Black Bean and Mushroom Burger

Burger heaven…

It’s burger night! Does it get any more “American” than that? Well, I guess that depends on… Wait, this sounds strangely familiar. If you read my previous post, then you’ll know why. This house must be craving some standard American fare. And in this Land of the Free and home to millions of acres of grass-land, it’s no surprise that the hamburger would become a staple on the “American” plate.

But easy-access comes with a cost. Our health has suffered without the realization that if something tastes this good, and I can have it whenever – as often as I like – it just might be too good to be true… Or in this case, too much of a “good” thing can be a “bad” thing. So what are we to do? As I’ve mentioned before, relying too heavily on any food group can pose risks to our health. Especially if that food is high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats. I propose, as many others are too, that you get adventurous in the kitchen and with your plate, and try some new tools. You may surprise yourself with what you discover about food, culture, the land we share, and yourself.

Give beef a break with these beans.
If you give a bean about knowing beans, read:
What’s the Beef with Beef

In this spin, we’re going for a complete protein that will leave you satisfied both in flavor and nutrition. Beans and rice are used to make a complete protein while also holding the patty together with the sticky starchiness of the rice. We’ve added boiled yam to compliment the spices and bring that extra nutritional package they come with: potassium, vitamins A and C, iron, folate, antioxidants, and fiber. The savoriness of cooked onions and mushrooms, with the addition of spices, the fat from avocado, should have us not “missing” anything other than another one of these burgers to chow down on.

An orchestra of flavors await your conducting.

Ingredients for 4 patties:
1 can of black beans, drained
half a yam or sweet potato, boiled
half an avocado, diced
1/2 cup rice, cooked
half a yellow onion, chopped
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3 red chilis in adobo sauce, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tsp chili powder
1/2 Tsp thyme
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp ground mustard
1/4 Tsp cumin
onion-peach-jalepeno jam
burger buns or lettuce leaves for wraps
cheese slices, optional*
avocado oil for sauteing, optional*
salt and pepper for sauteing

We’re all-in in this burger mix.

Peel your sweet potato, dice it, and get it boiling. You can boil during most of your prep, just make sure it’s fork tender when you add it to the mix. Get your rice cooking according to instructions. In a large pan over medium heat, warm your oil and add onions, walnuts, and 1/8 Tsp salt and pepper, cooking for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and peppers, plus 2 Tbs of adobo sauce, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. To a bowl, add your beans, saute mix, cooked potato, herbs, spices, tamari, yeast, cooked rice, and avocado. Mash with a potato masher or your hands, making sure to get all the ingredients well incorporated. Some small chunks are fine. Form 4 patties.

You should definitely follow your heart, especially when it comes to adding cheese to your burger. This is probably not the best health-choice for my heart… but the heart wants what the heart wants. And it wanted a slice of cheese.

In this trial, I wanted to try baking vs frying. Because I didn’t add any breading to the mix, I wanted to see if by baking, I could get the patties to hold up their form by also broiling for a few minutes at the end. This is where your creativity comes into play. Experiment with different methods, and learn from your results. 🙂

Whether with meat or cheese, this jam is jammin.

I ended up baking my patties for about 15 minutes to warm the patties through, then broiling them on high for 3 minutes to get the patty to crisp up around the outside. I added a slice of cheese and broiled for another minute. For the assembly, I toasted fresh hamburger buns, spread a bit of Vegenaise on the bottom bun, added a bit of leafy greens(arugula and spinach mix), added my burger patty with cheese, spooned some onion jam on top, spread a little yellow mustard on the top bun, then closed it all up.

Try to keep your eyes on the fries.

The results:
A beautiful mouthful of flavor that didn’t keep shape very well. 😀 They were a little more like a sloppy joe in consistency. Now, I know people have used bread crumbs or wheat gluten to shape up their patties to hold together when baked or fried. And I may experiment with that in the future. But for now, we’ll call this perfection in the making. The spices were complimented by the sweetness of the jam and the tanginess of the mustard. I wanted to keep the gluten and oil amount down. Next time, I’d like to try incorporating some crushed dry-roasted chickpeas into the mix and see if that helps with the structure, along with moving the avocado to replace the Vegenaise as a healthy condiment. I will definitely give this another go – it tastes too good not to – and see if we can get this burgers whipped into better shape.

Enjoy your art and may you live well!

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