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Black Bean and Pepper Jack Burgers

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 117

With fresh scallions, cilantro, and spicy pepper Jack cheese, these zingy burgers are a far tastier option than veggie burgers from the freezer case. Rolled oats help hold them together. Avocado and jarred salsa go with the southwestern theme, but lettuce, tomato, and ketchup are also good toppings.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 15.5-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 oz. finely grated pepper Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large scallion, minced
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more for the plate
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • Jarred salsa, for serving
  • Sliced avocado, for serving

Put the oats in a food processor and pulse three times to roughly chop. Add half of the beans and pulse into a coarse paste, about 6 pulses. Add the egg, cumin, and 1/2 tsp. salt and process to mix well, about 1 minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans, the cheese, scallion, and cilantro.

With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let the burgers set up.

Heat a large heavy-duty skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat until very hot; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until browned, with a good crust, 2 to 3 minutes; then carefully flip and cook, flipping again if necessary, until the burgers feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the burgers in the buns, topped with the salsa and avocado.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340; Fat (g): fat g 12; Fat Calories (kcal): 110; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4; Protein (g): protein g 15; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 46; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 490; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 60; Fiber (g): fiber g 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Enjoyed the slight heat from the pepper jack. Thought the texture was good and liked the bit of crust that formed. Will become part of the regular rotation.

These were just ok. Unless I did something wrong, I wouldn't make them again.

Awesome. Almost a meaty texture and great mexican flavor. Also a very fast dinner idea. Will make many more times.

My husband and I enjoyed this recipe. We are not vegetarians but in an effort to eat healthier we tried these burgers. I followed the recipe and they turned out perfectly-crunchy on the outside and creamy texture on the inside. Will definitely make again.

These were easy to make and delicious. They freeze pretty well. Instead of setting in the refrigerator, I threw them into the freezer until firm. Then I wrapped in wax paper and put into a freezer bag. Cooked from frozen took about 5-7 minutes per side. The texture changes a bit when frozen - they're not as creamy.

Delicious! Texture was good and typical of a bean burger. Flavors were earthy, and refreshing with mashed avocado that was seasoned with a little lemon juice and S & P. Substitutions: for pepperjack, I used asiago and 1/2 a jalapeno finely diced; for scallion, 1-2 Tbsp. grated yellow onion. Used several Tbsp. of oil in nonstick pan to achieve firm, brown crust on burger (about 3 minutes per side). Definitely will make these many times in the future!

These are so tasty. Mine came out crunchy on the outside and creamy-tasty inside. I used cheddar cheese since I had it on hand and it was great. Served with chipotle mayo sans buns. For those of you who prefer to cook your own beans, it's 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, about 1/2-3/4 cup dry.

Loved these. I have made a ton of bean burgers (many on my site Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness) and these were one of the best bean burgers I have ever made. These were the most simplest too! My very picky eater child actually ate one! And that's very surprising. Unlike other reviewers mine stayed together fine and I did not need more oil.

This black bean burger makes you want to not even bother looking at other bean burger recipes. It's delicious grilled or cooked stovetop. I can't say enough good things about this burger. Great for a low-carb meal as well (without the buns, of course).

We are just a week into vegetarian diet and these were a hit. Very simple and straight forward recipe. Next time I will use more pepperjack cheese as the patties did mostly take like black beans.

Great burger loaded with flavor.

These were very delicious and satisfying. While I'm not a vegetarian, I try to keep two of my three meals a day vegetarian and these burgers are a welcome addition to my choices. I'm planning to freeze three of them for later use -- I'm certain they'll freeze well. Wet hands to form the patties is a must -- I was able to do two before re-wetting my hands. I also used a cast iron skillet and, like one of the other reviewers, used canola oil because of it's high smoke point, and set my cooktop burner on high. It got pretty smoky, even with the vent on. Next time I think I'll turn the heat down a bit. Each side only needed about 1 1/2 minutes -- the first side got a little too crusty but fortunately didn't taste burnt. The texture is soft but I didn't mind it at all -- the crusty exterior gives it a good contrast. I topped it with avocado and chipotle salsa; I'm planning to use chipotle or roasted poblano mayo on the next one.

These were very delicious and satisfying. While I'm not a vegetarian, I try to keep two of my three meals a day vegetarian and these burgers are a welcome addition to my choices. I'm planning to freeze three of them for later use -- I'm certain they'll freeze well. Wet hands to form the patties is a must -- I was able to do two before re-wetting my hands. I also used a cast iron skillet and, like one of the other reviewers, used canola oil because of it's high smoke point, and set my cooktop burner on high. It got pretty smoky, even with the vent on. Next time I think I'll turn the heat down a bit. Each side only needed about 1 1/2 minutes -- the first side got a little too crusty but fortunately didn't taste burnt. The texture is soft but I didn't mind it at all -- the crusty exterior gives it a good contrast. I topped it with avocado and chipotle salsa; I'm planning to use chipotle or roasted poblano mayo on the next one.

An email reminded me about this recipe, so we added it to the list for the week. Having read other reviews, I upped the oats a little to give it a little firmer texture (maybe ~2T extra). 1T of olive oil is optimistic, especially for 'high' heat, so I used a generous amount of canola in a cast iron skillet, heated to about 400 degrees (turned down a bit after the searing each size for 3 minutes to cook for another 5 minutes). The end result was an addictively crispy outside with a nice firm interior. The flavor was nice, but I'm already envisioning other non-Southwestern-y versions...like using parmesan cheese, topping with some mozzarella and tomato sauce for an Italian version, or just plain cheese and standard toppings. Overall, a great concept and one of the better veggie burger recipes I've tried (and I'm not vegetarian...I actually fried up some bacon for a little smokey salty flavor on these as well).

These burgers are very tasty but I have to agree with the other reviewer that they were very soft. Wonder if more oats would help bind it. I will make them again but will try to firm them up.

The best veggie burger ever. I am chef at a daycare and the kids loved them...I didn't make enough! Nice to have an option that is actually better than a beef burger. All the staff wanted the recipe.

The texture was off on these... a little too pasty, even when the outside was cooked to near-black. Overall, the kids and I found them edible at best and my husband couldn't eat them. I wouldn't make them again, even though the flavor was okay.

These burgers were easy to make and tasted amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by how much flavour they had. I am not a vegetarian and do enjoy meat, however, I didn't miss the meat at all in this burger! It will become a regular favourite in our house. I didn't have any jarred salsa so I topped it with a tomato & onion salad (in a balsamic/basil vinagrette dressing) along with the avocado - incredible.

Very easy and turned out well. I also topped these with guacamole. The texture was a little softer than I thought it would be, but they held together fine. I wonder if you could freeze these burgers and have them on hand for a super quick weeknight dinner.

I am a non-red meat eater and my husband is the red meat eater...when we BBQ, usually I have a Gardenburger and I am never quite pleased...it is usually just adequate. So, the weather is in the 80's and it's a great nite to sit out and grill so I grab my June/July Fine Cooking and can throw together these black bean burgers! Okay, I have made other bean burgers over the years, but for whatever reason, these turned out wonderfully? I served them with salsa and guacamole that we made for fajitas from last nite, sans bread/buns. This will be a staple and the ingredients are always on hand!

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