Mexican Black Bean Burgers

Jalapenos are the most popular chile peppers in the US. This is probably due to the availability and versatility of the chile. Jalapenos have a balanced combination of flavor and heat.

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1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 jalapenos, seeded
1/2 tsp ground cumin
One can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked green lentils (can use canned)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs

Open cans of black beans and brown or green lentils, rinse them well with cold water, and drain them in a small sieve.

Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan. Roughly chop onion and red pepper, and peel garlic. Sauté vegetables in the oil until they have softened, about five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Pulse the sautéed onion, pepper, garlic in a food processor, along with the fresh cilantro and optional jalepeno, until finely chopped. Add the beans and lentils and process until pasty. If your food processor is a bit weak, you may want to tackle this in two batches. (I only have a mini food processor, but I did it in three batches and was fine.) When mostly smooth, add salt, pepper, and the eggs. Process until combined and then add 3/4 of cup of bread crumbs and process briefly until incorporated. Give a little stir around the very center for anything your blade may have missed. If your food processor is on the small side, you may wish to remove the legume/vegetable mixture to a bowl and simply stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Add more bread crumbs bit by bit until the mixture starts sticking together. It is now ready to form patties.

Put some flour in a salad bowl to use in flouring your hands and the outside of the patties. Form 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick patties. The patties might seem a little fragile, but you don’t want them too stiff or they might dry out and get crumbly once cooked.

Cook in a well-greased skillet over medium to medium-high heat, or an indoor grill, for about 5-8 minutes on each side, turning at least once for even doneness. You can add oil in between sides, especially if you want a nice even browning look, or if you’re using a cast iron skillet.

Note: In the photo below, the bean burgers look dry, but let me assure you, they were not. They got nicely crunchy on the outside, but the interior stayed soft.

Serve between two buns with an assortment of condiments and favorite toppings. Keep with the Mexican theme and offer fresh peppers, pickled jalapenos, avocado slices and salsa.

Freezer Tip: Patties can be layered between parchment paper in an airtight container and frozen for up to 6 weeks. To use: thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then grill or fry as usual.

Makes 8 burgers.