Taco Black Bean Burgers


It’s time for another installment of ‘Tasty Penance’, wherein I give you something tasty and healthy to make up for, oh, I dunno, maybe fried bologna sandwiches? If compensating for every marginally bad thing we ever did was as delicious as these Taco Black Bean Burgers, we’d all be apologizing and making things right all the time.

First of all, how can you possibly go wrong with taco flavours? Hmmm? You can’t!* Second of all, it’s a burger which is an automatic win. Third, it throws and is cooked in about fifteen minutes. That’s good and fast. Fourth, it has avocados and lettuce and tomatoes and onions and hot sauce. Enough said, right? And fifth…

*Unless you’re putting taco toppings on a bowl of fudge brownie ice cream. I can see how that would be problematic.

Fifth is the most important for me right now. It is made without the use of the oven.  Why would that be so important to the baking queen (that’d be me)? Because my oven. She is dead. Again. I am murder on baking ignitors, apparently. This is the fourth (or is it third? I don’t know. I just know it’s been more than two and less than six) ignitor I’ve blown out on my oven since getting it a little less than ten years ago.  Darnit.

I really hope that part shows up by midweek because I have a Pampered Chef party this weekend and because I want to get baking some of these five bushels of apples I got for experimenting. I’m a patient person. I’m a patient person. I’m a patient person. If I keep saying it, it’ll be true.

Luckily, the cook top is still working so pan frying is still an option and these burgers do not make me feel like I’m missing anything by not baking (except maybe a freshly baked bun, but I digress…) Now. Another word or several about these burgers.

  • They’re cheap. Super cheap. That makes me happy since I’m buying a new baking ignitor. Not that I’m bitter or anything…
  • Remember my Pizza Black Bean Burgers? I laid out all the reasons why I love my version of bean burgers there, so I won’t rehash it here, but I do have to say this.  The world seems to be divided into two clear camps when it comes to vegetable burgers. There’s the “Woohoo! Veggie Burgers!” contingent and the “Why a veggie burger when I can have a meat burger?!?” crew. As I am feeding a couple representatives of each of the aforementioned groups, I feel qualified to say that these not only pass muster on both sides of the fence, but are received enthusiastically. When I say enthusiastically, I mean they are hoovered at light speed. This is what I call a serious win.*
  • Leftovers make incredible snack food for late night movie viewing. I have demolished a plate full of cold taco black bean patties with hot sauce solo.

*Confession: I leave a couple little patties free of corn for the ONE hold out on sweetcorn in my crew. Stinker. He’ll come around eventually, but in the meantime, I’m still getting him to eat a vegetable burger. I’m not sweating the sweet corn.

I’m grateful that all my kids love beans. I have to tell you, though, that it wasn’t always that way. A couple of them required convincing. And while I’m not proud of how I managed it, I’m going to share my technique with those of you looking for a way to entice your children to love beans.

The method is simple and it has one step:

  1. Teach them the song.

You know which song I mean, right? The song about beans’ musical properties? Teach it to them. With gusto! And inform them that the song is correct then sit back and watch them eat. Be sure to remind them of the rules about where and when beans can be, um, played or suffer the consequences. I do believe you’ll find this to be a very effective way to encourage bean consumption whether or not you have five sons. We parents have to stick together. Go, Team Big People, right?

Have you ever done something you swore you’d never do to get your kids to try something?

Taco Black Bean Burgers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gorgeous deep brown and crunchy on the outside, tender and bursting with taste, studded with corn, topped with avocados, tomatoes, lettuce onion and hot sauce, and served on soft buns, these meat-free Taco Black Bean Burgers pleased even the most entrenched picky eater in my house.
  • 4 cups (or 2 cans) black beans, drained and rinsed well, then drained again
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped onions
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, according to preference, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (or more) plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro or parsley flakes)
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • canola or peanut oil for frying
  • lettuce leaves, for
  • avocado slices, for topping
  • hot sauce, for topping
  • soft rolls, for serving
  1. Add the pepper, onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  2. Put the lid in place and pulse, stopping to remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. Add half of the black beans, all of the seasonings, salt and tomato sauce to the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture resembles the consistency of guacamole (slightly chunky but a cohesive paste.)
  4. Scrape the bean and vegetable mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining beans and corn, then the egg and breadcrumbs.
  5. Test the consistency of the mixture. You should be able to roll the mixture into a ball and flatten into a patty without it sticking to your hands. If you cannot, add one extra tablespoon of breadcrumbs at a time, stirring and checking the consistency after each addition until it does what it should. The goal is to add enough that the mixture ceases to be sticky but not so much that it becomes crumbly. I found that in each of the batches I made, I needed significantly different amounts of breadcrumbs to hold the patties together, but I never needed less than 1 cup.
  6. Roll balls of the bean mixture according to the size of the burger you'd like: golf ball size for sliders, peach size for standard burgers, navel orange size for mega-burgers.
  7. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom by about ⅛-inch. When the oil is shimmering, flatten each ball into a patty that is about ½ to ¾-inch thick and slide it into the oil. Do this with as many patties as you can comfortably fit into the pan without crowding. Fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until deep brown and crunchy on the outside.
  8. Transfer the patties to a paper towel lined platter.
To serve:
  1. Stack one patty on lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, avocado slices, hot sauce to taste and finally add the top half of the bun.


  1. Mona says

    You are too much, I simply love your sense of humor and the way you get things done. Your recipes are great!!! Some of the more healthy ones are so much better then most out there, as you use real foods we usually have on hand. Thank you,you are a bright spot of delite in the Foodie world, you and your family !! I am making these today, I may even make for breakfast, as mouth is watering and , well I am hungry, what better way to start our day!!!

  2. Kimberly says

    I’m such a dork. We moved last month and my computer isn’t connected to the network yet so I have no printer to use. (translation: millions of teeny purple recipe post-its stuck to my range hood) I wanted to make these tonight so I scribbled the ingredients in kimba-code and set to cooking. Fail. I blended the wrong stuff, in the wrong order, substituted pickled jalapeno for fresh and panko for breadcrumbs, poured all the beans into the processor at once, and completely forgot the corn. Guess what happened? IT WAS STILL AMAZING! My husband has no idea what’s in them but he ate two of them. This, from a man who won’t eat beans, raw onions, or jalapenos. And I didn’t even have to teach him the song. :)

  3. kate C. says

    Not nearly enough people have commented on this recipe… because these are the most amazing things! I crave them all the time and whenever my husband insists on having (regular) hamburgers, I wish that these were on the homemade buns (your recipe, of course!) instead!

    Thanks so much for this awesome recipe! I’ve made it probably close to 10 times since you posted it! And it’s on the menu tonight too, which is why I’m back to this page.

      • kate C. says

        I saw the FB post on this, too. :) Thinking about it more, I probably overestimated how many times I’ve made them, probably only 6 times, though each time we get leftovers for lunch too (yum!) so I’ve had them for meals over 10 times!

        One comment I will make has to do with the bread crumbs… I usually end up using store-bought bread crumbs because I rarely seem to have homemade bread crumbs on hand when I need them. 1 c. is way too much and makes them really crumbly. Last time I used 1/3c. of whole wheat store-brand bread crumbs and they were almost too crumbly.

        Anyway, for whatever that’s worth! I still love the burgers!

        • says

          KateC – I just noticed your comment about not having homemade crumbs on hand. I have a bunch of anti-crust eaters in my house so I have a bag of bread ends in my freezer. When I come across a recipe that needs breadcrumbs – especially a recipe that I have to use my processor/blender for – I just pull one of the crusts out and put it in the processor first. Instant crumbs.

  4. Jen says

    I have been wanting to make these for a long time, but I’m a little intimidated by the pan-frying. Could these work in a George Foreman grill?


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