Dec 31, 2013

The Ultimate Black Bean Burger

Last day of the year! I should be making some kind of black-eyed pea dish or a decadent dessert to ring in 2014. Or perhaps featuring some of my most popular recipes of the past year. But when I get a bee in my bonnet to make something that I’ve eaten at a restaurant (that I was inevitably, irrefutably and miserably disappointed by), I just cannot help myself. I have to go home and make it better. Healthier, too, of course.

We paid a first-time visit to a neighborhood tavern and I got so excited when I saw black bean burgers on the menu! It’s not often that we find vegan-friendly (and nutritarian-friendly) items on a menu in our small mountain town. Well, long story short, this burger came to the table and it was sad. So very sad. First of all, it was thin. I mean, the white-flour bun they served it on was at least 5x the thickness of the burger. And it was BLACK on the outside. Not in a good way. I’m not sure what they did to it because it didn’t taste burnt, but I’m talking black like charcoal. That can’t be good. Acrylamides anyone?

Well, these black bean burgers are… dare I say… the BEST we’ve ever had? There is so much flavor it’s ridiculous and the consistency is spot on; a nice crunch on the outside and soft but not mushy inside. Hey, I don’t use the word ULTIMATE lightly! Being so happy about these, I just couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you.


  • 2 cans no-salt-added black beans
  • 2 cups cooked black rice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped (I used Serrano for a mellow heat)
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 TBS chopped cilantro
  • 3 TBS ground chia seeds + 6 TBS water
  • 1 TBS cumin powder
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TSP smoked paprika
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp tamari or other low sodium soy sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the chia with the water and set aside.
  4. Drain ONE can of the beans. Do not rinse.
  5. Place both cans of beans into a food processor with ONE cup of the rice, the chia mixture, cumin, chili powder, tamari and paprika.
  6. Pulse until combined.
  7. Turn the mixture out into a mixing bowl and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into burgers. Use a heaping scoop so that the burgers are about 3½” wide and 1″ tall. The mixture will seem VERY loose and wet. Don’t worry, it firms up when it bakes.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then gently flip and bake another 30 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with a little extra smoked paprika and serve with whatever kind of bun or toppings you like.

Makes 12 ultimate burgers. Enjoy!

Healthy trails and a happy and safe New Year to you and yours!

13 responses to “The Ultimate Black Bean Burger”

  1. These sound terrific, but do you think they will freeze well? It would be super convenient to have a stash of them.

  2. Helyn says:

    Yup! They freeze well. Happy New Year Suzanne!

  3. Unknown says:

    Hi Helyn,
    This recipe sounds wonderful! Two questions – I'm unfamiliar with black rice and how to cook it. Can I successfully substitute short brown rice or brown jasmine rice? Or is the black rice cricial to the success of the recipe? Finally, did you use 1/2 cup of the Serrano chili?
    Thanks for sharing all your creative recipes and happy new year to you and your family!

  4. Helyn says:

    Hi Carol! You can use whatever kind of cooked rice you prefer or have on hand. If you use black rice it's 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cups of water. I did use 1/2 cup of Serranos, but some were hotter than others. You could just use red bell pepper if you prefer! 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    These burgers look wonderful and are now on my "must make" list for this weekend: thank you! Have a question perhaps you can answer? 12 burgers are more than we can use quickly so am wondering if it is better to form the patties without cooking and freeze for later, or cook and then freeze?

  6. Helyn says:

    Yes, absolutely. They freeze well. Thanks for the feedback!

  7. Helyn these look amazing! I like that it makes a big batch too – that way you can freeze some ahead for future meals. Happy New Year!

  8. Helyn says:

    Thank you Tami! Happy New Year to you and yours! 🙂

  9. Happy New Year to you, too. OUR little town in NC is actually more vegan-friendly than Naples, FL, where we live the other half year. I know I'll enjoy your 2014 recipes!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I made these tonight! Absolutely, without a doubt THE best black bean burgers that I have ever tasted! I had not tried black rice before this dish and I am so glad I did because the burgers were a nice color. I'm not crazy about cumin, so I did cut that amount in half and I accidentally grabbed chipotle chile powder instead of chili powder but the flavor and heat was just right. Flipping them halfway…brilliant! The parchment kind of puckered up and I swear it looks like grill marks on the burgers! We ate 3 and I'll freeze the rest of them.

  11. Helyn says:

    YAY! I'm so happy you enjoyed them. Thanks for the feedback!!

  12. Gira says:

    Are you adding one can of beans with the water from the can to the food processor?

  13. Helyn says:

    Yes, Gira. You will keep the water from one of the cans of beans. Drain the other. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *