Black Bean Burger

Want a black bean burger recipe that’s healthy, vegan, easy, perfectly spicy, and satisfying as heck? Look no further than this homemade veggie burger.

A person holding a black bean burger filled with spinach, tomato, onion, and asparagus.

This recipe makes a damn fine black bean burger—and one of the best homemade veggie burgers we’ve ever had. It’s an inspired collision of ingredients that’s easy, healthy, spicy, vegan, contains no crazy multisyllabic fillers, and is satiating as heck. Be warned, there’s no “quick and easy” version of this recipe, as the authors concede. But as they say, it’s definitely worth the trouble. The recipe makes ample to package individual patties and stash in the fridge or freezer for another day—or maybe later in the same day given how surprisingly compelling the taste and texture.–Renee Schettler

Vegan Black Bean Burger

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 6
4.7/5 - 3 reviews
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  • For the chile mayo
  • For the black bean burgers
  • For the assembly


Make the chile lime mayo

In a bowl, mash everything together until completely combined. You should have about 1/2 cup. Transfer the chile lime mayo to a jar with a lid and stash it in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Make the black bean burgers

In a large bowl, mash the black beans until smooth using a potato masher or a fork. It’s okay if some of the beans are still whole. Add the bread crumbs, oats, ketchup, and carrot to the mashed beans and mix together thoroughly. You can use your hands for this to get the ingredients to combine extra well.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and zucchini, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and zucchini to the bean mixture and combine.

Toss the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a blender and pulse a few times to get things combined and then purée until a creamy paste forms. Add this paste to the bean mixture, mix it thoroughly, and season it with the salt and pepper.

If you bought popped amaranth, dump it on a plate. If you bought unpopped amaranth and need to pop it, heat a deep-sided pot or wok over medium heat. Toss in just enough amaranth to make a single layer, partly cover the pot with a lid, and cook until the amaranth pops. Turn the popped amaranth into a bowl and repeat until you have about 1 cup.

Shape the bean mixture into balls the size of golf balls and flatten them into patties 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Dredge both sides of each patty in the popped amaranth to completely coat. Place the finished patties on an empty plate. (Your black bean burger patties are now ready for frying or freezing. If you want to store the patties in a stack, place a small piece of parchment paper between them so they won’t stick together. You can refrigerate them for up to 1 week or freeze them for up to 2 months.)

If you’re cooking the black bean burgers immediately, place a large skillet over medium heat and add just enough oil to slick the surface. Working in batches, fry the burgers until they’re nice and brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate after they are done cooking and then finish cooking the rest of the burgers. If you’re cooking the black bean burgers directly from the freezer, follow the preceding instructions but allow at least 5 minutes on each side. And you may want to partly cover the skillet with a lid or another pan to ensure that the burgers cook evenly, inside and out.

Assemble the garnishes

While the burgers are cooking, in a small pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the asparagus and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a plate.

Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with the onion and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the onion to the plate with the asparagus.

Then cook the cabbage in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until softened, again 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan with the cabbage from the heat, add the vinegar, and gently toss. It can sit there for a few minutes while you finish the burgers.

Now it’s assembly time! Serve each burger on a hamburger bun with 2 patties, avocado, tomato, lettuce, asparagus, onion, cabbage, and chile lime mayo. Enjoy! Originally published April 27, 2016.

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    *How To Pop Amaranth

    • First you need to purchase some amaranth, which you can find packaged or in the bulk bins section of your local health-minded store. Heat a wide, high-sided pot over medium-high heat. (Don’t use a short-sided pot or the amaranth will fly everywhere as it pops!) Add just a single layer of amaranth—don’t put too much in the pot or it will burn before it pops. And then wait. It’ll pop in seconds. Transfer the popped grain to a bowl and add another thin layer to the pot and repeat.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    These black bean burgers are awesome! They really taste like hamburgers! The texture with the onion, zucchini, carrot, oats, and popped amaranth made for a "meaty" burger. And the spices, including cumin, cilantro, oregano, and chili powder, gave the burger that smoked umami flavor. Everyone who tried this burger loved it!

    I used chipotle Tabasco sauce in the chile lime mayo. The recipe calls for 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne, but be careful if you don't like it too spicy. It all depends on how fresh your cayenne pepper is and how you like it. The amount worked great for me but not so much for one of my guests. The lime juice and mayonnaise tame it a bit. Taste as you add until you're happy with the heat level.

    The combination of asparagus, onion, and cider cabbage is so beautiful and delicious. This truly is an award-winning veggie burger—the best I've ever eaten. Definitely double the recipe and freeze. They'd make fabulous sliders for a party, so try quadrupling the recipe. I'm still savoring the flavor, and so will you and your friends. I'm going to try grilling the burgers over hickory next time. I think that would send the flavor to even greater heights.

    This black bean burger is a perfect substitute for a meat burger—satisfying without being stodgy, so full of flavor, and with a perfect consistency! The popped amaranth is a plus, giving the burgers a crunchy texture. The vegetables gave the burgers extra flavor, and the chipotle mayo was a great final touch!

    I used canned beans and drained them, as the liquid would make it difficult to shape the patties, but I didn’t rinse the beans to avoid losing any flavor. The addition of oats and bread crumbs helped the burgers keep their shape.

    Although these aren't quick, they're worth the time you spend making them! You can easily eat a couple of them in a single sitting.


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    1. Instead of frying it, I put it in the oven for 20 mins its a little bit dry but the taste is good.

    2. I am keen to try this recipe but have heard that amaranth is banned in the US as a suspected carcinogen. Please advise. Is there a substitute?

    3. Tasty, delish, fabulous, fantastic, great, all these words are nothing in front of the taste of this burger, Renee. I love to eat things without meat. I have just read it and will go through tonight for sure. Thanks again for this yummy black bean burger.

    4. Absolutely fabulous black bean burger. I ended up popping up millet as a substitute for amaranth and serving it on toasted ciabatta – and it was delish. Very meaty with lots of interesting side notes. Definitely a keeper. We had them tonight for #meatlessmondays and I’m plotting a second go round tomorrow for lunch…as an open face burger on toasted Danish Rye. Yum yum yum.

    5. Can quinoa be popped like amaranth can I substiute it for the amaranth? would the process for popping be the same? also do I need add oil to bottom of the pot before I pop the grain or should the pot be hot but dry? thank you

      1. Monica, since quinoa is a slightly larger grain than amaranth, I don’t think it would work well as a substitute here. You can usually find amaranth either in the grains aisle or the bulk section of most grocery stories. And nope, no need to add oil, a pot that’s hot and dry will do the trick just fine!

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