Bean Burgers

These are amazing—so good you’ll want to double the recipe and freeze some.
TIME 30 to 40 minutes with cooked beans
MAKES 4 to 8 servings
2 cups cooked or drained canned white, black, or red beans or chickpeas or lentils
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
½ cup rolled oats, or more as needed
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bean-cooking liquid or water as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

1 Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Put the beans, onion, oats, and chili powder in a food processor with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let the machine run, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is thoroughly combined but not puréed, about a minute. (If you don’t have a machine, use a potato masher and a large bowl.)

2 Let the mixture sit in the processor for 5 minutes. You want a moist consistency that will easily form cakes. If the mixture is too wet, add more oats, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too dry, add bean-cooking liquid or water 1 tablespoon at a time. Pulse (or mash) after each addition.

3 Shape the bean mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties and put them on the baking sheet. Let them sit for another 5 minutes.

4 Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is 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 them over carefully with a spatula and cook on the other side until the burgers feel firm and are browned on the other side too, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm with side dishes or on buns with the usual burger fixings.

  • Bean Burgers with Cheese: Remove the food processor blade and stir in ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, Jack, or mozzarella cheese to the other ingredients in the food processor right before forming the patties in Step 3.
  • Bean Burgers with Greens: Add 1 cup cooked greens to the other ingredients in the food processor in Step 1. Be sure you press them dry first (see tips for Boiled Greens).

  • Canned beans work well here, since their super-soft texture and their mild flavor makes them very amenable to other seasonings.
  • Letting the bean mixture and the patties rest for a few minutes helps keep the burgers from falling apart. If you have time, you can put the patties in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate them for an hour (or up to a day), or freeze for up to a month; let them return to room temperature before cooking.

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