Mark Darcy liked Bridget Jones ‘just as she is.’ That’s the way I feel about black bean burgers. I don’t like them as a meat substitute. I don’t like them as a way to sneak extra vegetables into my diet. I like them just as they are.
OK, so maybe some of them are bad. Really bad. But after years of searching for black bean burger love, I have found The One.
If we’re going to be completely honest with each other, I admit I got interested in black bean burgers during the brief period in high school I thought it would be cool to be a vegetarian. Before you chastise me, ask yourself if you ever wore a banana clip, acid-wash jeans, or had a perm… if the answer to any of those questions is ‘yes,’ then ye shall not cast the first stone for ye have also made poor decisions based on fads at the time.
Let me state for the record that I love me a juicy, beefy burger. If you ever see me with a meat-flavored soy patty in my hand, you can be sure that vegan aliens are taking over the world and are using me as their prototype.
The only thing worse than being a human host for an alien is being a human host for a vegan alien.
Using a black bean burger as a substitute for a beef burger is kind of insulting to both parties. It’s insulting to the meat because there is no reason to find a replacement for it- it’s perfect in its own, juicy, meaty way. On the flip side (get it? Burger humor!), it’s insulting to the black bean burger to relegate it to the lowly role of substitute food.
There is nothing lowly about this black bean burger, and I’m going to tell you why. First, it involves a million different vegetables, two of which are roasted red and poblano peppers, so that keeps them moist and adds a ton of flavor. Second, they’re seasoned properly with fresh, bright herbs and spices that make them super-crazy flavorful. They’re held together with panko, which is a HUGE upgrade from those that are held together with rice. I feel like rice makes black bean burgers too dry. Then you fry them up in some olive oil and serve them with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise.
This mayonnaise needs its own paragraph, for reals. These burgers are good on their own, but please please please put this mayo on top of them. It adds another texture to the crispy exterior and it complements all the flavors already in the burger. It takes about 3 minutes to mix together, too, so you have no excuse. Every burger needs a condiment, and this mayo is it. If you want to add insult to injury, just throw some avocado slices on top to add yet another flavor and texture.
(P.S… Cilantro-Lime Mayo is also great on salmon burgers and fish tacos. You might need a 12-step program once you start eating it.)
Simply stated, one can love meat burgers and bean burgers. It’s not like the Capulets and Montagues where you have to keep your bean burger love a secret from your meat-eating family, and then slay them with swords while wearing tights and bloomers. You can love your black bean burger for what it is, and this one is the best!
- Black Bean Burgers:
- 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
- 1 poblano pepper, halved and seeded
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (15-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 T minced cilantro
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1½ t ground cumin
- 1 T chili powder
- ½ t sea salt
- ¼ t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 t hot sauce
- 1½ c panko bread crumbs
- ¼ c olive oil
- 6 artisan hamburger rolls (optional- I prefer bunless burgers)
- Avocado slices (optional)
- Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise:
- ¾ c mayonnaise
- 4 T freshly-squeezed lime juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- ¼ c minced fresh cilantro
- ¼ t sea salt
- ¼ t freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the broiler to high. Place each pepper half skin-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 15-20 minutes, until skin is very black. Remove from oven and place peppers in a zip-top bag, close the bag, and allow them to rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the skin, dice, and set aside.
- While the peppers are resting, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat, and add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the diced roasted peppers to the carrot mixture, along with the beans, 1 T cilantro, juice from ½ lime, cumin, chili powder, ½ t salt, ¼ t pepper, and hot sauce. Working with two cups at a time, pulse the mixture in a blender or food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add the panko. Mix by hand and form 6 patties, and set aside while you make the mayonnaise.
- Combine mayonnaise, 4 T lime juice, lime zest, ¼ c cilantro, ¼ t sea salt and ¼ t pepper in a small bowl.
- Heat ¼ c olive oil in a skillet (you can wipe out the same skillet from cooking the veggies and use it) over medium-high heat, and pan-fry the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the outside is crispy. Slather each burger generously with Lime-Cilantro Mayonnaise, top with avocado slices (optional but highly recommended!), and serve on a bun (if using).