Black Bean Burgers

Beans are an important part of a healthy diet; they are a great source of fiber and iron. And they are a good protein to build your meal around, whether you are vegetarian or just trying to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. If you haven't considered having a meal without meat, then maybe it is time to try it. There are many options for meatless main courses, such as these satisfying Black Bean Burgers. Almost everyone loves burgers, and with Spring right around the corner, many people will be firing up their grills soon. And with that, their intake of hamburgers will greatly increase. Now, I'm not saying that hamburgers are evil but if you trade out some of your hamburgers for Black Bean Burgers instead, your heart and your wallet will thank you. Beans are a fat and cholesterol free food as well as extremely economical to purchase.

My Black Bean Burgers are lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber than an average hamburger. And thanks to the beans, they are still a good source of protein and iron. They are a mildly spicy. If you wanted to make your burgers spicier, you could add another Jalepeño pepper, increase the chili powder or add some cayenne pepper, if you want it really spicy. Depending on your heat preference, I would probably start with a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and go from there. We love to eat these burgers on a whole wheat bun topped with lettuce, tomato and either avocado slices or guacamole. The avocado adds a creaminess to the burgers so that there is no need to top them with cheese. If you use avocado slices, spritz them with lime juice from the other half of the lime to prevent the slices from turning brown too quickly.

Black Bean Burgers

1 (15 oz.) can black beans

1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 red pepper

1 jalapeño pepper

1 small onion

1/2 c. frozen corn kernels, defrosted

1 egg, beaten

3 tbsp. cornmeal or enough to coated 4 patties

cooking spray for the baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add the beans, bread crumbs, spices, Worchestershire sauce and lime juice. If you are vegetarian, look for a Worchestershire sauce without anchovies.

Mash together with a potato masher or fork. Don’t mash the beans completely or else it will look like gray mush. Just mash the beans enough to split open the skin on the beans.

In a sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat until the pan is warm. The oil should sizzle when you add the onions but not pop and splash out of the pan. You don’t want to burn yourself with hot oil! So just warm your pan and oil over medium heat, then add the onions and peppers.

Sauté the onions and peppers for 3 minutes, then add the defrosted corn and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture and the beaten egg to the bean mixture in the large bowl; stir together until the mixtures are combined well.

Divide the mixture into 4 sections and use your hands to pack and shape each section into a patty. Once the patty is shaped, turn it on a plate with the cornmeal on it, coating both sides of the patty with cornmeal.

Place the patties on the lightly greased baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip over the patties and bake for 10 more minutes.

Serve the black bean burgers on a whole grain bun with lettuce, tomato and avocado slices or guacamole. The avocado provides a rich creaminess that replaced the need for cheese on the burgers. Makes 4 burgers.

Black Bean Burgers with Baked Mac & Cheese

Nutritional Information per burger:

237 Calories

5 g. fat

1 g. sat. fat

45 mg. cholesterol

550 mg. sodium

37 g. carbs

8 g. fiber

3 g. sugar

11 g. protein