Black Bean Burgers with Cumin Cheese and Avocado

Black Bean Burgers with Cumin Cheese and Avocado

*Photo and Content Updated May 2012*

Inspiration: Brandon and I have had a fabulous summer. We’ve been riding bikes, grilling out, and generally enjoying the great weather. We were lucky enough to travel to Europe, and we’ve got some great mini-vacations and time with family and friends lined up for the rest of the summer. When we’re home for a weekend, we love to explore the downtown restaurants, and with our new love of beer, we’ve been trying everything that the breweries in town have to offer.  That being said, sometimes we need a solid week or so of staying in, cooking summery homemade meals (like these great burgers) and keeping things low key.

What we Loved: I really fell in love with this recipe. The black bean burgers had a ton of spice and flavor with the inclusion of cumin, chili powder, garlic, anaheim peppers, and onions. The flavor from the peppers was particularly prominent, and Brandon really enjoyed the nice and mellow coconut flavor, which complemented the rest of the ingredients nicely. I also loved the great brown crust that formed on the burgers while cooking, which was a good contrast to the soft inside of the burgers. All of the different flavors paired so well with a cumin seed cheese that we bought at a local wine shop and with a generous helping of mashed avocado. I’ve been really into avocados lately, and I don’t think that you can ever go wrong when adding avocado to a burger. And the cumin seed cheese, if you can find something similar, is amazing! It has such a strong, fantastic cumin taste. All together, this sandwich was a great burst of flavor, and I’m glad to have a couple of extra burgers tucked away in the freezer for later.

Helpful Hints: A cheese like the cumin seed cheese that I used (which was called Leyden cumin cheese) might be difficult to find, but I would think that a couple of great alternatives would be pepperjack or a sharp cheddar. Really, the toppings for this burger are endless. With the leftovers, I’m thinking of using goat cheese and green chiles.

Black Bean Burgers with Cumin Cheese and Avocado
Source:  A Veggie Venture

Here’s the recipe as I made it, to serve two and with two extra burgers to freeze.

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup anaheim peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 slices cheese
1 avocado
Sprinkle of kosher salt

1. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the onions and peppers, and cook until they are just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

2. Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor. Add the cilantro, and process for just a few pulses until the mixture is roughly chopped. Add the beans, and pulse just a few more times until the beans are broken down but still in small chunks. You do not want a smooth puree.

3. Transfer the bean mixture to a bowl, and add the coconut flour, egg, chili powder, cumin, and a sprinkle of salt. Mix well, and form the mixture into four burgers.

4. Heat another pat of butter in the saute pan over medium heat. Add the burgers, and cook for approximately 3 minutes to brown. Flip the burgers when they are brown. Add the cheese, cover the pan, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

5. While the burgers are cooking, mash the avocado in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt, and stir to combine.

6. Serve the burgers topped with the mashed avocado.

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Refried Beans

Refried Beans

I used to hate refried beans. I wouldn’t touch them, and every time we went out for Mexican, I went through this hassle of making sure that my plate was bean-free. Once I gave them a chance, though, I found out that they weren’t so terrible, and these days, I absolutely love them. And I have to say, this homemade refried bean recipe was so much better than anything I’ve ever found at the grocery store, and it was even better than many of the beans that I’ve had in Mexican restaurants. I will definitely be adding this dish to the regular side dish rotation for the nights that we have Mexican meals.  These had such a great flavor from the added garlic, onions, and salt, and the consistency was so much better than a lot of refried beans that I’ve had. There’s nothing worse than refried beans that run across your plate (gross, I know). These are thick, healthy (well, without my mound of cheese…) and delicious.

Refried Beans
Source: For the Love of Cooking

I adjusted the ingredients and the cooking process a little bit for this recipe, and I left out a jalapeno, which the original recipe called for. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

Extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Vidalia onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Pinch of cumin
Cheese (I used Parrano, because I had some extra in my fridge, but really anything like jalapeno jack, cheddar, etc. will work)

1. Pour the drained and rinsed beans into a food processor, and process until smooth (or until they’ve reached whatever consistency you’d like).

2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the diced onion. Saute until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add the beans and a pinch of cumin to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook on low for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Put the beans into a small bowl, and sprinkle with cheese. At this point, I popped the bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

Chickpea Tacos

Besides ground beef tacos with the usual fixings, these are my favorite tacos. They are seriously so delicious. They’re simple tacos with only a few ingredients….chickpeas coated and baked with a taco seasoning, an avocado and garlic puree, and some chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro. Sooo tasty, very healthy, and also a great vegetarian meal. We usually eat about 3 vegetarian meals a week, and I have to say that this is a great example of the many really wonderful and flavorful vegetarian meals that are out there. The seasoning on the chickpeas tastes amazing, and the avocado is so garlicy and delicious. We’ve eaten this meal several times, and every time I’m always amazed at how good it is.

Chickpea Tacos
Source: Adapted from: Veggie Terrain

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
crunchy blue corn taco shells (I could only find these at Whole Foods. Yellow corn shells will work, too)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, chopped
A handful of cilantro, chopped
1 avocado
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spray a small cooking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

3. In a bowl, whisk the tamari, lime juice, and taco seasoning (chili powder through oregano) together.

4. Add the chickpeas to the bowl, and toss until well coated.

5. Place the chickpeas in the cooking dish in an even layer, and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

6. While the chickpeas are cooking, combine the tomato, green onions, and cilantro in a small bowl. Peel and pit the avocado and place it in another bowl with the minced garlic and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Mash the avocado together with the garlic and salt until a puree forms.

7. Serve the tacos with the avocado puree and the tomato mixture. Place the avocado puree in the shell first, to prevent the chickpeas from rolling out of the shell.

Salsa with Black Beans, Peppers, and Sweet Corn

These types of black bean salsas are one of my new favorite things to eat in the summer. They’re so fresh and flavorful, and they go well with so many different meals…served over fish, in burritos, with tortilla chips. I even like to eat salsas like this as a side dish, as we did tonight with our crab cakes. So healthy and delicious.

Salsa with Black Beans, Peppers, and Sweet Corn
Original Recipe, Serves 2 as a side dish

1/3 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 poblano chile, diced
2-3 fire roasted red pepper pieces from a jar, chopped (you could also roast a fresh red pepper under the broiler until blackened, peeling the skin off when cool and then chopping)
1/3-1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 small red onion, diced
Salt and pepper

1. Combine all vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.