Meatless Monday's - Black Bean Burgers and Texas Caviar

In my quest for flavorful meatless options, hands down, this recipe is a favorite at our house.   These small cakes are packed with flavors and textures.  I will admit that these are a re-make from an area restaurant that...

In my quest for flavorful meatless options, hands down, this recipe is a favorite at our house.   These small cakes are packed with flavors and textures.  I will admit that these are a re-make from an area restaurant that serves a Vegetarian Menu.  I was inspired by the flavors and knew that I could re-create these cakes.  I opt to keep the onions, garlic and jalapeño fresh and not pan sauté before using in this menu as most recipes direct.  I also fry these cakes in olive oil over some of the baking preparations suggested as this adds a great crust to this cake to complement the creamy interior.  I love that these cakes/burgers can be made ahead, but they are best served immediately following the pan fry.

Black Bean Burgers
Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers – Adapted from Emerils.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, diced small
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, deveined and finely chopped

*** I opt to keep these first three ingredients fresh and not sautéed.  This adds a welcomed punch to these Black Bean Cakes.  You can opt to pan sauté the onions, garlic and jalapeno if you want a milder burger.

  • 2  - 15.5 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Mash these beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork.  If using a food processor to mince the onions and garlic, use the food processor to assist with breaking down the beans.  You do not want to mash them to a pulp, just begin to breakdown most of the beans.
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of kosher salt – Remember, the Essence you will use on the coating has salt too!
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Essence or Creole Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Binding ingredient – an egg if you use dairy in your diet

Or, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water or stock to create a substitute.

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients well with the binding agent of your choice.
  2. Create small patties. They are fragile, so do not try to make these too big.   Dredge in Flour and Essence Mixture. (About ½ cup flour with 1 teaspoon of Essence)
  3. Stack on Wax Paper and place in the fridge until ready to fry.  This can be done up to 8 hours ahead.
  4. Prepare a non-stick fry pan with a bit of olive oil to coat.   When this is hot, add your cakes.   Do not crowd the cakes.  Fry five minutes on each side to create a crust and warm them throughout. Add a bit more oil if needed as you turn the cakes over.   Only turning once for the best results.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with sour cream, Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, avocado, salsa and/or tomato slices.  About 14 – 16 small cakes.

***I do not serve these on rolls, but many opt to create a burger with this Black Bean Cake.

Following the Southwestern tastes of the Black Bean Cake, I often opt to create my Texas Caviar as a best side dish.  The original recipe adds rice to this dish and cheese.  I try to omit cheese in my diet and keep grains to a minimum.  Another favorite is the Southwestern Kale Salad that I features a few weeks back within my Tale of Kale.

Texas Caviar
Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar – adapted from Southern Living Recipe

Bean & Pepper Mixture:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers – I will use jarred version for this recipe or use a fresh red pepper if I have this in the fridge
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeño pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix together these four ingredients and add about ¼ cup of this vinaigrette that follows.
  2. Cover and microwave on High for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30-second intervals.  Then allow the bean and pepper mixture stand at room temperature with the vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to marry these flavors.
  3. Add the hot rice to this hot mixture if you are going to add the rice.
  4. At this point you can finish this salad with the fresh vegetables and serve warm.

My advice:  I suggest allowing this mixture of the rice and the peppers and beans to cool before adding the vegetables.  I like this salad served best cold as a side.

Texas Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons hot sauce – start with one, you can always add more later
  • 3 - 4 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine these ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together to create this dressing.

Rice:

***If you opt to add this to the dish, prepare 1 ½ C of rice.  I will suggest a brown rice or a harvest blend of long grain and wild rices.  Prepare this with 3 C of Vegetable Stock, over just water,  to add to the flavors.   Watch the addition of salt if you are using prepared stocks.

Fresh Vegetables:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups halved grape tomatoes – use the full clamshell of tomatoes. Maybe save some for garnish
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Pepper Jack cheese – I omit this cheese from my recipe, but this is included in the Southern Living Version.
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • About 4 – 5 ribs of celery, diced small
  • 2 bunches of green scallion onions – use all of the whites and most of the greens

Directions:

Mix together these vegetables and add to the salad at the end to finish.  Mix well and serve immediately or allow this salad to chill in the refrigerator.

Garnish Ideas : Add sliced pickled jalapeño peppers and any extra tomatoes. Or, slice an avocado to top this Texas Caviar.

These Bean Cakes/Burgers and this Caviar are a family favorite.  I hope you try to create this Meatless Monday’s menu.