New Meal Monday: Quinoa Black Bean Burger

I’m a meat eater.  I love steak, and I’ve always loved a good burger. 
When I was younger, I found veggie burgers to be a sad and sorry substitution for a beef burger.  I viewed them as an insult to the greatest of culinary creations.  
Several years ago, my wife and I were at a cookout and there were plates of cooked burgers, hot dogs, etc…The burgers were small, so I wanted two, but I felt a little guilty since not everyone else had been served yet.  The burgers on one of the plates looked a little extra crispy on the outside, so I rationalized my greed, “I’ll take just one of the good burgers, and one of the over-cooked burgers and that’ll make it ok.” 
Much to my surprise, that burger wasn’t burnt, it was darker for an entirely different reason. 
I was accidentally eating a black bean burger.
It was flavorful, it was delicious, and I couldn’t help but think that it also might be healthier.  My world was turned upside down. 
Now, not only do I no longer find veggie burgers offensive, I truly enjoy them.  It’s not a substitute, it’s a delicious dish that stands on its own.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good beef burger (or pork burger, or turkey burger, or…) but I’ve changed my tune.  Changed to the point that I have my very own Veggie Burger recipe that I’m pretty proud of.  Here’s how I make a pretty mean Quinoa Black Bean Burger:

  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover & simmer until the quinoa the water has been absorbed. 15 to 20 min.
  2. Mash the black beans with a fork (or small masher) leaving a few whole, until the form a paste-like substance.
  3. Mix quinoa, bread crumbs, peppers, onion, garlic, Yucatecan Recado Rojo* and avocado**. (Use your hands, nothing else will get everything mixed enough).
  4. Form the mixture into patties.

This recipe makes about 5 patties.  I usually triple it, make a bunch and freeze them.  If they’ve been frozen you can cook them on the grill—just cooking until they’re defrosted and warm in the middle.  I feel like they hold together better if they’re frozen and then the grill adds some smoky flavor.
To cook without freezing them, heat olive oil in skillet and cook the patties till warm in the middle, 2-3 min per side.

*If you don’t have the Rojo, you could with cumin and a little bit of salt.  Also some people might throw some sort of hot sauce in here…that’s not our thing, but some folks may enjoy that.
**make sure the avocado is really mixed in here. It’s your bonding agent and helps keep these things together.  You could sub eggs (one egg per 1/3C avocado) but I like both the flavor and texture the avocado brings.