Behold, dear readers! I hath wrought a miracle! A grillable black bean burger!

Actually, it's quite simple. I can sum it up in a word: pre-baking. Yup, that's it. You bake these puppies before you grill them.

I stumbled on this secret making VeganDad's recipe (adapted from Isa's) for brats. Their secret is steaming the brats for 40 minutes. So they're already cooked, more or less, when you toss them on the grill. And these things grill like true champeens. So applied this same brilliantly obvious logic to black bean burgers. I'm embarrassed to admit that I tried this literally the first, using wheat gluten as a binder and steaming the burgers. Ugh. More mess than firmness.

But last night I went with one of my traditional recipes, but baking them in advance. They too grilled like true champeens.

Grrrrrrillable Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 cups (1 can) cooked black beans
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced (halapeno or fresno will work too)
  • 3 sprigs fresh / 1.5 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup ground oats
  • 2 tbsp corn meal
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375. Place a pan of water on a low rack. This will keep things moist--you don't want these puppies to dry out.

Prepare the flax seed and water--this needs to sit for about 10 minutes, until it becomes sort of gelatinous. This is the equivalent of 1 egg and can be used as a binder in lots of other recipes.

Rinse and drain the blackbeans thoroughly (these are much better cooked from scratch). Add in the onion, bell pepper, and hot pepper. Now mashmashmash!

Add in the flax seed and water, ground oats, cornmeal, and spices and mix/mash thoroughly.

Mix the corn in last, because you want whole kernels. Unless you're into cream corn, in which case all bets are off.

Oil a baking sheet. Form the mix into patties--this will make 3 decent-sized burgers or 4 smallish guys. I recommend going with 3. Actually, I recommend making a double, triple, or quadruple batch--since it doesn't really take much more work and these can be refrigerated or frozen. Pop the patties on the cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes to a side.

They can be grilled immediately or refrigerated or frozen.

Serve on a lightly toasted (right on the grill) bun, garnished with fresh avocado slices, lettuce, and salsa. Or enjoy "traditional" style with lettuce, tomato, onion and the burger-y condiments of your choice.