Wednesday dinner: Black bean burgers

As I type this, The Baby is crying; her noisy protest of my refusal to pick her up. She should be in the other room watching Elmo with The Wife. I happened to move my MacBook Pro into the kitchen and The Baby clearly thought I was inviting her along.

“Bay-beesh,” was followed with a cry. The Baby, in her best Paul Pasqualoni imitation, believes that our iPhones, iPad and collected computers serve no other purpose but to display photos of her for the express purpose of her enjoyment. If she was in her 30s, we would call this sociopathic behavior. But, since she turns two in June, we’ll simply call her a toddler. (Side note: I highly recommend Jon Ronson‘s The Psychopath Test.)

So much flavor in such a little packet.

One of The Baby’s other interesting behaviors comes with food. Now, she’ll eat black beans when I make them with rice. Loves them. Throws a fit when we don’t give her more. But, she turned up her nose at tonight’s black bean burger. Some have suggested that she has a texture issue. The Wife thinks she’s picky. I stand alone in my belief that my daughter is, indeed, a sociopath.

But, she does cute shit and I love her, so it’s all okay.

The Wife thought that the burgers were excellent. Really. She actually said, “These are excellent” while pointing to the burger. There’s no ulterior motive here with the alternate vegetarian burgers. Frankly, I’m just trying something new. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking. I hit them from time to time. We’ll go through  weeks with repeat menus or alternating nights of takeout. So, you have to keep it fresh in the kitchen and get out of the comfort zone. You listen to what your friends do or read something online. You find something on a Pinterest wall…whatever it takes, right?

These are relatively easy to assemble. The worst part of the entire process is prepping the vegetables: peeling the garlic and onion, cutting up the red pepper, draining the beans. Otherwise, the recipe basically makes itself.

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If your bean mixture is soupy or has too much liquid, add more panko to thicken it.

Black bean burgers
By Jared Paventi

  • One 14-16 oz. can of black beans (low sodium if possible)
  • One garlic clove
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cleaned and seeded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet of Sazon Goya (I usually get it con tomate y culantro)
  • dash of lime juice
  • 2 hamburger rolls (I went with whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko, plus extra if necessary

Drain and rinse the black beans in a fine mesh strainer and let stand in your sink so the remaining liquid runs out.

Combine the garlic, onion and red pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the black beans, cilantro, Sazon, lime juice and cilantro to the food processor and pulse until creamy.

Transfer beans to a bowl. Add the panko and eggs, and combine. If the bean paste has too much liquid, add more panko. Heat a large skillet on high. Add 1 tbsp. of canola oil and coat pan. When the oil shimmers, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop bean paste and drop into the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes, turn, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.


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