Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Attempt at a Vegetarian Dish–Black Bean Burgers

For a particular project I have in the future, I have reached a new goal, and that’s to expand my menu to be able to accommodate a wide range of tastes, nutritional needs and restrictions and be able to address similar kinds of limitations to the cooking repertoire.  Pursuing some expertise in vegetarian dishes seems to be one of the more obvious ways to improve how best to cater to a larger eating audience.

Now, consider the vegetarian burger, to which I turned to this well reviewed recipe on allrecipes.  As a grilling item, it is a social dish. As a burger it takes some things that don’t look like a burger at all and manages to transform it into… something that actually approximates the original in looks surprisingly well.
Unfortunately, the usage of eggs in this dish (not pictured because I’m a ditz), renders this not quite vegan, but still, I think I’m making great progress here. The rest of the ingredients, clockwise from the left: Bell pepper (green was called for, but I had red), black beans, ground cumin, chili powder, bread crumbs, chili sauce, onion (any kind) and garlic. The lack of salt in this dish confused me, but then again I’m one of those strange people who marinates their burgers.

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As these things are pretty quick to assemble, you may want to preheat your grill at this point.

First, rinse and drain the beans. At this point I’m expressing a bit of dubiousness. How could these blackish gray things look like a burger?

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And you only need half an onion and bell pepper.
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Cut into pieces for the food processor.
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Next, the beans are placed into a medium bowl.
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And mashed with a fork.
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Looks great doesn’t it?
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The finely chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper from the processor are then added to the bean mixture.
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The chili sauce, cumin, and chili powder are added to the egg…
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And mixed into the rest of the stuff. Hrm, it’s actually looking a little like ground beef now. And thanks to the spices, I actually started to get into the idea of these burgers, it started smelling really good. Bread crumbs and the egg are also added at this point. Add enough bread crumbs to make it really come together. I added a lot more bread crumbs than the original recipe called for.
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And formed into burgers.

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Place some foil on the grill and gently place the burgers on. Avoid contact with the chicken on the other side of the grill that you are making due to a rather skeptical father. These are grilled 8 minutes a side.
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Serve with your usual burger stuff. Here I’ve got some grilled onion, tomato and lettuce.  I’m thinking something else would have really kicked it up a bit, something to add a bit of a savory touch, perhaps a bit of mayo? I’m not sure what would work from a more vegan perspective. Thoughts would be appreciated!
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Here’s a cross section view! I think this is something I’ll definitely work on again, and I think I’ll add some soy sauce to add some umami. The burger definitely had the right look and a pretty good smell to it. The texture didn’t quite have the resistance of a regular hamburger as was expected, but actually a leftover burger taken out of the fridge the next day and microwaved actually seemed to have developed a better texture. Maybe some chilling may be involved with the next attempt as well?
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Recipe adapted from allrecipes contributed by LAURENMU
  • 1 (15-16 ounce) can black beans
  • 1/2 bell pepper, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 peeled garlic gloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
  • 3/4-1 cup bread crumbs
  1. Heat up your grill, and get it hot!
  2. Mash up your black beans with a fork in a bowl.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. Beat the eggs with the chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs gradually until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Make  into four patties.
  6. Grill the patties about 8 minutes on each side.

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