This black bean vegetarian burger is full of the flavor of fresh herbs and spices, while the chewiness of the farro grain gives it a satisfying, toothy texture.
This recipe comes together quickly, and a full batch makes 10 good-sized burgers. That’s enough for a family dinner, or even a dinner party. Extras can easily be kept in the fridge or freezer for another day.
The combination of bean and grain makes for a complete vegetarian protein, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything with this as your next meatless meal.
I want to tell you also that this black bean burger is nothing like most of the black bean burgers you get at restaurants.
I have tasted many of them, and in my opinion they aren’t good. It seems that restaurants often add corn or cornmeal, which makes the patty taste like a bland tortilla. There’s no corn in this recipe.
As you can see from the ingredient list in today’s black bean burger, there are plenty of vegetables and fresh herbs to balance out the earthiness of the beans. And, as I mentioned earlier, farro adds meatiness to the texture.
If you go ahead and make this, I think you will be surprised by how easy it is to make a vegetarian burger of your own.
How To Make Black Bean Burgers Crispy
Who doesn’t love a bit of crunch? A crispy texture can be created in two main ways.
The first is related to the ingredients you put inside the burger. Do any of these ingredients have a chewy or crunchy texture? This is key, since cooked black beans are soft.
In this recipe we retain a cup of whole black beans for texture, while the rest go into the puree. The diced carrots also provide texture.
Next up is the farro. Farro is an ancient form of wheat. If you’ve tried it, you’ll know that farro is quite chewy, so I love what it adds to this burger.
Farro is painless to cook, similar to rice, and it takes just 25 minutes or less. I’ve got your back in the recipe instructions.
The second way to make black bean burgers crispy is to exercise patience while cooking, and use a good amount of cooking oil. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat.
Low heat is key here because it gives the burger patties time to heat through before the exterior burns. On the contrary, the exterior will get brown and caramelize into a dark, golden crust.
Black Bean Burger Toppings
For any black bean burger, the most obvious topping is cheese. I tried pepper jack and it was really good. I would also recommend sharp cheddar. If you are vegan, substitute with vegan cheese.
I also love mayonnaise for some reason, and I think it is because you get that slight tang without the strong taste of a pickle. These days, you can buy some pretty fancy mayonnaises, such as the egg-free aquafaba, or one made with avocado oil.
If you want to get super fancy, consider making cilantro lime mayonnaise, garlic mayonnaise, or horseradish mayonnaise. For a quick mashup, just mix the tasty additions into store-bought mayo.
Speaking of avocado, it is a natural choice for a black bean burger. How about making it guacamole? Don’t forget to add lime, another great topping.
You could totally think of the burger as a burrito too, and go for sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, lettuce, onion, and tomato.
Or what about grilled onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms? I’d throw some fresh basil leaves in there as well to enhance the cilantro and parsley that’s in the burger patty itself.
I also suggest in the recipe instructions topping your burger with extra parsley and/or cilantro. Since it’s part of the burger patty, you can easily keep a little aside.
Fresh herbs, and fresh ingredients of any kind, will be the best complement for the earthiness of your amazing black bean burgers.
Vegan Black Bean & Farro Burger Recipe
For the prep
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans (drained), or 1 ¼ cups dried black beans, soaked and cooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, portion ½ tbsp, then ½ tbsp
- ⅓ cup dried farro, cooked
For the saute
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
For the burger mix
- If you are using canned black beans there is nothing to do for this step, except drain off the water. If you are using dried black beans, cook them until soft. For cooking instructions, see How to Cook Beans From Scratch.
- Cook the farro: Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the dried farro and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the farro begins to brown and smell fragrant. Add 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. If there is any water remaining after 25 minutes, drain it off. The farro should still be a little chewy.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat another half tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, red pepper flakes, and salt, and cook over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Pulse all but 1 cup of the cooked beans with the cilantro and parsley in a food processor to a chunky puree. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the reserved beans, cooked farro, cooked onion mixture, flax egg, bread crumbs, chipotles, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Cover, and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 30 minutes.
- Form the patties: When you are ready to cook the patties, remove the burger mixture from the fridge and use your hands to form the mixture into 10 patties of about 3 inches in size and three-quarter inches thick.
- Cook the patties: Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat and add olive or avocado oil. When the oil is nice and hot, add the patties in an even layer and cook until nicely browned on each side. Be patient while cooking on low heat. This gives the interior of the black bean burger patties time to heat through, and it will build a golden brown crust on the outside without burning.
- Consider using the same skillet to grill your buns, either before or after cooking the burger patties.
- To serve: Serve the black bean burgers with lettuce, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, red peppers, and fresh cilantro and parsley, or substitute with any of your favorite toppings.