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Pizza Black Bean Burgers

Gorgeous deep brown and crunchy on the outside, tender and full of taste, topped with pizza sauce and gooey melted mozzarella, and served on soft buns brushed with olive oil and Italian seasonings, these meat-free Pizza Black Bean Burgers pleased even the most entrenched picky eater in my house.
Author Rebecca Lindamood

Ingredients

  • 4 cups or 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed well, then drained again
  • 1/2 of a green pepper seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped onions
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic according to preference, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 1 cup or more plain breadcrumbs (*See notes below the instructions)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • canola or peanut oil for frying
  • additional pizza sauce for topping
  • grated mozzarella cheese for topping
  • soft rolls for serving

Optional:

  • extra virgin olive oil and Italian seasonings to brush on the roll

Instructions

  • Add the pepper, onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  • 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.
  • Add half of the black beans, Italian seasonings, basil, salt and pizza 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.)
  • Scrape the bean and vegetable mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining beans, the egg and breadcrumbs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom by about 1/8-inch.
  • When the oil is shimmering, flatten each ball into a patty that is about 1/2 to 3/4-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.
  • Transfer the patties to a paper towel lined platter and top immediately with grated mozzarella.
  • While the mozzarella melts on the hot patties, prepare the buns. They can be served as is, or brushed lightly with olive oil, sprinkled with Italian seasonings and then toasted quickly in the hot pan you used to fry the patties.

To serve:

  • Put one patty on the bottom half of each bun, dollop warm pizza sauce on the melted cheese and add the top half of the bun.
  • *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.