Black Bean and Quinoa Burger
Take a break from the beef burgers of summer with a tasty vegetarian quinoa burger, delicately spiced with cumin. Black beans provide substance, along with fiber and iron. Quinoa, even though a grain, is a source of complete protein. Boost the health quotient even further by serving this burger topped with smashed avocado on a whole grain english muffin or bun.
1 Tbsp quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp green bell pepper, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cooked or canned black beans (about half a 16 oz. can, see note)
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 whole wheat english muffin
1/2 of a Haas avocado
1/2 of a small lime or lemon
1. Cook quinoa in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt over medium heat for 10 minutes, until done (when fully cooked, the center of the grain will turn white, surrounded by a transculecent circle.) Drain quinoa and place in a medium bowl.
2. In a small skillet heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat and saute chopped onion, garlic, green bell pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove to the bowl with the quinoa.
3. Drain and rinse the black beans if using canned, and add beans to the bowl with the quiona. With a fork or potato masher, mash the mixture into a paste. It’s ok if you leave the texture a little chunky.
4. To the black bean mixture stir in panko crumbs, 1 Tbsp of the beaten egg (use the rest in scrambled eggs the next morning or as an egg wash for another recipe) and all the seasonings. Form into a patty the size of your english muffin or bun. Place the patty on a plate, cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to set for about 10-20 minutes. This is not essential, but it helps to firm up the mixture and lets the flavors meld.
5. Meanwhile, pit avocado and scoop out half into a small bowl. smash the avocado with a fork, add the juice of half a lime, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix well and set aside. If you don’t know what to do with the remaining avocado, it can be sliced and served as an appetizer, sprinkled lightly with salt, black pepper, and drizzled with olive oil.
6. When ready, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the black bean and quinoa patty and fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
7. Split and toast the english muffin or bun in a toaster or toaster oven. Place cooked burger on the bottom, top with the smashed avocado, and top with the other half of the english muffin or bun. Serve with sliced tomatoes or hot buttered corn on cob.
Yield: 1 serving
Tip: I like to cook 1 lb. of dry beans, then cool and portion them out by 1/2 cup amounts into small food storage bags that I freeze for future use. If you don’t have any cooked beans on hand or waiting for you in the freezer, drained canned beans will work in this recipe as well, however cooked bean will have more nutritional value than canned. You can also freeze the leftover canned beans for future use in the same way.