Thursday, February 17, 2011

Veggie Burgers: A Sort-of FAIL

    This is the first time I've EVER had a veggie burger.  I'm a definite carnivore and if I'm splurging on a burger, then I want one made of real cow. 

     I also made them because my third (or maybe it was my fifth?) attempt at cooking dried kidney beans resulted once again in overcooked, mushy, ugly beans.  Seriously, I don't know what my problem is here.  They always turn out even worse than canned beans.  Except this time I wanted to salvage the beans and use them in another dish.  But not soup, I had already used them in Beverly's Parsnip Soup (fabulous, by the way) and I was tired of eating soup. 

     Hmmm, what about a veggie burger?  Or a "black" bean burger?  I've heard that these alternatives taste good.  A quick search at came up with a 4-star recipe...and even better, I already had all of the ingredients.  A "free" cooking experiment!  Sign me up.

     One of the reasons why I am obsessed with cooking dried kidney beans is because I hate the mealy, mushy texture of canned beans.  The mouthfeel is really gross.  I think (I hope) that home cooked beans would have a better texture. Plus, the sodium content of canned beans is sky high.  Rinsing and draining them reduces the sodium content but I want to get them to a true low-sodium state.  Which means cooking them at home. 

     Except I can't freaking get it right.  This is my White Whale.  Perhaps I'll spend the rest of my days, trying to cook these darned beans and dreaming about them (yes, it does happen) but I'll never get it right.  Or perhaps I'll just give up after my next try.  And yes, I am trying again.  Dried kidney beans are so cheap.  $0.99.  I'll keep trying until another obsession takes over.

     So.  Back to the veggie burger.  By itself, the veggie burger patty was...adequate.  Not even was barely edible.  It definitely needed more salt.  And more taste.  However, with lettuce, tomato, and homemade tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber sauce) the burger was Not Bad. 

     I have three more of these patties to, ahem, get through and with the help of the toppings, I'll get through them without too much grumbling.  Perhaps it was because the kidney beans were too mushy.  I don't know. But I won't be making these again. 

     However, I am intrigued by the thought of making a Good Veggie Burger.  Do you have a recipe that you like?  Please share it in the comments section!

Veggie Burger
Adapted from Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burger at

Makes 4 patties


16oz kidney beans, mashed (if using canned, rinse and drain the kidney beans before mashing them)
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tbsp chili powder (optional) (I didn't use any chili powder.)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp Thai chili sauce or hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup bread crumbs


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put all of the veggies into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are diced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Add the mashed kidney beans and pulse until everything is well mixed and pureed.

4. Transfer everything to the bowl of stand mixer.  Add the egg, chili powder (optional), and Thai chili sauce (optional).  Turn the stand mixer on to the lowest setting and mix until the egg and spices are combined well.

5. Keeping the stand mixer running, slowly add the bread crumbs by the tablespoon, until the mixture becomes sticky and will hold a shape well.

6.  Form the mixture into four patties.  Brush oil onto a cookie sheet and place the patties onto the cookie sheet.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.  Serve on a bun with the toppings of your choice.

Nutrition Information Per Patty Only:
Calories: 198, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 607mg*, Total Carbs: 33.1g, Fiber: 9.8g, Protein: 11.2g

*The sodium content is calculated for canned beans that are rinsed and drained.


  1. I wonder if they'd benefit from being "crisped" in a frying pan? You wouldn't need to add anymore oil to them than you did in the baking process, assuming a nonstick coating.

    I've never made homemade veggie burgers. Intriguing.

  2. I am a vegetarian, but my ability to make a good veggie burger is lacking! I buy Sunshine burgers if I have a craving for one. I like marinated tempeh as a burger--but I'm not sure if you are ready for a fermented soy product. . .it is tasty though.

    As for kidney beans, I got them to work this week by bringing them to boil in a couple inches of water for 5 minutes, turning off the heat, and letting it sit with the lid on for 1 hr. Then I drained them, added fresh water(again, about 2 inches of water above the beans) and simmered on low with the lid on for a couple hours. I didn't add the salt until they were done. They actually turned out good!

  3. Hi Beverly,
    You know, I should try crisping them in a frying pan. That might improve the texture and taste of the burgers. Thanks for the suggestion!


  4. Hi Margaret,
    Thanks for the recommendation on a sure-fire way to successfully cook dried beans! My friend Beverly has mentioned it to me before and now you've reminded me. I will remember this method for my next attempt!


  5. I have never made a veggie burger but I will have to try soon!

  6. Congrats on trying the veggie burger! My husband is the only one in this house that can make a decent one. I am not totally sure how he does it though... I think it was a lot of trial and error at first.