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I had never attempted making black bean burgers until a week or two ago. I had a Costco sized package of cans of organic black beans and asked a friend for some input on what to make that my husband might eat.
My husband hates beans y’all, which is such a shame. Anyway she had the usual suggestions like chili or black bean quesadillas and then suggested homemade black bean burgers. I then admitted I had never attempted making them before because the one time I had had homemade black bean burgers they were a mushy, bland (to be honest, fairly repulsive) mess. Yuck. Not an appealing memory, but I digress.
I let her suggestion stew for a while and brainstormed what would make black bean burgers appealing to my family (for one, not calling them burgers helps me a lot mentally). They needed enticing flavor, a nice texture, most importantly they needed to be simple to make.
I did some research and stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for black bean burgers. I liked her style in the recipe, it felt like home. I’m more of a by the seat of my pants cook, so I took her recipe and this is what I came up with.
It is ridiculously easy and so good I actually CRAVE it now. Me. Craving black bean burgers. Wow. I mean I am a fan of black beans, but black bean burgers have never really been my jig. The first time I made these my husband called them “cheeseburger surprises”- the surprise was they weren’t cheeseburgers (bahaha!!). But y’all. He eats these. The man is eating black bean burgers and his only complaint (other than feeling tricked) was they were a little too spicy for him (wimp…no actually he used to be the one who ordered the spiciest level on the menu, apparently my tastes have changed to being significantly more heat tolerant after two babies. Weird.)
Anyway, you go by your own family’s preferences with this recipe. If you hate something omit it or sub it out. I do think at least a little heat really helps kick these black bean burgers up a notch from blasé to fabulous though.
Humbly Gourmet Black Bean Cakes with Spicy Garlic Aioli:
Yield approx. 20 cakes
2 Cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 cup seasoning blend (frozen mixture of onion, bell peppers, celery)
Olive oil (oil for skillet)
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. (I seriously could not function without my Lodge cast iron cookware. After much research I decided that cast iron and stainless were the healthiest stove-top cooking vessels for our family).
Add seasoning blend and cook until softened and translucent.
Drain cans of black beans.
Add one can to large bowl and mash with fork until beans are mostly broken up.
Add remaining can to blender with cooked seasoning blend (be careful if it’s hot!) and pulse until beans and seasoning blend are broken down and well incorporated.
Add blender mixture to mashed beans in bowl and stir together.
Add seasonings and spices to taste and stir.
Add egg. Stir together.
Add panko about 1/2 cup at a time until mixture becomes like wet cookie dough and is able to hold together as patties.
Make patties on the thin side and not too large in diameter (they will have a more appealing consistency when made thinner and will hold together better when made smaller). Keep in mind these patties will not shrink with cooking.
Heat more oil in cast iron skillet (I use the same cast iron skillet I soften the seasoning blend in for more flavor) over medium. Add as many patties as will fit without crowding. Cook on each side until golden brown and remove to plate.
Mix together mayo, a dab of yellow mustard, garlic, chili powder, and paprika to taste.
I like to spread aioli on the top of each cake and stack 3 together. Serve with a vegetable or side salad if you wish, but I find these make a filling meal on their own.