This past Saturday was my favorite kind of day: we had no plans, no place we had to be, no major to-do lists—and, at least for someone with my personality and temperament, I am finding days like this are crucial. Spending 24 hours at a leisurely pace, the kind where you stroll around the Franklin farmers market, fall asleep for two hours on the sofa, hold your husband’s hand as you walk up and down the block before the sun sets is just the ticket to helping yourself slow down, be still and feel thankful. Seriously, this Saturday was so good, it was almost like being in Hawaii again. Oh and also, there were these quinoa black bean burgers.
I got the idea to make black bean burgers last week and, after pinning five or six recipes that caught my eye, I put together a version that combined their ideas and added some of my own. Using bulk-bin organic beans and quinoa, I had to soak them the night before, but once that step was taken care of, the process was pretty easy: cook the beans, cook the quinoa, saute a heap of veggies and spices; combine everything in a food processor; form into patties; saute or bake and bam! I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you: we loved these quinoa black bean burgers.
Price-wise, you can’t beat them: for under $7, you get eight homemade patties, some of which can easily be frozen for later. Nutrition-wise, they’re incredible: filled with the whole-foods protein and nutrients of beans, quinoa, veggies and spices. And taste-wise: I seriously can’t believe non-meat burgers can pack so much savory flavor into every bite. They’re even wonderful on their own, sans bun or toppings, eaten like little quinoa black bean cakes, reminiscent of fried green tomatoes or potato pancakes in their crispy exterior and hot, soft insides.
I wonder if it will be strange to tell you that what I think most when I look back at these pictures and this recipe is that I’m thankful? Thankful that these burgers came on a much-needed day of rest wherein I sat still long enough to notice my good gifts—gifts like longer daylight in the month of March, the kind of daylight that expands my days and makes it easier to work or cook or, as on Saturday, go for long strolls in the neighborhood; gifts like my kind and thoughtful husband who goes on those walks with me, who works alongside me, who talks to me about every single thing on my mind and who surprises me with tangible demonstrations of love like homemade chocolate souffles before we go to bed on Saturday night (!).
Because the fact is, I am too quick to forget how much I need to rest. Too quick to think I don’t have time for a free day with nothing planned. Too quick to try and squeeze in more work hours, knock out another project, feel the weight of responsibilities no one has mounted on my shoulders but me.
And so, because they came on the restful, peaceful Saturday that I didn’t know how much I needed, because they helped me stop to savor the good, because they represent the joy of trying a new recipe with no time constraints and the pleasure of sitting down to eat with the person you share life with every day, I love these quinoa black bean burgers even more than how good they tasted and more than the migraine-preventing, protein-packed power of quinoa or the digestion-benefiting, blood-sugar-regulating abilities of black beans.
The day after I made them, I read Matthew 11:28, where Jesus says to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I read that and thought, I am so glad He does.
May you enjoy these–and rest!–as we did, sometime very soon.
Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
Makes 7 to 8 burgers
As is, this recipe is easily vegetarian and vegan (just don’t cook the quinoa in chicken broth); by swapping the bread crumbs with a gluten-free option (or omitting them entirely), it could also be gluten-free.
1 cup organic quinoa, soaked overnight, cooked in water/broth
1 cup black beans, soaked overnight, cooked in water
Coconut oil (or other high-heat oil)
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 small green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Hefty dashes of salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs (I made mine by toasting sourdough and blending in a food processor with a few dried herbs)
1. Cook beans and quinoa:
Begin by cooking the black beans (I soaked mine overnight, drained the liquid, then cooked the beans with three cups water, 1 cup beans, adding a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover for 45 minutes) and, in a separate pot, cooking the quinoa (I soaked mine overnight, drained and rinsed it, then cooked it with a cup of water and 3/4 cups stock for about 25 minutes). Let cool.
2. Saute veggies:
On the stove, sauté the onion, pepper, garlic, carrot and celery with spices (and salt and pepper) in oil until soft and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
3. Combine everything in food processor:
In a food processor, add the cooked and cooled beans, cooled veggies and some salt and pepper. Pulse until just combined.
Add the cooked quinoa; again pulse until combined.
4. Make your burgers:
Hand form the mixture into palm-sized burger patties and lay on a baking sheet or in a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Remove from fridge, let cool for 5 minutes, then push down each side in bread crumbs, being sure to push down to adhere the breadcrumbs to the burger.
Saute in coconut oil until browned and crisp on each side. Eat on bread as burgers or eat solo like a fried veggie cake.
Baked option: Bake in 400-degree for 12 minutes, flipping halfway.