Good morning, my little wombats – in the spirit of making small improvements, your Aunty is offering something that we have had good luck with here at Chez Siberia: The Bean Burger. Now, if you have tried so-called ‘veggie burgers’ in the past and have not been really pleased with them, you and your family might want to try these. They are cheap, taste good, and certainly go a long way to replacing a meat-based meat if that is something your family is trying to do these days.
Now, I think that one of the reasons why commercial ‘veggie burgers’ have not had a lot of acceptance in the past is that the formulators have been putting in far too much work into trying to replace the experience of a meat patty. Let’s face it – once you’ve thrown pearled barley and ‘textured soy protein’ into something, no one in their right mind over the age of 18 months is going to say, “Oh, yeah! That tastes just like a hamburger!” It just… doesn’t. Ground up meat just has a whole different mouth-feel.
So, let’s just not try to duplicate the experience. I think people’s mouths and brains resent it. Let’s go straight to something else entirely – a whole new mouth experience. Slap that baby into a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, whatever suits your fancy.
Just call ‘em what they are: bean burgers.
At the same time, let’s recognize that smooshed up (that’s a technical term) cooked beans (and choose what you like; we’ve made these out of pinto and black beans and both were amazingly good) have a fairly dry texture all their own. We need some sort of binding agent to hold the whole thing together so that we can make a patty that will hold. In my recipe, I’m using an egg, but for folks who don’t want to use eggs, a small amount of liquid would do, or even combining it with something else that would hold things together – a left-over baked potato, left-over mashed potatoes, or even cooked sweet potatoes (which would add some amazing vitamins and minerals). At the same time, beans by themselves are great for adding spices. We’re big fans of Mexican and Spanish food at Chez Siberia, so I have lots of those sorts of spices around. If you like Italian food, your ‘go-to’ spices for this would be garlic, oregano and basil.
How to make bean burgers:
1 cup of cooked beans such as pinto or black. If you are using canned beans, drain and rinse well.
1/2 of a small onion, diced finely
1tsp. of mixed spices (to be blunt, I went totally commercial with these the other night and added 1 tsp of commercial taco seasoning mix – but if I hadn’t had that, I’d have mixed up some cilantro, chili powder pepper and so on)
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumb mix (if you are off gluten, substitute your usual non-gluten product)
Smoosh up the beans, and add the rest of the ingredients. Divide into four globs and make patties
Heat up a little olive oil in a pan and on low heat (you need to make sure the egg is cooked), cook until one side is crispy, then flip and do the other side. Press down to make sure it is firm (that means the egg is done). Serve on whole-grain buns with the usual fixings and a side salad or other green veggies.