These burgers are fantastic served on a bun with the usual fixings, no matter which bean you use, but I will say that black beans are my fave. If you start with well-seasoned, cooked-by-you beans, the results are even better. Like almost all veggie burgers, these hold together better if you refrigerate them before cooking.
Watch: These are the best veggie burgers you’ll ever make.
The Simplest Bean Burgers
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 20 minutes with cooked beans
2 cups well-cooked black, white, or red beans, chickpeas, or lentils (or 1 14-ounce can, drained)
1 onion, cut into chunks
½ cup rolled oats (not instant), plus more if necessary
1 tablespoon chili powder or spice mix of your choice
Salt and pepper
Bean-cooking liquid, stock, wine, cream, milk, water, ketchup, etc. (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed.
1. Put the beans, onion, oats, chili powder, egg, and some salt and pepper in a food processor. Let the machine run, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mixture is thoroughly combined but not puréed, about 1 minute. (If you don’t have a food processor, put everything in a large bowl and use a potato masher.) Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. You want a moist consistency that will easily form cakes. If it is too wet, add more oats; if it’s too dry, bean-cooking liquid or other liquid. In either case, add the ingredient 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse (or mash) after each addition.
2. Lightly wet your hands and shape the mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties; put them on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
3. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the patties. Cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on one side, 3 to 8 minutes. Add more oil if the pan looks dry, then turn the burgers over carefully with a spatula and cook until they feel firm and are browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm with your favorite burger fixings.
Mark Bittman is the author of How to Cook Everything.