Your New All-Purpose, Good-A-Million-Ways Veggie Burger

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.

By Kendra Vaculin

In the lovely corner of the Internet called Orangette, proprietress Molly Wizenberg recently wrote about the importance of being a “bean doctor.” The lowly, oft-snubbed can of beans hiding in the back of your pantry, she notes, is an unlikely gateway to many a delicious meal situation, if only you know what to do with it.

I am very ready to become a bean doctor. I meet all of the prerequisites: I buy cans of beans often, with no plan in mind, and they languish in my cupboard until I move away. My bean recipe quiver is full of such sharp arrows as “hummus” and “Just Add Them To These Tacos I Guess.” I am a ready learner and an enthusiastic try-er out-er. With Molly as my inspiration, I pulled a can of white beans out from under a half-eaten sack of chocolate chips and hit the Internet running.

Related: A New Way To Eat Quinoa

These burgers are a hybrid of a handful of recipes that I came across, and man, I really dig them. I kept them simple (no onions or breadcrumbs, and one bowl only) but decidedly not vegan (always more cheese, always), with a big flavor hit from the storied mash-up of sun-dried tomato and basil. I gobbled these guys up — on bread, in salads, by themselves straight from the pan — and then marched to the market to re-up on beans.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, & White-Bean Burgers
Makes about 8 patties

1 egg
One 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained (I used navy)
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (heaping! you can't have too many) roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I had the dry kind, and I used 8 tomatoes)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
3 tsp flour (most anything will work — I used rice flour but all-purpose is perfect)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Big pinch chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Related: Make Your Own Perfect Chopped Salad

1. Crack egg into a large bowl and beat well. Add the beans and, using a potato masher or the back of a big wooden spoon, mash them together with the egg until relatively smooth but with some chunks remaining.

2. Fold in the cooked quinoa. Then, add the rest of the ingredients (All of them. Get Oprah about it: "You go in the bowl! And you go in the bowl!"). Mix until combined.

3. Roll small handfuls of the batter into balls the size of clementines. Press down to form a patty about 3 inches in diameter. [Editors' note: If you're having trouble getting your burgers to adhere, add another egg and mix to combine. Add a small amount of flour, just a little at a time, if the mixture is too wet.]

4. Grease a pan and heat over medium. Cook the patties about 3 minutes per side, until golden-brown.

5. Eat them however you are craving them! Cut up on a salad, on a bun with olive tapenade or hummus and a few leaves of spinach, or by themselves out of a Ziploc bag from your fridge the day after tomorrow.

Next: No-Cook Blackberry-Lemon Ice Cream

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