Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

my quinoa black bean burger

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.

black beans + quinoa

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.

garlic, onion, celery, carrot, pepper

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.

quinoa veggies + black beans

black beans and veggies

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 (!).

pan-fried quinoa black bean cakes

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.

quinoa black bean burgers quinoa black bean burgers

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.

quinoa black bean cakes

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.


  1. says

    You are oh so right about the slowing down & resting. I am super bad at it. My husband used to be a good relaxer but I think I might be rubbing off on him :-/ This is just kind of a rough season in our lives since his parents aren’t in good health & need help & my dad needs a lot of help since we just lost my mom. But the Lord is so good to strengthen & refresh us for each day. His strength is neverending & for this I am so grateful.
    I’m also grateful you posted this. I have some quinoa that I need to experiment with & this looks like something I would LOVE :-)

    • says

      My heart goes out to you in this season, MaryAnn. I like hearing the way you talk about the Lord’s strength and refreshment—it encourages me. Thank you for commenting!

  2. says

    shanna, i’ve been diligent lately with the whole soaking process and that crucial step has the effect of making me slow down & think & just simply be. it’s wonderful that way, isn’t it?
    i must confess that i am the exact opposite. on the rare days that there is nothing to do, nowhere to be, obligations to fulfill, i feel out of sorts. i need a PLAN. i forget that He has a plan if i would just be quiet and listen.
    thank you for this post, this was perfect, i have all the items in my pantry (it’s a SOAKING phenomenon in my house!) and it just might make it on the dinner table this week.

    • says

      I love the phrase ‘SOAKING phenomenon’! : ) Also love a well-stocked pantry… You inspire me on both fronts! I would love to hear how you like these burgers–let me know!

      • says

        meant to come back to let you know, we made these the following week of this post. we used pearl barley instead and amped up the spices. we fried them on both sides and then baked them to finish. it was lovely. we made enough to last us the week, for lunch or leftover dinners. i’ve been on a veggie burger kick lately, this will probably make an appearance often this summer!

  3. says

    Love the colors of those veggies! Black bean burgers have been on my to-make list since last summer — must try them now. And I know what you mean about rest — those types of Saturdays are my favorite, and much needed, always.

    • says

      Me too. I love eating meals with lots of colors in them—such a good sign. : ) And to be honest, I’m pretty sure you were the one who pinned a photo of black bean burgers recently and set my wheels turning, so thank you!

  4. Mary Martin says

    Shanna. What a sweet entry. I love your insightfulness, creative recipes, and heart for the LORD! Delightful blog! Missing you Mallon’s. Of note, I have been craving Tim’s homemade ice cream… I like it even better than Jeni’s!!!!

    • says

      Super nice comment, Mary. I didn’t even know you knew about the blog, ha! : ) Thanks for stopping by to say hi. We think about you guys often. And I totally agree about Tim’s ice cream. I haven’t wanted Jeni’s since he started making it!

  5. says

    The only thing better than a day to do nothing is a day spent living in gratitude with the love of your life….ok, maybe with a side order of yummy black bean quinoa burgers!!

  6. says

    Rest. We are so much alike. I could write you a long letter about my feelings about rest, so maybe I will. (And I can’t wait until we can try these burgers!)

  7. says

    These look soooo good…I’m a vegetarian, so this would be a nice option for me while my husband grills hamburgers.

    • says

      Cool, Erin! Tim and I grilled ours one Sunday night with friends, and I will offer the one warning that because the mixture is soft, the burgers can be kind of hard to hold together on the grill—doable but trickier than on the stove. Definitely want to use the breadcrumbs if you’re grilling, for sure.


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