Mmm burgers. I’m guessing that’s one word you thought would never touch your lips again once you started down the healthy eating train. Well dear friend, I am here to prove you wrong. Today I’m going to show you how to make a burger that’s not only healthy, eco-friendly and entirely meat free, but is also downright delicious. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if you try these burgers you’ll agree that they’re the best darn burgers you’ve ever tried. Trust me!
The inspiration for these burgers came from one of my good friends, who was lamenting that she had no idea what to take to a BBQ that wasn’t steak, chicken or sausages. If you’re not from New Zealand, you may not know that we have a thriving (bordering on obsessive) BBQ culture, especially in summer, with barbecued meals featuring on the typical kiwi family’s menu most weeks.
Most of our barbecued feasts however consist of the above said items – beef steaks, chicken kebabs, sausages, and if our arteries are lucky, a few green leaves on the side. But barbecued food can be so much more than that! These incredible Beetroot, Basil and Black Bean Burgers will without a doubt bring a summery flavour-filled breath of fresh air to your next BBQ adventure.
The key ingredient in these burgers are black beans, a brilliantly versatile bean which I highly recommend you adding to your diet. Black beans have a deliciously dense almost ‘meaty’ texture, which makes them perfect for recreating a dish which would otherwise be based on mince meat. To those gloriously meaty black beans I’ve added beetroot, which gives these burgers a lovely rosy hue as well as a hint of sweetness. I’ve also thrown in a handful of fresh basil from the garden, which adds a beautiful summery freshness, as well as making them taste (and sound) just a little bit fancier than your regular vege patty. Fancy food that’s quick and easy to make, now that’s my jam.
The beauty of black beans
Black beans, otherwise known as black turtle beans, are native to Central and South America and are popular in Mexican, Latin American, Cajun and Creole cuisines. My favourite way to use them is in burgers such as these, or otherwise as part of a Mexican burrito feast (with guacamole, tomatoes, jalapenos, juicy corn, cashew sour cream, tortillas and loads of fresh salad). They’re a fantastic source of plant-based protein at 21%, as well as low GI slow release complex carbohydrates, one quarter of which are fibre. One cup of cooked black beans contains 15 g protein, provides you with 30% of your recommended daily iron intake, 22% of your magnesium, 10% of your calcium, and 60% of your fibre requirements. With virtually no fat or sugar, making them a great source of nutrient bang for your calorific buck.
But these burgers. They are honestly amazing. They do take slightly longer than my regular recipes to make (35 minutes all up), but most of that is just oven time, while you prepare your burger fillings of choice! And the result is amazing, I promise you they’re worth it.
I like to fill my burgers with cashew aioli, lettuce, thick slices of juicy tomato, creamy avocado and whatever tomato relish I have on hand. Popping your whole grain buns in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of the patties baking will also make your burgers taste ten times more amazing, with a crusty outer and soft warm inner.
You can serve these as classic burgers like I’ve done here, or if you’re looking to reduce your calorie intake, go topless. Ie take your bun, split in half, then make two topless burgers with the same filling sequence as above, finishing with your relish. Then take a big lettuce leaf, wrap it around the whole burger including your lower bun, and eat the burger like that. This is actually my preferred way of having them – lots of flavour whilst still getting lots of crispy fresh salad! Plus that way you get to eat two burgers still.
I really hope you’ll give these awesome burgers a go. If you’re taking them to a BBQ, simply bake them for 20 minutes, then set aside (or pop in the fridge overnight) and finish them off on the flat grill of the barbecue for 5 mins on each side.
Get creative with your fillings too – sauerkraut, pickles, mustard and my Classic Cashew Cheese all work brilliantly too! Just make sure to pick at least one thing creamy (eg aioli, cashew cheese or avocado) and one thing tangy/sweet (relish, pickles, sauerkraut), to really make the flavours pop.
I’d love to hear what you think of these Beetroot, Basil and Black Bean Burgers. They are my favourites! So good. Leave me a comment below or take a snap of your burger goodness on Instagram with the tags @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come on by (and share your photographic genius on my page!).
Enjoy the rest of your Friday, and have fun barbecuing up a storm this weekend!
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Serves 5-6 (12 patties)
Takes 15 mins prep + 20 mins bake
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Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possible
1 large onion (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 400ml cans black beans (3 c rinsed and drained)*
1 large beetroot (1 1/2c grated and packed)
1/2 c chickpea (besan) flour**
2 tbsp nutritional yeast***
1 large handful fresh basil (roughly torn)
2 tsp sea salt
To serve: whole grain buns, lettuce, sliced tomato, avocado, cashew aioli and tomato relish.
* If you cook your own beans from scratch, 1 cup of dried beans equates to 3 cups of cooked beans. If you don't have black beans, adzuki beans also work well too.
**You can use brown rice or buckwheat flour at a pinch if you don't have chickpea flour on hand. Although I highly recommend trying chickpea flour - it gives these burgers amazing flavour and is the best flour at binding patties together sans egg. If you have a strong food processor you can make your own chickpea flour at home by blending up dried chickpeas, otherwise just purchase ready made here.
***I love the flavour of nutritional yeast - it gives a delicious savoury richness to these burgers. If you'd prefer more of the basil to come through you can reduce this to 1 tablespoon.
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon