Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Sometimes when I take pictures I have time to set them up, make it look kind of pretty and in my totally amateur attempt at food photography take a decent picture.  Then there are the times when dinner is on the table, the kids and hubby have already dug in and I think to myself – “Oh, I need to take a picture!!!”  Meanwhile, I have already buttered and salted my corn, put ketchup on my burger, gotten up three times to get the kids different condiments, drinks, napkins.  Well you get the picture.  So needless to say, there are times when my pictures will look decent (and hopefully improve dramatically at some point)….and there are times when my pictures will look…..well, like this one.  So, that’s something I am working on…and its getting a bit easier.  The kids are starting to understand why mommy is taking pictures of my food all the time and Jim is being patient when I pause in the midst of dinner craziness to take a picture on my Thunderbolt.

Ok….I just needed to get that out there.

This will be the last meatless post this week and I thought that a burger would be fitting for a Friday.  We very often have hamburgers on Fridays because we like to grill and have a drink to relax after a busy week.  Jim and I sit out on the deck and the kids will either sit with us and chat or they will run through the yard getting their energy out of their system.  It’s one of my favorite times of the week.  However, today with the extreme heat, I don’t really think many people want to be out grilling so black bean burgers are perfect.

I really liked these because they were super simple and they had some tomato, spice and corn in them.  Sadly, I couldn’t add the jalapeño because we were serving them to the girls and they are “spice wimps” so I served some pickled jalapeño for Jim and I to top them with.  We served them like regular hamburgers  topped with a slice of cheddar, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, ketchup and mustard.  Boy, were they good and a great substitution for our usual hamburgers.  I really like black bean burgers served with some Mexican toppings.  Last time I added some guacamole, cheese and salsa – once I even replaced the bun with a wrap.  Seriously people, if you have never tried a black bean burger you need to.  I like to fry mine in a cast iron skillet so they get a good sear on them.  I think it’s key to get a good crust on these so you get some of the bite back that you would have with a meat burger.

Just a note – my other favorite meatless burgers are the Masala Burgers from Trader Joes.  They have some Indian spices and lots of veggies and potato in them.  They are really even less of a burger than the black bean, but they are so good for a quick lunch….love them.

Well, I hope you enjoy these burgers as much as we did.  Dress them up like you wish and serve on a bun or in a wrap.


The recipe is from Jenna at Eat, Live Run.  I love her blog because one day she will have decadent brownies and the next a quinoa salad that looks equally amazing.  Love that.   I believe she also went to culinary school and creates a lot of her own recipes.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

2 cans of black beans – drain and rinse them well

2 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 egg beaten *

2 T tomato sauce

3/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen and defrosted)

Pickled Jalapeno’s – optional

Topping ideas can include, guacamole, salsa, cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce

olive oil (or canola oil)  for frying burgers


Pulse the garlic cloves in a good process or good blender until finely minced.  Add one can of beans and then combine.  Add the cumin and salt until it gets pretty well combined.

Transfer your bean mixture to another bowl and add the next 5 ingredients mixing until thoroughly combined.  Add the rest of the black beans and mix.

Heat your olive oil over medium high heat and form patties.  Fry until you get a good crisp on the outsides of the burgers – probably about 5 minutes per side.  Top with cheese at the end if desired.

Serve on either whole wheat hamburger buns or wraps.  Enjoy!

*She used ground flax and 3T of water which I just didn’t have so I threw an egg in to bind everything together.  I am not completely sure if that is what the flax does, but I seem to remember something about and egg substitute that was made with flax.  I would have done this if I had ground flax.  This would actually make these vegan, too (just don’t top with cheddar.)



Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu

This is probably my favorite weeknight meal and don’t let the name fool you – its extremely simple.  The key is using all the right ingredients.  When everything comes together, it’s a dish you can serve up in a snap on a weekday night or one you can serve to guests on the weekend.  We originally had Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu at Carrabba’s and once I had a bite I knew that I had to replicate it at home.

When Jim and I got married we lived in Rochester, NY.  Now if you have ever lived in the north, you know that there is no shortage of wonderful Italian restaurants.   We would often take clients out for lunch and go way down into the city to these little “hole in the wall” wood-paneled restaurants and they would be packed with older men ordering dishes like tripe and beans and greens.    We had a great little restaurant down the street called Guido’s Pasta Villa and their Chicken Parm was the best I have ever tasted.  With the migration down south for so many northerners, we have benefited from some great Italian Restaurants in this area, too.  We have a few in our town and some excellent pizza shops.  So, you can imagine why I find it kind of funny that we have grown to love Carrabba’s as much as we do.  My oldest daughter could make a dinner on their calamari and bread with dipping oil alone.

So, Tagliarini Picci Pacchiu is a wonderful mixture of great ingredients.  I  use canned diced tomatoes, and the key is to get  San Marzano – or at least the best tomatoes you can get your hands on.  You can also cut up your own tomatoes, but quite honestly, I kinda like the taste of the canned in this (plus, time is money, people.)  You will also want to use good olive oil and cheese.  Slice your garlic as thin as you can (think Goodfellas) and you MUST MUST MUST use angel hair pasta.  I have tried other pastas and it’s just not the same.  Oh yes – and fresh basil.  Did I say this dish is all about the ingredients yet??



Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu
  • 8 oz. Angel Hair Pasta - use whole wheat if you are trying to make this healthier
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves sliced very thin
  • 1 14 oz can of San Marzano diced tomatoes - mostly drained however its ok if there is still some juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a good handful basil cut into a chiffonade*
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Additional Olive oil for finishing the dish (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes and watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.) Add tomatoes and cook through until heated. Finally, add basil, butter (if using) salt and pepper and give it another 1-2 minutes to cook through. Plate your pasta and, if desired, toss with some olive oil and red pepper flakes. Spoon sauce over pasta and finish with freshly grated cheese.
  2. *To chiffonade basil, place 5-6 leaves on top of each other and roll into a tight little log. Slice the basil perpendicular so that you end up with little strips. Easy peasy!