Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce | A Sweet Spoonful

Come July you can (too) often find me at the nursery stocking up on plants, cursing myself for not getting out into the yard sooner. Last year I texted my mom a photo of all the annuals I bought in late July and she gently reminded me they’d probably die in six weeks. This year, I was determined to get started before our July 4th barbecue and, true to form, managed to wait until the last minute. But here we are — with new annuals and a whole evergreen shade-loving situation under our rhododendron tree. Even chives and parsley. Oliver’s obsessed with watering the plants, but does so with such gusto (and crushing force) that Sam and I usually take turns after he goes to bed in the evening — preferably, if things are really going our way, with a cold beer and black bean burger in hand. Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce | A Sweet Spoonful I drove by our hardware store on the way to work this morning and the sign out front said something about enjoying the halcyon days of summer. And I thought to myself, we are in them, aren’t we? A funny thing can happen when you live in Seattle: many believe the unofficial start of summer is July 5 as June can be pretty cloudy and even quite cool. So you hold your breath and wait until the days are clear and even hot and for some reason even then it takes a sign outside the local hardware store to remind you that yes, here we are. Those halcyon days are now.

In years past, we’d flown to my mom’s Adirondack cabin for the 4th of July, but with my youngest sister getting married in September, we decided to hold off and take a longer trip in early fall instead. On our own for the 4th it was, so out came the index cards and late night cookbook-hunting: these two ex-vegetarians were going to host their first July 4th barbecue, complete with toddlers yielding watering cans, aging annuals, and friends near and far. I made Samin’s tomato panzanella salad and a grilled corn salad, Greek potato salad and watermelon acqu fresca from The Modern Potluck. Sam made homemade barbecue sauce and marinade and we had grilled spicy sausages, chicken and herbed skirt steak. There were fresh cherries and watermelon, cocktails and cold rosé, and large slices of coconut cream pie around the fire pit later that night. Also, I didn’t take a single food photo or document the table, the music, the beautiful lights overhead or the over-too-soon fire at our feet. Or anything, for that matter.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce | A Sweet Spoonful The inspiration tank is low when it comes to social media lately and the result seems to be much less documentation of our meals or routines at home. I’m not sure how much of that is just the natural course of things with an active toddler hanging off of me at all hours of the day or perhaps more of a change of the tide, so to speak, but I really hope to find some light and excitement in that again and get back to a place where it feels natural and purposeful to share a bit more about the unfolding of our days. That being said, the unexpected result of this quieter season is a true settling into these halcyon days of summer, as our poetically inclined Ace Hardware reminds us. With fewer thoughts of staging a meal so it looks pretty for Instagram or getting out the camera at a restaurant with friends, the days feel less fragmented and planned — they’re unfolding as they should, without niggling thoughts about getting the right shot or what the appropriate hashtag should be. Like all of us I’m sure, I feel like summer is whizzing by, but at the same time I feel very firmly and deeply seated in it. There’s nowhere else to be, no other story to try to tell and the days are oh so long.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce | A Sweet Spoonful As for cooking, I always feel like I get a little of my mojo back in the summer: it’s just so easy with all of the beautiful, vibrant tomatoes and sweet summer corn. And while I loved our barbecue over the fourth, we were ready to have a few lighter meals this past week so I mixed up these smoky black bean burgers with a super creamy, herby Green Goddess sauce. They’re easy to pull together and feed a crowd, and while they don’t hold up terribly well on the grill we always eat them outside either on the front stoop, people watching, or in the backyard marveling how very very light it is at 9:30 pm.

 

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce

  • Yield: Makes 5-6 Large Burgers
  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Cook time: 15 mins
  • Inactive time: 2 hrs
  • Total time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Thanks to sweet potato, quinoa and black beans, these smoky vegetarian burgers are packed with nutrition and come together quickly. Like many homemade veggie burgers, they don’t behave famously on the grill, so I pan fry them and handle them gently; they’re supposed to be soft in texture. In terms of logistics, the burgers must chill for at least two hours, so plan for that when mapping out your day. You’ll have leftovers of this creamy, super herby Green Goddess sauce and we use it as a veggie dip, sandwich spread, or dressing for pasta salads.

Ingredients

Green Goddess Sauce (Makes about 1 cup):

1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (15g) roughly chopped basil
1/2 cup (12g) roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup (10g) roughly chopped chives
3 tablespoons (15g) diced green onions
pinch kosher salt, plus more to season

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to form patties
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
2/3 cup (135g) mashed cooked sweet potatoes (from 1 large roasted sweet potato)
1/2 cup (20g) lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoons chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cup (180g) cooked quinoa (or brown rice or farro)
5 tablespoons whole wheat flour

To Serve:

4-6 toasted whole wheat buns
lettuce leaves, optional
2 avocados, pitted and sliced

Instructions

Make the Green Goddess Dressing: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy, about 45 seconds. Taste and add additional pinch (or two) of salt, if you’d like.

Make the Black Bean Burgers: In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering and add the onion. Sauté until fragrant and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes to avoid sticking.

Reduce the heat and add the garlic. Stir well and cook for another 1 minute.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the onion mixture along with the beans, sweet potatoes, cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, salt, paprika, chile powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Pulse to form a thick, chunky puree. Spoon mixture out into a large bowl, fold in the quinoa and flour, and stir to combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate mixture for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days

When you’re ready to cook the burgers, lightly oil your hands and divide the mixture into equal portions. Shape each into patties about 1-inch thick.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat and set patties into skillet (you’ll likely only be able to cook 3-4 at a time, depending on size of your skillet). Cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Add a little more oil to the pan if the burgers begin to stick. Serve with lettuce, avocado and Green Goddess Sauce.

Planning Ahead: Cooked or un-cooked, the burgers will keep well for up to 3 days covered in the refrigerator, or you can freeze the un-cooked burgers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Cooked burgers can be done in advance and reheated in a 325 F oven for 10 minutes.

Comments

  1. Miranda

    This recipe found its way to my inbox as I was trying to decide what to cook last weekend. I happened to have one sweet potato in the fridge and one can of black beans on the shelf. I'm a used to be vegetarian, and still really like cooking like that so this recipe was great. I loved the flavours of the burgers. They were a little soft the first night when I pan fried them but I actually found they firmed up and were better as leftovers for the next few days. Funny enough they were also a huge hit with my dog! Thanks for the cooking guidance!

    1. megang

      Yay! Glad to hear they were a hit all around, Miranda!

  2. Eshika Roy

    I literally started having hunger pangs halfway through the post. It looks amazing and I bet it also tastes delicious too. It is the perfect dish to cook up in this season. I can’t wait to try it . Looking forward to reading more delectable recipes in the upcoming posts.

    1. megang

      Thank you, Eshika!

  3. claire

    Thanks, great recipe as two of my kids are vegetarian, just had a leftover for lunch - (no way I'm giving any to our dog!) just popped some of your thumbprint biscuits in the oven for afternoon tea for the kids and am making your eggplant pasta for dinner as requested by my daughter. Love your recipes. We are all the way over in Australia and I don't know how I discovered your blog but enjoy trying your recipes.

    1. megang

      Aww, thanks so much, Claire. So glad to hear you're enjoying the site. We hope to make it to Australia one of these days!

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