This is the way to go when you want a burger and have neither the time nor the inclination to fuss. When made with chickpeas, they’re golden brown and lovely; with black beans, much darker; with red, somewhere in between. Lentils give you a slightly grainy texture.
There are, of course, an infinite number of ways to jazz these up, but this has good flavor and texture and is excellent served on a bun with the usual fixings.
If you start with beans you’ve cooked yourself—especially well-seasoned ones—the results will be even better, and you can put the bean-cooking liquid to good use (I usually don’t use the liquid from canned beans, which often has a tinnier taste than the beans themselves). Like almost all veggie burger mixtures, these will hold together a little better if you refrigerate them first (ideally you’d refrigerate both before and after shaping, but that’s only if you have the time).
- 2 cups beans of your choice, well-cooked
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, preferably not instant
- 1 tablespoon chili powder or spice mix of your choice
- 1 egg
- stock, if necessary
- like grapeseed or corn, as needed
- Combine the beans, onion, oats, chili powder, salt, pepper, and egg in a food processor and pulse until chunky but not puréed, adding a little liquid if necessary (this is unlikely but not impossible) to produce a moist but not wet mixture. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if time allows.
- With wet hands, shape into whatever size patties you want and again let rest for a few minutes if time allows. (You can make the burger mixture or even shape the burgers up to a day or so in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.) Film the bottom of a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet with oil and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the patties. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn carefully and cook on the other side until firm and browned.
- Serve on plates with any of the accompaniments listed in “Serving Burgers”, or on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.
Bean-and-Cheese Burger: As a flavor-adder, cheese can’t be beat, plus there are two bonuses: You don’t have to mess with melting cheese on top of the burger, and for the most part—it acts as a binder. Add 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, Jack, mozzarella, or other cheese to the mix (you can omit the egg if you like).
Bean-and-Spinach Burger: Of all the veggies you can add to a burger, I like spinach. You can leave it uncooked and just shred it if you prefer (figure about 2 cups), but this gives better results; it’s great with a little garlic added: Squeeze dry and chop about 1 cup cooked spinach (you’ll need about 8 ounces of raw spinach to start, or you can use frozen spinach); add it to the mix and proceed with the recipe.
Bean-and-Veggie Burger: Many options, but don’t overdo it or the burger will fall apart: Add up to 1/2 cup carrots, bell peppers, shallots, leeks, celery, potato, sweet potato, winter squash, zucchini, or a combination. Cut into chunks as you do the onion and grind with the beans or shred or mince and add afterward.
High-Protein Bean Burger: The soy gives it just a little boost: Instead of rolled oats, use rolled soy (soy flakes).