In Season: The Magical Fruit

Posted at 4:14 AM Oct 15, 2009

By Kathleen Willcox

Beans, beans!

I adore beans of every shape, hue and texture - not only for their heart-strengthening and feel-good gastric powers, but for their ability to fill up my tank without making a dent in my bank.

The mighty, protein- and fiber-packed, recession-proof warrior is great in simple soups, salads, dips, tossed with rice and pretty much anything, even in brownies - yes, brownies.

And they're fab as a base for a clean-out-yer-fridge veggie burger. I always use dried beans because a) they're cheaper, b) they're not sitting in a tin can for god-knows-how-long, c) they're not packed with sodium and d) it requires as much effort to soak them in water overnight and then quickly boil them until tender as it does to hunt down my can opener and crank open a can. That said, this recipe can be made with canned or dried beans.

Recipe: Clean-Out-Yer-Fridge Magical Fruit Burgers
Makes 14-18 burgers, depending on how big you like em

1 16 oz. bag of black beans (soak in cold water following directions on package) or 2 16 oz. cans of black beans (NB: dried beans plump up and double in size after soaking)
2 C fresh veggies (see recipe notes)
Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly 2 TBSP peanut oil
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 inch minced ginger (optional)
1 egg
½ C panko or freshly ground bread crumbs (just grind up a slice of bread in a food processor)
2 TBSP spices (see recipe notes)

Notes: Use whatever vegetables you have lying around, but make sure at least half an onion gets thrown in the mix. Some of my favorite vegetables for MFB's are finely diced carrots, white cabbage, celery, any variety of pepper and corn kernels. As far as spices go, my favorite mix is roughly ½ TBSP turmeric powder, ½ TBSP cayenne pepper, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp paprika, with generous dashes of cinnamon, red pepper flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, dried parsley, thyme and pepper. But that's just me.


  • Prepare dried beans according to directions on package or rinse and drain canned beans and put in large pot, reserving half in a colander.
  • Heat medium-sized heavy-duty pan over high heat, add oil ½ TBSP or so oil. When hot, add onions, salt. Turn heat down to medium and cook quickly, lightly browning the onions and tossing them frequently, about 3 minutes. Add other vegetables, garlic and ginger, if using, cooking until caramelized, and adding more oil as needed.
  • Set vegetables aside to cool.
  • When vegetables are room temp, puree the vegetables and half of the beans in a food processor or blender with egg. Return to large pot.
  • Add spice mix, the rest of the beans and panko and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until well-blended.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray sheet pan with Pam.
  • Form MFB's with your hands into hockey-puck sized little burgers.
  • Heat your largest pan on high with ½ TBSP or so of peanut oil. When hot, reduce to medium and add four to six burgers to pan, however many will comfortably fit without overcrowding.
  • Fry up the burgers in batches until slightly brown, flipping after about 2 minutes. When browned on both sides, carefully transfer to sheet pan with spatula (they can be delicate).
  • When all of the burgers are cooked and on the pan, pop em in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy!

More notes: I usually throw at least half in the freezer and eat them over a month or so. If they are cooked, the burgers will keep in the fridge for about a week. I like eating them on baguettes with melted gruyere (I just nuke them in the microwave for 45 seconds or so) and horseradish mustard; on toasted whole grain bread with melted cheddar, sprouts and salsa; tossed with brown rice, salsa and feta or straight-up.


Wishing4One said:

ooh how we love us some beans here in Cairo. foll medames, the ever lovin' falafel, you name it we comsume mo' beans that you can imagine. i love all beans actually and fix them fresh from dry, they taste best that way. i have the best falafel recipe from fresh soaked cracked fava beans, fresh cilantro, leeks, all fresh ingredients! want it let me know!

comicshopgrl said:

Sounds good! Instead of panko, I use oatmeal and some crushed Fiber One cereal. Plenty of garlic powder too.

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