Category Archives: Meatless Entrees

Black Bean Burgers

black-bean-burger

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

Ingredients:
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

Technique:
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.

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.

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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!

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Spelt Bean Salad

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This is a great cold salad to make during the summer when your garden is full of produce. It’s based on PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad and you can get quantities from there.

I made this using chana dal garbanzo beans from Azure Standard, spelt from Lentz Spelt Farm, mayonnaise I made from Bio Cento eggs, Rockridge Orchard’s apple cider vinegar, and cucumbers, carrots, pepper, parsley, celery, basil, garlic and onions from my own garden.

The chana dal beans are smaller and darker then other garbanzo beans but they have a much nuttier flavor and they don’t seem to get as mushy as standard garbanzo beans do. I really like the darker color in this salad since they stand out from the spelt grains.

This is one of my husband’s favorite salads and keeps really well so I always make a large batch of it for quick lunches and alongside a green salad for a light supper.