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Black Bean Burgers

May. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

It has been a dream of mine for a while to expand my culinary skills to include a few more vegetarian and vegan dishes.

This is not a new recipe to some, but to me it's brand new and a delightful accomplishment. It would be a glaring omission not to include beans -- more specifically black beans -- to any vegan diet, as it is quite a challenge developing tasty recipes since vegan meals shun meat or any derivative of such. Unless one plans to use soybean curd as their main source of protein, it can be challenging finding protein-packed, main-dish-worthy meals.

Black beans -- or any other beans, for that matter -- are a very worthy substitute. I am a carnivore and no amount of spicy flavor will ever convince me to abandon that commission. However, I could easily omit the presence of flesh, say, three or four times a week and replace it with a healthier source of protein if I could drown my taste buds in something as filling and delectable as what I believe meat to be.

While this resembles a hamburger in appearance, the similarities stop there. After I ate this burger, ideas for ways to make it even better flooded my mind. "It's not a hamburger," was my overwhelming response to this creation. But it is quite refreshing to know I am not contributing to my overly indulged cholesterol bank. And I might be a wee bit thrilled tofu had no part in this recipe.

At the end of the day, I loved it.

BLACK BEAN BURGERS

1 can of black beans

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/3 cup parmesan cheese (omit for vegan recipe)

1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 T. olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the bread crumbs. Lightly smash the black beans. Mix in the bread crumbs. Grab a handful and form into balls that you will mash out like hamburgers.

In a large skillet, heat 3 T. olive oil over medium heat. Place each burger in the pan and fry them for 4 minutes on each side.

Serve on toasted buns and dress as you would a hamburger.

Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals" and owner of Let's Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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