Beet and Black Bean High-Protein Burgers

Beet and Black Bean High-Protein Burgers

For years I've attempted to come up with the perfect vegetarian "burger", and though I've made numerous nourishing and delectable vegetarian patties over the years, I do think that these beet and black bean burgers are especially distinctive. I expect there might be some skepticism when it comes to the idea of a burger without the "meat", but I can assure you these have as much substance, and substantially more flavor and nourishment, than traditional beef burgers. Earthy black beans, grated fresh beetroot, nourishing quinoa, mushrooms and ground walnuts seasoned with good quality spices come together for an unforgettable vegetarian and vegan friendly burger alternative. In addition to the beans, quinoa and walnuts, I added hemp seeds for an additional boost of protein. In fact, these burgers are very substantial, and have ample balanced protein to serve as a meal by themselves.

I made these burgers by finely chopping the ingredients so that they could be mixed by hand instead of in a food processor to give them a "meaty" texture. Even more appealing both for the cook and for the diner, these burgers are baked instead of fried, reducing the amount of oil needed and allowing the beets to cook more thoroughly. If you so choose, they hold together well, and could easily be thrown onto the grill for BBQ days when you would rather not turn on the oven. You could always pan-fry them in a bit of olive oil for about 4 to 5 minutes per side as well, though I think you'll find baking the patties really brings out the textures and flavors.

Beet and Black Bean Burgers

I served these burgers on pieces of lightly toasted soft ciabatta bread with dill pickles, sliced tomatoes and spinach leaves tossed in a creamy tahini dressing. These toppings made this an ideal burger experience. But whatever bread you use, or even without bread, and whichever toppings you choose, these burgers are a notable addition to my rotation of quick and easy meal solutions.

Beet and Black Bean High-Protein BurgersBeet and Black Bean High-Protein Burgers
Recipe by
Published on July 15, 2019

Hearty, high-protein vegetarian burgers made with black beans, quinoa, mushrooms, ground walnuts and spices for a "meaty" texture and delicious flavor

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes

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Burgers:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup white mushrooms (about 8 mushrooms), finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (2/3 cup dried)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 cup grated beet (about 1 medium beet)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ciabatta loaf, or whole grain burger buns
Spinach topping:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons champagne or white vinegar
  • juice from 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
Instructions:
  • In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat slightly and add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the mushroom are soft and they begin to release their juices. Stir in the chilies, cook for another minute, and remove from the heat.

  • In a medium bowl, roughly mash the black beans. Stir in the quinoa, walnuts, nutritional yeast if using, hemp seeds if using, cumin, paprika, chili powder, mustard powder and dill until well combined. Now add the mushroom mixture, beet, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper, and stir again until well combined. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat an oven to 375°F. Shape the mixture into 8 small patties, roughly 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and transfer to the prepared pan. If you want thinner patties, they will cook faster and you'll end up with about 10.

  • Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, gently turning the patties part way through the cooking time, until they are slightly crisp.

  • To make the spinach topping, whisk together the tahini, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the spinach leaves to a medium bowl, pour the dressing over top, and combine to coat the spinach leaves with the dressing.

  • To serve, lightly toast slices of ciabatta bread or buns and top with a burger patty. Garnish with the dressed spinach leaves and your favorite toppings. Top with another slice of bread or bun, or serve open faced.

Suggested toppings:
  • sliced dill pickles
  • sliced tomatoes
  • tomato chutney or salsa
  • Dijon mustard
  • mixed greens
Makes 8 burgers

Beet and Black Bean High-Protein Burgers

Other vegetarian burger ideas to try from Lisa's Kitchen:
Chickpea Quinoa Vegetable Burgers
Sun-Dried Tomato Coconut Quinoa and Bean Burgers
Chickpea Quinoa Pumpkin Burgers
Curried Quinoa and Wild Rice Savory Cakes

Audio Accompaniment: Asperities by Julia Kent

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