As a vegan, there are certain cooking milestones you celebrate.
For me, those milestones have included learning what to do with that strange white substance called tofu, making vegan yogurt, and making vegan chai.
Most recently, it’s been learning to make my own veggie burgers.
My latest success has been this vegan, gluten-free Black Bean Burger. (I know, I know – a black bean burger, how very Charlotte of me.)
This burger was inspired by the Chipotle Black Bean Burger in Lukas Volger’s very excellent little cookbook, Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. I did make some significant changes, however. I replaced the breadcrumbs and flour with oats to make it gluten free. I added some cumin and doubled the cilantro. I used canned beans. I also replaced the brown rice with white basmati, which, in addition to cooking in half the time, makes for a much lighter burger.
This was easily the best black bean burger I’ve had – and I live in Charlotte, City of Black Bean Burgers. I’ll never buy a frozen black bean burger again. And neither will you, once you see how easy and inexpensive these are.
Ingredients for Vegan Gluten Free Chipotle Black Bean Burgers
1 Cup Cooked White Basmati Rice
3/4 Cup TVP (I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic)
2/3 Cup Boiling Water
1 Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, diced
1/2 Cup Corn (frozen, canned, or sliced fresh off the cobb)
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
2/3 Cup Quick or Old-Fashioned Oats
3 Chipotle Chili Peppers in adobo sauce, minced, plus 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce (I used Embasa brand, which is gluten-free)
Juice of one Lime
Directions for Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Veggie Burgers
If you don’t have leftover cooked rice, put the rice on to cook first. 1/3 cup white basmati rice and 2/3 cup water will yield approximately 1 cup of cooked rice.
Pour the boiling water over the TVP, stir, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Put 1/4 cup beans and the diced onion into the food processor and pulsed until coarsely blended. It won’t be completely smooth because of the lack of liquid. That’s fine.
Put the rest of the beans in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher. You want these beans to be more chunky. A few whole beans in the mixture is fine.
Add the corn, cumin, salt, cilantro, and chipotle peppers and sauce. Stir gently a few times, just to mix.
Scrape the beans and onions from the food processor into the mixing bowl.
Pour the oats into the food processor and pulse several times, until some of the oats are powdery.
Pour the oats into the mixing bowl.
By this time the TVP should be ready. Add to mixing bowl as well.
Add the lime juice (you’ll need its liquid at this point). Mix to combine.
Finally, add the rice and stir.
With your hands, shape the bean mixture into balls and flatten into patties. (This makes 6 large patties or 8 medium patties.)
At this point, most recipes tell you to let the patties sit for 10 minutes or so the filler can absorb excess moisture. Maybe because I used oats instead of bread crumbs, or maybe because I rinsed and drained my beans instead of using the “bean juice” from the can, but my patties seemed firm and dry. So I just let them sit about five minutes while I rinsed the food processor and mixing bowls.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and – gently! – fry the patties over medium heat, about 5 minutes each side. This should get them nice and brown on each side. Carefully, remove the first batch from the pan (they’re still fragile at this point), add more oil, and fry the second batch.
Here’s the genius part. Put the patties in an oven preheated to 375 and bake for 10 minutes. This not only ensures the burgers are cooked all the way through, but really firms up the texture. You could even reheat these on the grill without the burgers falling apart.
I served on buns with tomato, red onion, avocado, and Vegenaise. Gluten-free people will, of course, want to choose a gluten-free bun. Because of the rice in the burger, it’s also tasty to eat bun-less, topped with guacamole and maybe some unsweetened vegan yogurt. It would also be excellent on a salad.