A few months ago I did something I never thought possible, something a little crazy, a tad unusual, and something that made J’s dad, a cattle farmer, scratch his head in bewilderment. I became a vegetarian. It started over dinner at a Mexican restaurant near my apartment while eating with a good friend. She introduced me to a website of a family living and eating vegan. That means no meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs – basically anything that comes from animals, not just the animals themselves.
I knew going vegan was not for me, since yogurt, milk, and butter play a huge role in my kitchen. But it did get me thinking about vegetarianism, not because I believe there is something ethically wrong with eating meat, but more because I was inspired by the idea of eating more. Eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, the things most often tossed aside in the traditional American diet.
Sharing this on Espresso and Cream was something I’ve been avoiding for months now because I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. I don’t think everyone needs to be a vegetarian; I’m not even sure how long vegetarianism will be a part of my own life. What I can say, however, is that I’ve learned a lot about how important it is to eat plenty of fruits and veggies and how hard that can be.
The question I am most frequently asked now when people find out I’ve been living vegetarian is, “How do you get enough protein?” Well there are plenty of ways, but one of the most delicious ways is a good old fashioned burger. Well, a Black Bean Veggie Burger to be exact. I’ve tried quite a few commercial veggie burgers. They aren’t all that bad, some are even pretty good, but they all just taste a bit too manufactured after you’ve had a homemade patty like this. And isn’t that the case with all homemade things? They just taste so much better.
Because veggie burgers are a bit more delicate than the meat variety they don’t hold up as well to grilling. If you do want to toss them on a grill, go ahead and bake them as instructed for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to grill. Then, toss them on a well-oiled grill for 10 minutes, flipping once half way through cooking.
Black Bean Veggie Burgers
*1/2 cup shredded carrots
*1 medium bell pepper of any color, seeded and quartered
*1/2 to 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and halved
*1/2 tsp. ground cumin
*1/2 tsp. ground coriander
*1/4 tsp. paprika
*1 tsp. kosher salt
*1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
*1 clove garlic, peeled
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1/2 cup rolled oats
*2 Cans Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
*Preheat oven to 300*F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor, place all the ingredients except the black beans. Pulse for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the ingredients are finely chopped but still have a some texture.
*Add in 3/4 of the black beans (note: not 3/4 cup, 3/4 of all the beans) and continue to pulse with the food processor for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the beans start to break down and ingredients begin to hold together.
*Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining black beans by hand. Form mixture into six patties and place on baking sheet.
*Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until edges become crisp and patties start to hold together. Allow patties to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before placing on bun. Or refrigerate until ready to use, then reheat in the oven or microwave.