Now, we've created a certain perception in this space that we aren't interested in recipes that don't involve ridiculous amounts of fat and cholesterol, but that's not true! I am all for cooking healthier! I certainly need to.
Likewise, I tend to scoff when hippies try to make meat-like products out of non-meat items. However, on a trip to Colorado a few years ago, I found myself out to dinner on Ash Wednesday, and thus attempting to abstain from meat. Not typically a problem in Southeast Louisiana, but in this instance, it led to trying a black bean burger for the first time, and it was tremendously enjoyable. It wasn't a terrible shock, as I happen to really love black beans, but it was still something of a departure for me.
And on a recent Saturday, as I debated various dinner options and searched through the pantry, I found myself with the ingredients, and decided to experiment a bit. Searched through a couple of different recipes, largely to figure out some proportions, and improvised this little number.
As I detail in the instructions, I didn't quite get the consistency right, but the flavor was spot on.
1 15-ounce can of black beans
1/2 a ripe avocado, diced
1/2-to-3/4 a cup of bread crumbs (I used Italian Style, but go as the spirit moves)
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper, salt and hot sauce to taste
1. Drain the black beans in a colander over the sink. Do not rinse, as you want to keep some of that starchy bean flavor.
2. Place the beans in a medium-sized mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Personally, I wanted to keep some beans whole so I just did it until there was a solid mash-to-beans ratio that looked appetizing to me, but that's a personal choice.
3. Add your diced avocado and seasonings and mix well, then mix in the bread crumbs. The goal here is to get a mixture that's not so dry that it crumbles, but isn't so moist that the patties won't hold their shape either. I went with half a cup of bread crumbs, and the patties held together well but they tended to ooze out the buns a bit, so I would add more next time. From there, spoon the mixture and make them into patties with your hand. This recipe should yield six decent-sized burgers.
**Ed. Note: Apologies for the lack of quality pictures with this entry.**
4. Heat up a skillet or griddle over medium high heat, and lubricate it up with a little oil or cooking spray. You want to get it good and hot so you make a good seer on top and bottom. I like a little crunch, plus it'll help offset the texture of the burgers a little.
5. I recommend a little more avocado as a topping, or perhaps some guacamole, along with some fresh cilantro or some sautéed spinach.