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Feelin’ Beany

30 Dec

Thanksgiving and Christmas are over and Scott and I are feeling the bloat that goes along with too much celebrating.  Dinner at home has been a rare occasion of late, what with get-togethers, celebrations, and just plain being too pooped to cook.  I was very crafty this Christmas, and made the bulk of the gifts for the grown-up kids, along with something handmade for each grandchild (except for Liam – I’ll get you soon, little guy!), so we ate out quite a bit, which was not friendly on any of our figures (budget or bodies).

One of our favorite easy meals has always been veggie burgers on a homemade bun.  Paired with sweet potato oven fries, it is quick, tasty and cheap!  Since we are avoiding processed foods, it’s been a goal of mine to create one from scratch (the lentil burgers I made were a definite fail) that would make enough to freeze for future meals, and be good enough to make it into the regular dinner rotation, so it was back to the drawing board.

We picked up a gorgeous bunch of cilantro at the farmers market, and I already had cooked black beans and brown rice in the freezer, so that inspired these Black Bean and Rice Burgers.  Filled with good-for-you ingredients and flavorful spices, these burgers are very low in fat and loaded with good taste.  They are baked in the oven, so clean up is a breeze, and it makes enough to freeze for future meals.  We like things spicy, so feel free to change the spices to suit your taste buds.  We were hungry, and devoured them before I thought about taking pictures, but take my word for it – they were deelish!

I can imagine some variations – using cannellini beans, a little grated Parmesan cheese, Italian style bread crumbs and seasonings for one, or garbanzo beans, coconut oil and curry powder for a middle-Eastern spin.

Black Bean and Rice Burgers – makes 12 large patties

4 cups whole cooked black beans (or 2 cans, drained), mashed

1-1/2 cup cooked brown rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ large onion, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Spices (add more or less, depending on your taste):

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & pepper to taste

2 eggs

½ – ¾ cup bread crumbs (I used panko because I had them on hand)

Flour

In large bowl, mash the black beans into a coarse paste (some unmashed beans are okay).  Add brown rice.  In medium skillet, sauté the onion, garlic and pepper until softened and slightly browned.  Scrape into bowl and add the spices, eggs and breadcrumbs and stir well.  Mixture will be quite loose.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°   Cover two large baking sheets with foil, and grease the foil.

Stir the bean mixture; it should be quite moist but not loose.  If it is still very loose, sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour over and stir to combine it.  Take out ½ cupfuls and form into patties and place on baking sheets.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until done.  Carefully remove from foil and enjoy on a bun with all the usual burger trappings.

Freeze leftovers by wrapping individually in waxed paper, then place in freezer bag or container.

Cheers!

Brenda