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the best ever black bean burgers

Posted on March 2nd, 2012  |  50 Comments

The title says it all, no?

Look, I know that’s a bold statement there, coming from a non-vegetarian nonetheless, but I’m for real.

These quinoa black bean burgers are so good, while I devoured delicately lady-like consumed them, I considered, for the moment, strickening all meat from my diet and surviving solely on black bean burgers alone.

The hubs was on board too, so I know I’m not crazy.

But then I got a whiff of the steakhouse down the street (literally 4 houses down,) and all considerations blew out the window faster than you could get me a knife.

At least one can dream right?

As I’ve been creating easy and healthy recipes to enjoy for lunchtime, I’ve realized a big part of an easy lunch for me is easy re-heating.

Like many of you, I don’t get a full 1 hour lunch break. In fact, 9.9 times out of 10, my lunch is eaten in my car.

While I drive.

So.much.fun. (sike!)

Needless to say, I’m all about the one-handers; the pasta easily eaten with a spoon, leftover fried rice and sandwiches.

Don’t worry, my dad taught me to drive with my knee if need be. :)

Seeing as how a burger is just a cool sandwich, it’s the perfect driving lunch.

Except when you’re trying to load absurd amounts of wasabi mayo onto each bite.

That’s a little tough.

Fresh from the grill, stove top, toaster oven, or microwave (cringe), these black bean burgers are beyond the best veggie burger you’ve ever had.

Packed FULL of nutrients and the perfect platform for hiding veggies from the kiddos, you won’t miss a thing from meat burgers.

Oh yeah, you’ll be fooled by the quinoa too.

With spot on texture, flavor bursting beyond the bun and nutrients to boot, this is sure to be a family favorite.

Enjoy with wasabi mayo, probably the best thing to happen to my life since I met dates. Yeah, I said it.

Or some baked garlic cilantro fries, equally amazing!

Happy Weekend!


**Hint** The smoked paprika brings a punch of flavor. I just broke down and bought some this past week and have used it in pretty much every meal since.

Definition: Worth.it.


the best ever black bean burgers

by lafig

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Keywords: quinoa cilantro beans garlic


Ingredients (12-14 burgers)

  • 1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c. cooked quinoa, (~ 1 c. raw + 2 c. water + 1/2 tsp sea salt + 5 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (for veggies)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt (for beans)
  • 1/2-1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 c. cilantro leaves, loosely packed


Begin by sautéing the bell pepper, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, and shallot in 1/2 Tbsp of oil for a few mins, then add the garlic and sea salt, sauté for a minute or two more, turn off heat and set aside.

Next, in a food processor, add the beans, cooled veggies, paprika, and smoked salt. Pulse until just combined.

Then add the cooked quinoa and cilantro, again pulse until combined.

Hand form into palm-sized burger patties.

Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Remove from fridge, let cool for 5 minutes, then coat each side in panko bread crumbs, being sure to push down to adhere the breadcrumbs to the burger.

Pan fry in remaining oil for 3 minutes on each side.

Enjoy like a burger.

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50 Responses

  1. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I prefer meat to veggie burgers but these just look so enticing. I’d be in trouble if I lived 4 houses from a steak house!!

    • lafig says:

      thank you! i also live between two liquor stores and across from a Mexican joint… it’s hard!

      • Chelsie says:

        That sounds like my old neighborhood in Minneapolis. Used to KILL me smelling steak from our back porch but having no money to go eat. I hear it smelled better than it tasted though. :)
        I can.not wait to try these!

  2. looks amazing! love the flying garlic pic too!

  3. […] my first attempt at black bean burgers. […]

  4. Ambika says:

    Stunning burgers!! Can’t wait to try them. Gorgeous photos!!

  5. Julia says:

    This looks AMAZING!!!! Great colors and flavors! Can’t wait to try it!

  6. […] quoting myself a lot lately, I’ve also been obsessing about these mini whole wheat pitas and here’s just another reason […]

  7. Jazmin says:

    After looking into a million recipes for black bean burgers…yours took the cake for me. This will be my first time making black bean burgers!! Thank you so much for sharing and your photos are amazing!

  8. Can’t wait to try these…they look so friggin delicious….I want one now, even though I am quite full….enjoyed your post….please don’t drive with your knees and if you must then don;t drive with your knees while texting and applying masacara!

  9. Ruby says:

    You are my new favorite person. I can’t wait to try this. *love*

  10. adelina says:

    I must say I had a couple of GREAT black bean (veggie) burger recipes that I make but I’ll have to take your words for this one! Only question I have is the use of smoked sea salt – if I don’t have it, can I simply use regular sea salt? I think so but I bet the smoked sea salt does enhance the flavor?…. I’ll def. try out! Thanks for posting…and I love reading your post!

    • talkingkadmin says:

      Thanks for the kind words Adelina! Sea salt is a fine substitute, the smoked salt isn’t too important, you could substitute 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke extract if you have any on hand, or smoked paprika for a similar effect, no biggie either way. I’d love to try some of your GREAT black bean recipes, you can never have too many!

  11. Claire Harris says:

    I love the recipe, but unfortunately black beans do evil things to my intestines. And those around me are offended too. Would there be a different bean that could be used in place of the black beans? Thanks much!

    • talkingkadmin says:

      The taste might be a little different but I’m thinking you could substitute any other bean – or maybe some lentils but I’m not sure what they do to your intestines.. Hope that helps! :)

  12. Christina says:

    Ok, these were amazing!!! My boyfriend ate three of them! I made a few minor adjustments though.

    I didn’t have any quinoa so i used about 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs and I also added an egg to the recipe. I mixed a tiny bit of cumin powder, paprika, salt and pepper in with the panko bread crumbs. We topped them off with alfalfa sprouts opposed to lettuce or spring mix.

    I also don’t have a food processor so I had to use my blender.

    I will be making these all the time! Thanks for the great recipe!

  13. Amber says:

    Hi there these were good. The best vegan recipe I could find for this kind of burger. However I made a mistake of directly adding .5c of bread crumbs right into the mix. The outcome was starchy burgers. Also seems like 1 cup of quinoa was more than necessary but maybe it was my breadcrumbs to blame. Either way the taste was good. Thank you :)

  14. Molly says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I served with guac, cheddar, and a spicy mustard to add some fun and fat.
    I really liked the taste of the burgers, but the texture of mine was total mush. They didn’t stay together at all and instead of crumbling, they kind of oozed out of the bun. Any recommendations? Did anyone try to add an egg?

  15. Melissa says:

    Super excited. To try these tonight for myself and my 4 year old daughter. I have never eaten black bean anything.

  16. Amy C says:

    About to try these. I wonder if you can make these and freeze them. Have you ever tried that? I’m trying to make some meals on Saturday to be eaten later in the week.

    • talkingkadmin says:

      I have not tried to freeze them before, but I’d imagine in a airtight bag or container they would keep – and try to thaw them out in the fridge over overnight. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Sharonmarie says:

      I am going to put 6 in the freezer tonight and will use them later in the month. I will come back to let you know how it worked out.
      I cook all day saturday for the week…longer if I have the energy :)

  17. Stacy says:

    I am currently putting these together and I have a question. It says to add garlic to the veggies but it is not listed in the recipe other than to add to quinoa. I’m guessing a clove or 2?? Thanks

  18. Sharonmarie says:

    Can these be made ahead and frozen?

  19. Sharonmarie says:

    Re freezing
    Sorry…had I taken a moment…I would have seen this question was addressed.
    I am going to try it today and let you know next week when they emerge from the freezer.
    The recipie is wonderful.
    Its not cooked yet but I love the flavor and colors.
    Thanks for putting it out here.

  20. Shannon says:

    Does anyone know yet if these freeze well? I am the only vegan in my house and I will only be able to consume 1-2 of the burgers and it says it makes 12-14. I do not want to be wasteful. Thanks in advance.

  21. I will definitely try these and see if they live up to the hype. It’s nice to see a vegetarian black bean burger recipe that doesn’t have some weird liquid smoke or TVP or something I’m not sure I’d want to put in my food even if I could buy them.

  22. Amber P says:

    Today I cooked one of these delicious patties from a batch I froze a few days ago. Just threw it directly in the pan with a bit of canola oil without thawing first. It turned out ok, but in my opinion they’re definitely better fresh. That said, if it’s important to you to have quick meals on hand and ready in minutes, it’s definitely worth freezing.

  23. Amy F says:

    I made the burgers the flavor was great but they were very soft. Do you think I mixed them up to much? I wish they were a little firmer.

  24. Drew says:

    I misread the directions and ended up adding the remaining olive oil to the food processor. I was convinced this was the reason mine turned out so mushy and soft, but after reading a few of the above comments it seems perhaps that is just how they are. That aside, the flavor is amazing and they were delicious!

  25. Lindsey says:

    I started adding some additional panko to the burger mixture and that seems to help them stay together better. I did not think they were dry or crumbly when I did this….. I also added some other vegetables in the sautee, carrots and celery with no noticeable taste!

  26. Haleigh says:

    These look amazing! I have been trying to use beans more, just to cut down on the cost of meat. My hubby should love these, at least I hope. I will be making these later in the week! I am so excited to try these! Do you think these would freeze well uncooked, so you could just pull them out of the freezer when you wanted to make just 1? Thanks!

    • talkingkadmin says:

      I haven’t tried it, but from the comments they come out good but taste better fresh. I think if they are frozen in a sealable baggie (with as much air removed) and then in an airtight container you should be good. I would also recommend thawing them before cooking.

  27. Matt says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I really liked the flavor of these, but mine came out a lot more like sloppy joes than hamburgers; the only ingredient I think I could have drained better is the cooled veggies, but I don’t think those added too much water.

    Does anyone know a good way to get closer to burger consistency (other than adding breadcrumbs to the mix)?

  28. Nicole says:

    Do you think I could grill these burgers? How would it work with the breadcrumbs on the outside?

    • talkingkadmin says:

      Sure, I would just avoid direct heat, grill it on the colder part of the grill and you should be good.

  29. Ania says:

    Hi there,

    I made these yesterday, and they came out great! I made a few modifications, I added onion powder, cumin, chili powder and a touch of cayenne pepper as well as sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. I found that the burgers stayed together great, and if you get them on the pan at the right heat, and blacken them, they stay together great on the burger.

    Btw, I panko’d my extra patties and individually plastic wrapped each one, and stuck them in the freezer. I’m sure they’ll be fine. I freeze my excess veggie burgers all the time.

  30. Kelly says:

    I just made this burger recipe and it is out of this world! Definitely the BEST black bean burgers EVER! Great flavor, texture and they hold together beautifully!!!!

  31. Terry says:

    We thought these were great. The smoked sea salt, while not necessary, really adds depth of flavor. I put in a little extra cumin, paprika & the smoked sea salt. My BF thinks they needed an egg, but I thought they were fine without. They were a touch on the soft side, but they made it to the plate without falling apart – good enough for me! Nice crunch with the bread crumbs.

  32. Melissa says:

    I used a tsp of cumin, instead of the seeds and I just finished eating one of these bad boys. They are FANTASTIC!!! Yes, they are not very firm (next time I make these I will add some bread crumbs IN the mix instead of on the outside) but the taste is excellent. I put them on sandwich thins and toasted them in a panini maker. That added the much needed texture to counter act the softness of the burger. Good job! These will be in my rotation. nom nom nom

  33. Donna says:

    Great. Also makes a great chip dip. We added oats to thicken them up. It definitely helped.

  34. Andrea says:

    Seriously SO good!! It was my first time using black beans for burger patties and they turned out fantastic. I did have to add a bit more quinoa and I added one slice of white bread because the pulsing turned my mix more into a dip consistency. Very tasty 😀
    Next time I will half the recipe though because I am the only vegetarian in the family and you get so many patties!

  35. Elisa Dore says:

    I’m Elisa, a writer for Spoon University, and I’m writing a story about vegan diets. If it’s okay with you, I’d love to use this photo in the article and of course give you proper photo credit.
    If you could let me know as soon as possible, that would be great.
    Thanks so much ahead of time.

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