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Black Bean Patties

Black Bean Patties

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Check out the secrets to making perfect black bean burgers at home!

The quest to the perfect black bean patty was an onerous one, and the road was paved with crumbly bean piles and soggy vegetables. But I managed to figure it out in the end- delicious patties that hold together and never get dry! Although this is sort of one of those “by feel” recipes, I have whittled down the amounts to be as specific as possible.

The one thing I feel the need to tell the world about these black bean patties, and pretty much all vegetarian / vegan meat substitutes (with only a couple of exceptions) is that they’re never going to fool you into seeming like meat. As soon as you can get over the idea that it’s supposed to “trick” your senses, you’ll enjoy them much more for what they are. What you do is you eat them LIKE you would meat. Put them between two buns for something you would eat in the same manner as you would a burger. Eat them on the side of breakfast like you would a sausage. It’s a substitute, not a decoy.

There are other ways to serve these besides just burgers! I like to fry black bean patties up and have an egg over it for breakfast. Or you can break them into pieces and have them in a breakfast hash. I also enjoy them in a sandwich or wrap with some dark greens and other sandwich toppings. Or break it in half and have it with your favorite toppings in a burrito!

This recipe makes a fairly sizable batch (about 12-16 black bean burgers, depending on the size you want them) but fortunately they freeze very well. If planning to freeze, cool completely after forming them into patties. Once cool, place them in a single layer on a piece of wax paper and pop into the freezer- no need to cook them first. They will store in the freezer for at least 3 months. When you’re ready to use one, you can cook them directly from frozen in your preferred cooking fat (I usually use butter or ghee) with no need to defrost.



There’s a few other tips to make sure you have black bean patty success:

  1. When you are squeezing the vegetables to get rid of water, really squeeze them. Like REALLY squeeze them. You want to get a measurable amount of water out of your vegetables. Moisture is the enemy of black bean patties, and they will fall apart if you have too much. A strainer, especially a fine mesh one, is your friend. I don’t have any suggestions for how to extract enough water without one.
  2. If you would like to make these vegan-friendly, simply replace the egg with your favorite egg replacer. Personally, I like to use the chia seed and water method: mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 20 minutes until it becomes a gel. That’s 1 egg!
  3. This recipe is wide open for substitutions! You can substitute the corn for any similarly-sized vegetable “chunk”: frozen carrots, peas or bell peppers would all work. Same goes for the shredded zucchini: you could use shredded summer squash, carrots, or cabbage if shredded fine enough.
  4. Your finished product (before forming into patties) should be similar to ground beef. Add bread crumbs until you reach a consistency that is not too sticky and is easy to form. This will be entirely contingent on how much liquid you get out of the vegetables, but for me it’s almost always about a cup and a half.
  5. I’m not going to lie, this is a labor intensive recipe. Preparing the vegetables takes time. I used to shred everything with a box shredder back in the days before I had a food processor- it’s possible but good LORD it takes up time. If you have a food processor, this is an excellent time to whip it out.
  6. Don’t skip putting them in the fridge to rest before cooking! This will dramatically lower the chances of them falling apart.

    Black Bean Patties

    Check out the secrets to making perfect black bean burgers at home!


    • 2 cups dry black beans, cooked (approximately 4.5 15-oz cans)
    • 1 medium zucchini (about 1 3/4 cup after shredding)
    • 1 white onion (about 1 cup after shredding)
    • 1 jalapeno
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 2 tsp garlic
    • 1 egg (or equivalent vegan substitute)
    • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (approximately)
    • 1/8 cup chia seeds (optional- helps them hold together)


    1. Thoroughly drain and rinse your cooked or canned beans. Use a paper towel to  press them into the bottom of a strainer to extract the maximum amount of moisture. Place in large mixing bowl.

    2. Shred your zucchini in a food processor or on a box shredder. You will need about 1 3/4 cups for this recipe. As you did with the black beans, use a paper towel to squeeze as much moisture as possible through a strainer. Be thorough. You want to get as much moisture out as you possibly can. Place in the mixing bowl with the beans.

    3. Shred your onion in a food processor or on a box shredder. You will need about 1 cup of shredded onion for this recipe. Repeat the method above to squeeze out all the moisture you possibly can. Add to bowl of black beans.

    4. Fine dice jalapeno and add to bean mixture along with corn. Mix together thoroughly with your hands, squeezing to mash up the beans.

    5. Add salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and garlic. Continue mixing and smashing beans with your hands. Adjust to taste, bearing in mind that mixture will be over-spiced at this point (it will even out after adding egg and bread crumbs).

    6. Add egg and mix and mash together.

    7. Begin adding panko bread crumbs and optional chia seeds. Eyeball the amount until you have a consistency similar to ground beef- not too sticky, not too dry. I usually need about 1.5 cups.

    8. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes so the seeds and crumbs can absorb moisture.

    9. Form into patties and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in fridge for at least half an hour to help them hold together. Lift once or twice to keep them from sticking to the paper.

    10. At this point, you can either cook or freeze your patties. If cooking, heat your fat of choice (I like to use butter or ghee) and cook for a few minutes until browned on each side. If freezing, freeze in a single layer on parchment paper, lifting them off the paper occasionally to prevent sticking. Once completely frozen and no longer sticky you can put them in a large freezer bag.

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