It feels like the world is melting outside and one might as well swim if they dare walk anywhere since the air is thick enough for it, but now my mind is in 1938, New York City and I’m perfectly fine with that. I take a moment between chapters and watch the sea of green flash across my window to avoid motion sickness while the iPad bounces the words of my current favorite novel upon my lap. I’m willingly submerging myself into historical fiction while on our way to Mike’s gig; a music festival by my brother’s house out near Pennsylvania. Armed with ice-cold juice and bug spray I adjust the vent and try to avoid thinking about this particularly vexing heat wave and how the office still hasn’t given us new pool passes for the summer; though I suppose my plan is flailing at best since I’m writing about it now. My mind wanders further to the end of the day as we turn off the exit and I ask, “What are we thinking for dinner guys?”.
Trey: <groan> nothing…gotta beat this level.
I’ll spare some of the more wild answers they offered to make us giggle before deciding on these burgers. I’m a firm believer that this sort of heat requires simplicity and a lack of thought and effort. After I finish this last chapter, I will return to the present day and enjoy family and music, snow cones and popcorn then head home where we grill up these burgers I’ve made countless times in countless ways: Dried beans or canned, sweet or hot peppers or perhaps both, carrot or squash, what’s in season, what’s available, what’s most delicious that day. This recipe always changes at least a little but never disappoints, yielding my one and only “veggie” burger that far surpasses anything from the frozen aisle in both taste and budget. Thankfully, I already have a batch waiting in the freezer for tonight’s cookout.
Black Bean Burgers
Makes 8 frozen patties ready for the grill
- 3 cups cooked black beans or 2 16-ounce cans black beans
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons grated carrot
- 1 cherry chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (more if desired)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- oil for shaping and grilling
- If using canned beans: drain and rinse and then spread out onto a clean dry towel to absorb extra moisture.
- In a large bowl: mash cooked beans with a potato masher or fork and fold in the rice or quinoa.
- In food processor: add bell pepper, onion, garlic, carrot and chili pepper. Pulse until finely minced.
- In skillet over medium heat: add minced vegetables and cook until tender or about five minutes.
- Add vegetable mixture to beans and rice and stir to combine.
- Season to taste and then add bread crumbs and eggs. Stir to combine.
- Mix in more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too loose for shaping.
- Using lightly oiled hands, shape into patties. Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid before placing into air tight container.
- When ready to grill, lightly brush with oil of your choice and grill until hot and plumped, or about six minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time.
Adapted from Black Bean Burgers