Black Bean Rice Burgers with Rainbow Toppings

February 02, 2018

A tasty, solid vegan black bean burger is a bit tricky to find. No longer! The trick here is to use slightly sticky short grain (brown) rice to hold everything together without eggs or strange binding ingredients, and bake the burgers instead of frying them. If you're like me and keep containers of cooked rice and beans in the freezer, these take no time at all to pull together. If not, you can use canned beans and use leftover rice or cook it ahead of time. The flavours in the burgers are pretty simple, but you could add some herbs or extra spices as you'd like, as long as the base stays the same. No flour, no oats, nothing. Super simple stuff. 

I made a version of these high protein spelt buns to sandwich the burgers in and topped them off with plenty of crunchy seasonal veggies, some sweet potato lentil hummus, and pickled onions. A rainbow in the middle of winter, all with local ingredients! It can be done! The hummus adds a bit of creaminess since I can't afford avocados and don't really want to eat too many of them, and that little bit of garlicky sweetness is awesome with the burgers. You want the burger itself to taste great but veggie burgers are all about the toppings. Don't have black beans but still want burgers? Try making these with a red lentil patty instead. 

Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to tell you guys about a breakthrough I had this week! It's a bit (a lot) embarrassing since I've been doing food photography for years now, but turns out I had been shooting in RAW, which is good, but importing/editing everything in JPEG! I found out just by a fluke and edited these photos purely in lightroom after importing them as RAW and it was so easy. And so fast. It was taking about 20-30 minutes per photo and they still weren't turning out the way they should have been, but these took about 5 minutes total (!) and look exactly like they should. Since I post six times a week now on top of any freelance work, you can see why this is a huge deal for me. Next: pay more attention to styling and move that grungy looking leaf to the back of the burger instead of front and centre. 

I'll be back on the weekend with the second edition of Sunday Favourites, and thank you for all of your kind messages and notes about the first instalment!



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Black Bean Rice Burgers with Rainbow Toppings
Makes around six burgers

1 small yellow onion (~60 grams)
3 cloves garlic
300 grams / 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
200 grams / 3/4 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
40 grams / 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the onion and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until finely chopped. Add the beans, rice, seeds, olive oil, vinegar, spices, and maple syrup. Pulse until a thick mixture with some texture forms. It should be slightly sticky and hold together very easily.

Form large balls, about 1/3 cup each, and flatten them into large patties about 2 cm thick and 10 cm wide. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35* minutes, or until the outside is golden and slightly crispy. Serve immediately with buns and plenty of toppings.

Toppings:
Sweet potato lentil hummus
Dijon mustard
Finely sliced red cabbage or cabbage salad
Shredded carrots and beets
Rucola or another winter green
Pickled onions (see notes)

Tips:
• If, for some reason, your burger mixture is too soft, add a tablespoon or two of chickpea or spelt flour to thicken it.
• Of course you can shape the patties to be the same width as your buns, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
• I make these all the time without buns, too, and just make them a little smaller and more rounded, like falafel. They make great bean balls for pasta, too.

Notes:
1. Keep an eye on the burgers close to the end of the baking time - if you cook them for too long they'll become dry.
2. To make pickled onions, slice a red onion very finely and place it into a jar with a pinch of salt and the juice of a lemon. Shake to distribute the lemon juice and leave the jar to sit for at least two hours, or until the onions are pink throughout, shaking occasionally.

8 comments on "Black Bean Rice Burgers with Rainbow Toppings"
  1. This burger looks so good and I love the addition of sunflower seeds!

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    1. Thanks, Jessica! A little texture is always a good thing :)

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  2. I just finished making these and they all disappeared into various tummies, lol. Thanks for a great recipe :) xo

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    1. So thrilled that you made them, and so quickly! I'm happy your little family liked them so much too <3

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  3. This is such a stunning burger Alexandra. I am hungry looking at it.

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  4. I love this recipe! I am always looking for a good foolproof black bean burger to make and these ingredients sound perrrfect. I also can so relate with the photography- it's such a process of trial and error and discovery! Your photos are truly beautiful, though!

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    1. Thanks, Ruby! I'm so happy you like the sounds of the burger. It really is, despite all the time and research, it can be so easy to miss something! Thank you <3

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