bought substitutes. Whatever you do, don't leave out the condiments, they add to the burger's overall flavor. This makes a stellar vegetarian-friendly backyard dinner, so get the recipe, and


Black-Bean Burgers

Black-Bean Burgers


  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1/2 onion, diced
  3. 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  4. 1 garlic clove, minced
  5. 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  6. 1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  7. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  10. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  11. 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  12. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  13. 4 soft hamburger buns
  14. sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook taking care not to brown, until soft, fragrant, and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour the beans, bread crumbs, spices, and cilantro into a larger bowl. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño mixture. Using your hands, mash and crush the beans until paste-like. Form mixture into 4 patties.
  4. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  5. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns with toppings.

Makes 4 burgers.

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