Friday, April 6, 2012

Using Your Food Storage: Black Bean Burgers

When a Facebook friend of mine raved about the easy bean burgers she had made for dinner this week, I knew I had to get the recipe. It's kind of strange since I am such a lover of red meat, but I really like bean burgers. I don't make them very often because all my recipes are rather time consuming. My friend's version, however, is quick, easy, and just so happens to use a food storage staple, vital wheat gluten.

Vital wheat gluten is the most important ingredient you can add to 100% whole wheat bread to help it turn into a fluffy, delicate loaf instead of a dense brick. It can also be used to make faux meat ("wheat meat", a.k.a. seitan), though I've never done that before. Vital wheat gluten  has a shelf life of 7-10 years, making it a good candidate for your long term food storage.

I made this recipe on a weeknight and it was indeed as quick and easy as my friend claimed. There was a delicious contrast between the crispy exterior and creamy inside of the bean burger. A burger that is healthy, delicious, and uses items I always keep in my food storage? I'm sold!

Bean burger and sweet potato fries. Yum!

Black Bean Burgers (Recipe adapted from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook)

1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (OR about 1-2/3 c. cooked black beans [2/3 c. dry])
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
Salt to taste
1/4 c. water
1 T. tomato paste (OR tomato powder reconstituted according to package directions)
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro (OR substitute another herb to your taste)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (OR 1/4-1/2 t. garlic powder)
1/2 small onion, grated (OR 1-2 T. dried onion, rehydrated and then finely chopped)
1/2 c. vital wheat gluten
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
Olive Oil

Mash the beans with a fork or potato masher in a mixing bowl. It's OK to have a few chunky bits. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, water, tomato paste, cilantro, garlic, and onion and mix.

Add the gluten and bread crumbs, kneading with your hands until everything is well-mixed. Divide the mixture into six pieces and form into 1/2" thick patties.

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook the patties in batches (don't crowd them in the skillet) until brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the other side. Serve on buns. I like mine with mayonnaise and jalapeno mustard. :)


  1. I'm going to make these for my kids for lunch. If they're a hit, I might be brave enough to sneak them into a dinner for my picky husband.

    1. I hope y'all like them! I've got a red meat-loving husband, too, and he patiently endures my vegetarian experiments!