Is craving a burger and fries odd for someone that gave up meat over nine months ago? For someone who also feels uncomfortable eating meals that offer no nutrition? Probably a little. But, it happened. And, when faced with this sort of conundrum, I know just who to turn to. My good friend Gwyneth Paltrow. What? Don't act surprised? We've been kicking it for ages. In fact, this whole phenomenon? Entirely my idea.* Like her or not, her black bean burgers sorta rock. Are you one of those foodies who is pissed that she was featured in the June issue of Bon Appetit? Get over it. She's super duper pretty and she can cook, aren't those qualifications enough to land you on the cover of a food magazine? I think, yes.
I really don't want grilling season to whiz by without telling you about these suckers. I know, it's almost gone already. Grilling in September? Is that okay? Aren't we supposed to be eating sweet potato casserole and pumpkin spice lattes. Well, I like to hold on to summer and in Ohio, it's not hard. While I sit here and type, it is 95 degrees outside. We have mounds of tomatoes coming in every day for the past month. I mean, summer is still happening here. For sure. Also, the truth is, these don't really work on the grill. I tried. But, the good part of the truth is they fit very nicely into a late summer cook-out menu. Whilst other people are eating burgers from the grill, you can finish these up in the skillet and not miss a thing. In fact, Jason ate these and I never heard so much as a word about the non-meatiness of the meal. And he is a burger man. Actually, he's a blue cheese burger man. He makes the best and sometimes I even miss them. But, that has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Nothing.
Back to the burgers. They're made with black beans and brown rice. Hello Health. Hello Protein. How are you guys doing? Thanks for playing so nicely together. Along with the other ingredients, I am willing to shout that these are the best homemade bean burgers. Immeasurably better than the store bought cardboard kind. But, we all knew that.
I believe that toppings are essential on veggie burgers. They're the stuff that makes a dance into a gala. A concert into an event. A march into a parade. So, don't hold back. Because you know you want to do more than just dance.
Black Bean Burgers adapted from this book
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 scant teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 14 oz can of drained and rinsed black beans(I used 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans simply because that is what I had on hand)
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 (plus) tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 or 4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons of safflower or vegetable oil
4 (plus) whole wheat buns
Heat the oil and saute onion, garlic and cumin until soft and fragrant. Add salt, pepper, beans, rice and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Add cilantro and mash with potato masher to combine and get some cohesion, you want some texture. Let mixture cool so it is easy to handle, form 6-8 patties (depending on what size burgers you want), put in fridge for a few hours if you have time. Dust each side with flour heat in skillet until browned on each side. Serve with your favorite toppings.
thinly sliced red onion
horseradish (a must in my opinion)
Sweet Potato Fries
2 pounds sweet potatoes, washed really well
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt + pepper
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, really simplifies clean-up. Slice the potatoes in half, length wise. Slice the halves into quarters and the quarters into eighths. All lengthwise until you have a rather skinny piece of sweet potato that resembles a fry. Or skinny wedge, whatever. Spread your potato slices on the prepared baking sheet, add oil and salt and pepper, and mix with your hands. Making sure that every "fry" is slick with oil. Spread the fries out in a single layer and put the baking sheet in the oven for about 25 minutes, tossing and turning with a spatula halfway through.