Red Bean and Black Rice Burgers are hearty, pack a lot of flavour with nice texture, and one of the key factors is that they don’t fall apart. I’m pretty confident you’ll love this freezer-friendly vegan red bean burger recipe which is relatively easy to make. Pan-fry, grill or bake the bean burgers, and enjoy on a bun, on their own, or with a side salad.
A few weeks ago I made a batch of these red bean and rice burgers, and both Kevin and I, as well as a few friends, absolutely loved them. Bean burgers are one of the most convenient foods to keep on hand, and these ones freeze well too. In fact, they are much nicer when cooked after being frozen. One of the problems with bean burgers is that they tend to fall apart, but not these ones; they hold well on the grill too!
A few points to note when making these Red Bean and Black Rice Burgers
Dried vs canned beans — I like to use dried beans as this gives me more control on how much to cook them. For the burgers not to turn out mushy, the beans are best cooked to al dente, or palatably soft, but not too soft that they become mushy.
If you are using canned beans, make sure you drain them well, and only coarsely mash them so that they don’t become pasty.
I’ve used red beans in this recipe but black beans will also work perfectly.
Texture — The addition of black or brown rice, as well as the shiitake mushrooms, provide some ‘bite’ or meatiness, and a nice overall texture that balance out the softness of the beans.
To save time, you may use leftover rice. Cold black or brown rice will work great.
If you’d like to use white mushrooms instead of shiitake mushrooms, make sure to cook them first with a little salt, and evaporate their liquid in a pan.
Flavour combo — What makes these burgers taste great is the flavour combination. I find cumin to really bring out a somewhat meaty taste, combined with miso paste and soy sauce for some umami boost. Paprika, black pepper and chilli sauce add some kick without making these bean burgers too spicy.
Binder — In previous vegan burger recipes featured on this blog, some of the binders that I’ve made use of are oats (as in these Chickpea and Eggplant Burgers), a combination of chickpea flour and starch (in these Vegan ‘Tuna’ Patties), potatoes (in these Lentil Burgers) and brown rice flour (in these Vegan TVP [Textured Vegetable Protein] Meatballs).
During one of my recent experimentations using a gluten free flour mix, mainly to keep the burgers gluten-free, I found that the patties held exceptionally well together with a good texture to them. I figured it’s thanks to the xanthan gum in the flour mix. I’ve not attempted the recipe using my own flour mix and incorporating the xanthan gum separately. So, I can’t advise on the amount of xanthan gum that you’d need on its own.
If you want to avoid gums in this recipe, simply use a flour mix that doesn’t contain any gums. Or you can also substitute with some oats. As with the previous burgers mentioned above, they will still hold their shape.
Freezer-friendly — The recipe yields a big batch that’s great for freezing. Make sure to separate each burger with a layer of parchment paper so that they don’t stick to one another when frozen. Having these burgers on hand make lunches or dinners very convenient. Feel free to halve the recipe if you want to make a smaller batch.
- 500 g (2½ cups) dried red beans (or 1500 g/7½ cups boiled and drained), black beans are also good to use.
- 200 g (1 cup) dried black rice, or brown rice (600 g/3 cups cooked black/brown rice)
- 12 - 15 medium-size shiitake mushrooms
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- 60 ml (4 tablespoons) crushed tomato or pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon miso paste, or substitute with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, use tamari for gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder (or ½ teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste), I used this one
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli sauce or ½ teaspoon chilli powder, optional (I used sambal oelek)
- 50 g (½ cup, packed) chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), including stems
- 120 - 160 g (¾ - 1 cup) gluten free flour mix with xanthan gum, more as needed
- Salt to taste
- Gluten free flour or rice flour, as needed, for coating
- Cooking oil, for pan frying or baking
To prepare the beans:
- If using cooked red beans, skip to step 4 within this section. Rinse and then place the red beans to soak in plenty of water for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- After this time, drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water.
- To cook the beans, add them to a thick bottom pot with plenty of fresh water. Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat, then partially cover the pan and cook on medium heat, until the beans are al dente or soft but not mushy.
- Once beans are cooked, drain the water and let the beans cool before coarsely mashing them with a fork. You may also pulse them in a food processor, but take care not to blend them to a paste.
To prepare the rice and shiitake mushrooms:
- Rinse and then place the rice and shiitake mushrooms, in a large bowl, and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- After this time, drain the rice and shiitake mushrooms, and discard the soaking water.
- To cook the rice, place them in a pot with the shiitake mushrooms. Add 480 ml (2 cups) of water. Cover or partially cover the pan, and cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the shiitake mushrooms and set aside. Fluff the rice with a fork and let cool.
- Finely chop or mince the shiitake mushrooms.
To make the burgers:
- Squeeze out some of the excess water from the grated zucchini.
- Mix all the ingredients together (mashed beans, rice, minced shiitake, zucchini, crushed tomato, miso paste, soy sauce, vegetable bouillon powder, black pepper, ground cumin, paprika, chilli sauce/powder, coriander/cilantro), except the gluten free flour mix.
- Once you obtain a bean mixture, add the gluten free flour, starting with 120 g, and then adding more as needed to adjust the consistency, so that the mixture is neither too wet nor too dry. When forming the patties, they should hold well.
- Place some gluten free flour in a flat bowl, like a pasta bowl, and make it into a little heap in the centre.
- Take a ⅓ cup measurement and fill with the bean mixture. Drop the mixture into the flour in the bowl. Roll it onto itself to completely cover with the flour and form a ball.
- Pick up the ball and shape into a patty with your fingers and in between your hands.
- If the patty seems to be too wet, add a little more flour to the mixture until you are able to handle the mixture better.
Note: Bear in mind that the binding agents (starches and xanthan gum) in the gluten free flour will activate with heat, when the patties are cooked. This will make the patties firm up and hold their shape. So, the uncooked patties may seem a little fragile to start with, but try cooking one and see how it holds first before adding more flour. You don’t want too much flour in there as this will alter the taste and texture.
- Once the patties are formed, you may either pan fry them or bake them.
To bake the patties:
Brush them with some oil and place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for about 25 - 30 minutes, flipping them on the other side halfway through the baking.
To pan fry the patties:
Simply heat some cooking oil in a frying pan. Once oil is heated, gently place 2 - 4 patties at a time (depending on the size of the pan) and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip on the other side and cook for another 5 minutes. Flip again and cook for another 2 - 4 minutes on either side until patties are cooked through.
To cook patties on the grill:
I suggest you pan fry the patties for 5 minutes on each side first, until they are firm. Then, remove from the pan and allow to cool. You may then cook them further on the grill.
Serve in a bun with your favourite toppings or on their own with a side salad.
The recipe yields a big batch that's great for freezing. Having these burgers on hand make lunches or dinners very convenient. Feel free to halve the recipe if you want to make a smaller batch.
To store the patties:
I suggest freezing them to keep them for longer. You may half-bake or half-cook them in the pan in this case and store in a freezer-proof container, separating each layer stack with a piece of parchment paper, so that they don’t stick to one another when frozen.
To cook from frozen, no need to defrost, just toss them in a pan, or on the grill, and cook on either side for about 5 - 7 minutes. Or bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through.
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