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If you follow my blog, you know that we eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals. Never a huge meat eater, I like that these options are healthier for us and the planet. But, I’m no purist and if something doesn’t taste great, I don’t care how healthy it is. So for some time now, I’ve been on a quest for a really great veggie burger. And I’ve made a few good ones, which I will link to below.
However, none of them quite is “THE ONE.” And this isn’t either, although that is not a reason not to make it. The flavor profile is great! Spicy and just the right amount of natural sweetness. The burgers just didn’t have enough bite for me. Perhaps I should have left more texture to the black beans. (I’m thinking out loud here.) And perhaps if I had made thinner burgers (think smash-burgers) and browned them more giving a crispier edge, it would have been closer to being “THE ONE.” I’m going to keep working on it. But in the meantime, these did make a delicious dinner with all of the trimmings added.
While I do use some meat substitutes, I am very selective. And with the exception of a few sausages (Field Roast brand are the best I’ve eaten so far and “NO, I am not compensated for saying that), I simply don’t like the taste of the substitutes when they are the main focus of the dish.
Veggie Burgers are tricky. If you are looking for this to taste “just like meat” you will be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you are looking for a delicious veggie burger, taken in its own context, then these are for you. And no animal had to die to make them. Serve on a perfectly toasted bun with your condiments of choice, and I think you will be a happy, healthier camper. We accompanied our burgers with Vidalia onion, Sir Kensington Chipotle Mayo, homemade pickled veggies, corn on the cob and sweet potato chips. Come on – what more do you need?!
These Black Bean Beet Walnut Burgers are a riff on a recipe that I saw in a flyer put out by my grocer store. They are pretty easy to make, but do require fridge time to hold their shape when cooking. And if you don’t happen to have left-over rice on hand, then you also need to cook up some rice.
The Black Bean Beet Walnut Burgers can be cooked on a grill outside or on the stove. We don’t have a grill. I used canned beets, which I always have in my pantry, but you can also use the fresh, prepared beets in the vacuum sealed pouches. The liquid in the canned beets is always a very vibrant purple and I saved it to use in some tandoori chicken later this week.
These burgers are an easy place to go if you are starting to try out some vegan recipes. And if you aren’t ready for the full vegan experience, I won’t tell if you melt a slice of your favorite cheese on top before serving!
Other vegan burger recipes:
Yield: 6 servings
2 cans (15 0z. each) of black beans, drained and rinsed well
15 Oz. can or 1 pound of fresh prepared beets, drained and cut into quarters
1.25 cups of cooked rice (any kind will work, but I used short-grain brown rice)
Generous 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts, pan-toasted
1 Tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of dried mustard (I like Colman’s)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fresh, cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Neutral vegetable oil for cooking (I am using Avocado Oil these days when pan frying because of its high smoke point and health benefits.)
In a bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, pulse the black beans and beets until well mixed. Leave some texture to the beans – unlike the photo below.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the oil.
Form the mixture into 6 patties and place on a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper. I used a quarter sheet pan but a glass dish is fine if that is what you have. Place another sheet of parchment lightly over the top and place in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but overnight is best.
When you are ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium high heat. If you are using a pan or griddle on the stovetop, brush the pan with the oil and heat on medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Cook the patties for about 6 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Then using a spatula, carefully flip the patties over. Continue cooking for about another 5 to 6 minutes. One of the beauties of vegan burgers is that everything is safe to eat BEFORE they are cooked. So unlike meat burgers, you don’t have to worry about undercooking the patties.
Now have fun and garnish at will. I toasted some buns, used arugula, Vidalia onion, with sliced heirloom tomatoes on top. A squirt of some chipotle mayo (and there are vegan versions) or your condiment of choice and yummmmmm! We had homemade pickled veggies, corn on the cob and some sweet potato chips. Come on – what more do you need?