Category Archives: Beans

Black Bean Burgers


In the days before Garden Burgers, bean burgers were increasingly popular and a nice change of pace from eating a meat burger. Since MorningStar came out with their soy-based burgers, however, bean burgers have all but disappeared.

With some inspiration from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks I was able to come up with a recipe that reminds me of the black bean burgers I used to eat before Morningstar displaced them.

These are a fast, frugal weeknight dinner that can even be made up and par-fried then frozen, although they come together so quickly from frozen, pre-cooked beans I don’t know why you would bother unless you were planning to take them camping.

You can add up to one cup of seasonal vegetables to these. The only caveat is if you have a veggie that is hard (like carrots) or contains a large amount of water (like mushrooms or zucchini) you would want to chop and saute them before adding to this recipe.

Black Bean Burgers

2 1/2 cups of cooked black beans
1 cup bread crumbs
4 backyard eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 small chopped onion or 1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a food processor combine all ingredients and puree until the mixture is well combined.

Form into burgers whatever size you prefer and pan fry in a covered, oiled heavy skillet for 5-10 minutes per side depending on your burger size.

These can be served on buns but my favorite way to eat them (since there is already bread in the burger) is plated with peach salsa and a sprout or garden salad.

Crispy Garbanzo Beans


This snack is brilliant on so many fronts – crispy without being fried, loaded with protein and good for you fiber, frugal, simple to make and as easy to customize as potato chips. Kids love them and can even prepare them themselves.

I buy my garbanzo beans from Azure Standard but PCC has recently undertaken a massive labeling effort and you can now find country of origin on the bulk bin items. While they aren’t local, you at least know they are grown in the US.

I cook up large pots of all kinds of beans then freeze them so they are always ready for whatever cooking adventure I can dream up. It’s incredibly frugal to make things like bean burgers, chili or bean dip and by having a steady supply of cooked beans in the freezer I’m not tempted to buy BPA lined cans of them. Their creaminess pairs well with winter greens too.

Crispy Garbanzo Bean Snacks

About 1 pound of well-drained cooked garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
seasonings of your choice. Think of potato chip flavors – chili powder, Thai spices, garlic and onion powder.

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl combine garbanzo beans with olive oil, salt and seasonings. Spread them onto a jelly roll sheet with sides and roast them for about an hour until they are crispy. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week.

Enjoying December – and Dark Days Week 4


December is my favorite month – I love thinking about the holidays, planning the holidays and enjoying the holidays.  When I was young I spent time in Sweden and was struck with the beauty, simplicity and meaning of Christmas over there.  This was back in the mid 80′s so I’m sure things have changed drastically now, although I’ve since been back for Christmas in the mid to late 90′s and things were pretty much as magical as I had remembered them. 

I did my Christmas shopping at outdoor, open markets or country markets held in large barns by local people who brought handmade and beautifully crafted treasures – leather workings, ornaments, home baked breads, knitted sweaters and hats, and hand made cheeses, sausages and soaps.

Decorations consisted mainly of natural elements that had been brought in from the forests or simple red and white hearts.  Any lights were white to celebrate the sun during the darkest part of the year.  Imagine seeing daylight for maybe 2-4 hours per day and you get the idea of how much a celebration of light the solstice is.

That period of time from mid December to Christmas is marked by musical pageants put on by children clothed in white robes with simple crowns of candles and a vast array of baked goods.  The Christmas table (Julbard if you can imagine a tiny circle over the a, similar to a smorgasbord which literally means sandwich table) is piled high with culinary delights.  3-4 types of pickled herring, root vegetable salads, ham, meatballs, roast beef, potatoes several ways, several types of cooked cabbage or kale dishes, a bread basket and cheese platter, along with many types of sauces.  It puts our Thanksgiving to shame.

It’s a time to celebrate what you have and include as many others in your riches as possible.  It was decidedly and refreshingly not at all commercial.

Grandma has been here recently so we’ve been busy spending as much time as possible with cousins and other family, visiting Santa and enjoying each other.  And baking.  Mostly not dark day friendly so I am only including a few things.  I actually went to the store to get things to make it easy for Grandma to feed the kids and give me more time to enjoy her while she was here.

My dark day entry for week 4 is Santa Lucia buns, the blue hubbard squash scones from a few posts back, and an amazingly healthy snack of crispy garbanzo beans. I wish I could remember whose blog I saw two weeks ago that had these bean snacks on them because they are brilliant!


I made these from cooked garbanzo beans from Azure Standard but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you could use any type of bean. I frequently make bean dip and I know you can use ANY bean for that. You just add olive oil, roasted garlic, salt & lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. In fact I made some black eyed pea dip this week but I didn’t photograph it and am not entirely sure where the beans were from.

To make the crispy beans I simply poured a few tablespoons of olive oil on a cookie sheet, added my cooked garbanzo beans and sprinkled on coarse sea salt, cumin and chili powder then mixed it all up and baked it at 325 until they were crispy. It took about an hour if I remember correctly.

It’s so nice to have something like this around for the kids to snack on whenever they want, especially given that we have nut allergies in the house. Just think how much better for you these are than potato chips! I’m wondering too if you could even crisp them then make a nut brittle with them in place of peanuts. I’ll give it a shot if I find the time. If you try it let me know how they come out!

Quick, Convenient and Frugal

Since starting our local, seasonal kick I haven’t had many luxuries when it comes time for getting dinner on the table pronto and frugal isn’t necessarily something I’ve been able to be. I haven’t gone over what we used to spend but I certainly haven’t been spending way less either.

I was so excited tonight when I sat down to eat my delicious black bean burger and realized how much the entire dinner actually cost to make. And even more excited when I realized I could make up a huge batch of these bad boys to freeze and later grill or fry in a flash. And then the possibilities of some adaptations for a quick and easy breakfast or lunch box fare made me more excited yet.


Of course it would have tasted even better with a slice of Skagit Ranch bacon on top but I had just used up the last of my pre-cooked bacon making bacon and cheddar scones for breakfast.

Delicious? Yum! Quick and Easy? You bet! Frugal? This whole meal for 4 cost me less then $3 to prepare and if our chickens were laying eggs yet it would have only cost me $1.24. For a family of four. Crazy, isn’t it?

Here’s the low-down:

  • 3 cups cooked organic black beans from Azure Standard, used about 70 cents worth
  • 4 local organic eggs $1.67, if ours with feed would have cost $0.37
  • 4 Tablespoons full of grated Tillamook cheddar cheese about $0.17
  • Other ingredients were from the garden, spice rack or stale bread heels
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, one for frying and one in the mix I didn’t include the cost of but it couldn’t be more then pennies

I adapted the recipe from Heidi’s lentil bean burgers to include black beans, celery, scallions, cumin, chili pepper and roasted garlic. The buns were left over from our vacation, otherwise I would have used homemade pita bread or foccacia bread buns, both of which cost next to nothing to make when you buy the grain in 25 pound bags and grind it yourself.

The side fixings were grilled corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes and jalapeno from my own garden with a sprinkling of chili powder and salt and a splash of sherry wine vinegar to round out the meal.

With their high protein content from the beans & eggs you could easily adapt these to breakfast patties by using breakfast sausage seasonings. I’m sure my soon to be kindergartener would love to find these in his lunch as well – a great finger food (minus the bun and fixings) that can go a few hours without refrigeration. I’m already racking my brain for lunch ideas for him that don’t include nuts (Seattle Public School rules) or lunch meat since there is none that’s local and organic that I know of. This fits the bill perfectly!

Before cooking these are really mushy so you couldn’t pop them in a toaster oven or on a barbecue but by cooking them up and freezing them you have a great soy-free and incredibly frugal version of veggie burgers at your disposal. Finally – some fast slow food in the freezer!