So tomorrow is 4th July (I know, my pregnant-fuzz brain can still read a calendar!) and I know for many that means cookouts, red, white and blue anything (what about this yummy dessert?) and watching the fireworks, or in our case hoping the fireworks don’t scare our toddler too much. Well, I thought in the spirit of equality I would share this beet and black bean burger, which is both vegetarian and gluten-free, to make sure almost everyone has something to eat and enjoy. It’s heartily ‘meaty’ (if that’s PC enough to say) and really tasty, and it’s even a beautiful red color – I just couldn’t bring myself to color the guacamole blue that we put with it to make it fully fitting. But either way it’s good enough to be enjoyed by meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
This beet and black bean burger came about after our BBQ on Memorial Day where we had a vegetarian friend over. As we were planning what to make, we debated about making some vegetarian burgers for rather than him bring his own box, as had been the case before. Store-bought are fine to a point, but when we had so much other delicious homemade food it seemed a shame that was the one thing we hadn’t put the effort into. I vowed to experiment to make a decent homemade burger that he could have next time, and I think this is it. I scoured various recipes and took inspiration from a few, particularly this one in terms of technique preparing the beet and mushroom, to come up with something that I felt would have good flavor and texture without being overly complicated. Beetroot and black beans felt like a great basis for something that feels like a proper burger, that just happens to be vegetarian, which is what I was going for.
How they’re made
True, there is a little bit of preparation that involves the oven that might be the last thing you want to do when it’s warm, but it’s not for long and I’m afraid it is really the only way I can think to both pre-cook and dry out the mushrooms and beetroot, to help give a good overall consistency to the end burger. After that, though, it’s simply a case of throwing everything in the food processor, mixing until combined and then forming your burgers. Cooking them on the grill is a breeze. It’s worth leaving them to cool a little while before you cook them to help them hold together and not stick. I left them around two hours and they held together really well, in fact better than many store-bought ones I have seen and as good as meat burgers.
I did debate about leaving out the egg so they are also vegan, as the consistency was pretty good they probably would have held together OK, but I was a little nervous in case they disintegrated when they met the grill. Now I’ve tried them with egg, though, I’ll try to be brave and give it a go without, or replace with some flaxseed meal and let you know how it goes, assuming I remember.
In the meantime, though, I hope you’ll give these delicious beet and black bean burgers a try – they are really worth a go, whether tomorrow or another time. We enjoyed them with some homemade guacamole which was a great match – it was originally partly as I thought the burgers might be a bit dry though that wasn’t the case, but the flavors worked well too. I think they’d also be good with a mix of guacamole and the chipotle cream I made for tacos, if you want to spice it up a bit. Dress them up or down as you like, they’re definitely worth enjoying some time over grilling season. I will definitely be making them again for ours.
Beet and black bean burger (V, GF)
- 1 cup beetroot 1 medium beet, peeled and coarsely grated giving 1cup/120g grated beetroot
- 3.5 oz mushrooms 100g, sliced
- 3/4 cup cooked rice 100g
- 3/4 cup black beans 125g, canned or cooked from dry beans
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup quick oats 25g, also called instant oats
- Preheat oven to 425F/220C.
- Spread the beetroot out in a thin layer on a baking sheet/tray (either very lightly oiled or not oiled - if the latter you may need to scrape a little to get it all off but that's fine). Spread the mushrooms out in a single layer on another baking sheet then put both in the oven for around 15mins until beets are tender and starting to change color around the edge, and mushrooms look cooked and a little dry but not brown.
- Remove both from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Put the rice, beans, beetroot, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor and pulse until all are combined and broken up but still in slight chunks - you don't want to puree.
- Mix in the egg and oats then divide the mixture into four or five and form each into a flattened ball. Lay the burgers on a tray or in a box and refrigerate for ideally 1-2hours.
- When ready to cook, get the grill ready to a medium heat and cook the burgers around 5min each side until lightly charred.
- Serve with guacamole, chipotle cream or your favorite topping in toasted buns.