Monday, November 30, 2009

Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole

I'll start right off the bat and let you know that tonight's dinner, Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole, has a fairly lengthy ingredient list and may look fairly involved, but I also think you shouldn't let that scare you away. Let's go find out why!

You'll find your usual suspects in this veggie burger - softened onions, garlic and beans - however, these patties are spiked with cilantro, rich smoked paprika (also found as pimenton) and cumin. That cumin wasn't just your ground variety you pick up at the market - we used whole seeds that we first toasted, then ground for more intensity. We also cooked a batch of pinto beans to use (I froze the rest in the bean's cooking liquid to use later on), but I imagine a tinned variety would work just fine. Instead of using, say, a food processor to whirl this bean-y mixture into a smooth puree, we just used a handy potato masher - this way we could control the texture and leave it a little coarse.

This mixture is a little too sticky and wouldn't shape into burgers well as is - to help them hold together, we threw in a few tablespoons of cornmeal. That wasn't the only ingredient used for this - we also cooked a small batch of quinoa in vegetable broth and tossed that in to bulk and stretch the burgers. Cooked millet might also work for this, as may couscous if you can't find quinoa. I've been able to find quinoa in just about any market now though... they even have it at Costco!

Now that the mash could be handled easily, it was divvied out into equal portions, with each being formed into a patty. To give the patties a touch of crunch to the outside, the burgers were then coated on each side with a little extra cornmeal. For added insurance, the assembled patties do go for a quick trip in the refrigerator to chill them down, firming the rounds before we went to cook them. While the wait is a bummer, it does help and it gave us enough time to get the guacamole together!

There isn't anything crazy or unusual here - a ripe avocado, fresh cilantro, a splash of lemon juice, a single clove of garlic, a pinch of cayenne and one more thing that Jeff won't admit was in this... raw red onion (he isn't a raw onion fan at all)! Not much, a couple teaspoons was all, but that's just enough for a mild bite... which passed muster without Jeff putting his veto stamp on this.

To cook the burgers, we used a heavy cast-iron skillet heated with just barely enough oil to coat the bottom. Since there isn't really any raw ingredients in the patties, it only took a couple minutes on each side to brown them off and warm the centers. Served on our favorite homemade burger buns (toasted or not, do what you like!), we smeared the bright guacamole on the buns, then added the patties, a couple lettuce leaves and a juicy slice of tomato on each. While it took about an hour from start to finish, all those ingredients and preparation did wonders to make what could have been an ordinary vegetable burger come to life!


  1. Welcome home Joe & Jeff. Missed your daily posts but, sometimes, life is not fair.

  2. These look wonderful. Do they stay together?
    They will go on my menu for the weekend.

    I have never made my own buns.

    Thank You for the recipe

  3. These look great. One way to get my husband to eat anything is to put guacamole on it, so I'll have to try this out.

    So happy you got home safe. I hope you're both doing okay.

  4. Wow--those sound fantastic! I can't wait to try them :-)

    Glad to see you made it home safely--I hope you are both doing okay.


  5. I so respect you both for your commitment to family. It shows great strength of character. I am proud to, vicariously, know you both.

    May you have peace.

  6. Carole - We're trying to get back into the swing of things!

    Christina - They held together fine for us.

    Michelle - Thank you.

    Courtney - Holding up as best as we can!

    Live to eat - Thank you!

  7. Glad to have you (and your recipes) back! I made these last night with some modifications based on what I had on hand. I used one can of black beans and one can of fat free refried beans, and I substituted 1 cup of couscous for the quinoa. They were delicious!!

  8. Humm, these sound and look delicious Joe, especially calling my attention with the use of quinoa!
    Do you think it would be good with white beans? I am going to cook a big pot of white beans tomorrow and now would like to try these.
    Or maybe chickpeas, would it work with those? (I love chickpea burgers!)
    I believe the texture of the bean burgers + guacamole really taste delicious! Can't wait to try!

  9. Stephanie - Nice changes!

    Ana - I don't see why it wouldn't work with another bean!

  10. Thanks for posting this recipe. I made it using pinto beans that I cooked in water with toasted onion granules (penzeys), dehydrated jalapenos (penzeys) and ground coriander. The only other change I made was to sub in brown rice for the quinoa. They were delicious and held their shape beautifully.

  11. Josie - Glad you gave the recipe a try! I'll note your changes in case we make these again!