Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burgers

It’s 9 pm. You worked through dinner and now you’re tired and craving a burger. Do you get into your car and head towards the nearest drive-thru? No. Instead, you begin to make these easy, yummy veggie burgers. Or, if you were savvy, you simply go to the freezer and pull out one of the veggie burger patties you premade the week before. Using one can of black beans yields between 6-7 burgers, making each burger cheaper (and significantly healthier) than a burger from a fast food dollar menu.

The basic burger recipe can be made with a variety of ingredients to fit every diet. For gluten free burgers, substitute rice or almond flour for wheat flour. Although pairing a grain with a legume yields a complete protein, an egg can be added to the mixture for those that would like a little extra protein (making these burgers vegetarian rather than vegan). I used peppers and onion for this particular recipe, but any veggie can be added to suit your taste. This recipe is an excellent way to use up veggies that are just about to expire, especially if you plan to freeze the leftovers. Whole wheat buns are an excellent option, or you can choose to eat this burger sans bun, with some salad greens or hummus.


I created the following recipe to cater to my love of Indian food, but the spices can be omitted or substituted to create other flavor combinations. For example, in place of the coriander, cumin and turmeric, add chili powder and jalapenos to the mixture and top the cooked burger with salsa and avocado slices. For a more traditional favorite, add fresh parsley and extra garlic and top the finished burger with grilled mushrooms and caramelized onions!


1 can of black beans

1 green, red, or yellow pepper, diced

1 small onion, diced

1/2 cup of whole wheat flour

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander

1 dried chili pepper

2 T chopped cilantro, if available

whole wheat buns (optional)


Pour the blacked beans into a colander. Rinse them under running water for 30 seconds to remove the excess sodium.  Dried black beans that have been soaked and cooked can also be used, but I have not found dried black beans in S. Korea.  Process them or mash the beans with a fork in a medium bowl until they become a paste.

Stir in the onions, garlic, peppers, and the spices. I prefer to use whole spices, which I grind with my mortar and pestle.

Add the flour and mix with your hands until the mixture is thick enough to form a patty. Take a golf ball-sized portion of the mixture and form into a ball before flattening into patty form. The mixture should be damp, but should not stick to your hands. If you need to add a bit more flour, add a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

In a skillet, heat a few tablespoons of high smoke point oil, like canola, over medium heat. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are just blackened. Try to turn them only once.  The burgers should be crispy on the outside and a little soft on the inside.

*When you make a batch of black bean burgers, cook only the number of patties that you need for dinner. You can easily freeze the rest by placing squares of wax paper in between each patty and placing them in sturdy freezer bags. The next time a burger craving strikes, just thaw the patties in your toaster oven for a few minutes and proceed with the cooking instructions above.


About continuethislabor

Hi I'm Tera. I'm interested in how flavors work together and how we can work together to be responsible Earth citizens. Currently I teach English in S. Korea with my husband, but someday we will own a small organic farm. There, we will grow vegetables, raise chickens and goats, and play Catan in our little cottage while drinking good coffee.

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