Hurry Up Vegan, Exam Edition: Black Bean and Corn Burgers

by Gena on August 11, 2011

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Thank you all for welcoming Dr. Seale to CR with such enthusiasm! I loved the curious responses to yesterday’s post on Vitamin B-12. I can’t wait to see what other conversations Dr. Seale and I can get started. Keep sending me ideas, if you like, about health questions (I already sense that a Vit D post is in order).

Wondering how this morning’s exam went? I came home and baked myself a consolation cake. I think that says it all. Since I don’t want to talk about it, let’s talk instead about the hurry up vegan meal I made on Monday night, T-3 nights before the big test. You would think I had no time to cook, given the 439230 equations I was supposed to memorize, and you’d be right. But this meal, which came together almost instantly, barely constituted cooking.

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This dinner was easy for a few reasons. First, I made a few things beforehand, and I also used my pantry. The night before, I stuck some brown rice in my rice cooker and let ‘er rip. The cooked rice was put in the fridge overnight. I had canned black beans, canned coconut milk, and a carton of almond milk, which ultimately went into the soup, as well as a ton of fresh corn, which went into both the burgers and the soup. In wintertime, having a giant bag of frozen corn, or even some organic cans, would work just as well for the whole meal.

On the menu:

  1. Quick coconut corn bisque
  2. Black bean and corn burgers
  3. Fresh garden salad with smoky red pepper mesquite dressing

The salad was self explanatory: just a big bowl of greens, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, cucumber, and my new red pepper dressing, which I love. The soup is so good it deserves a post of its own, and I’ve decided to put that up in a few days. For now, all you need to know is that it takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and that it’s one of the best vegan soups you’ll ever make. No joke.

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And here are the burgers, which are the latest in my eternal quest to make the perfect veggie burger. I’ve had some successes in this department, like my ridiculously healthy black bean, yam, and millet burgers:


My foolproof tofu burgers:


My chickpea sweet potato burgers:


Or my ginger lime edamame sweet potato burgers:


Or, in the raw department, my spinach burgers:


All personal favorites, except that they’re usually preceded by some struggle! I have a really hard time getting the texture and flavor of veggie burgers right. Typically my MO is to add too little binding agent (oats, potato, grain, whatever), then too much, so I end up with a gummy burger and the spices get cut in half. The following black bean burgers took some adjusting (and I tweaked what I did vs. what I’m posting a little), but the final result was great, and the leftovers even better.

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Black Bean and Corn Burgers (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 4-6 burgers

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels
1 can BPA-free black beans, drained
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup oat flour (or ground, rolled oats)
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tsps cumin powder
1 heaping tsp paprika
1 heaping tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt (use less if your canned beans are presalted, or you’re sensitive to salt)
Black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

1) Sautee onion and corn in water or coconut oil spray for ten minutes, until golden, soft, and fragrant.

2) Add beans and tomato sauce. Stir in the sautee pan till all is warm.

3) Dump rice into the bowl of a food processor. Add the beans, onion, tomato paste, and corn. Pulse quickly. Add spices, oat flour, and a touch of water, if you need it. Pulse more, until you have a thick and sticky but still textured mass. If it’s too wet, add a tbsp or two of additional oat flour.

4) Shape into 4-6 patties. Pan fry (I always use coconut oil spray) till nice and browned. Serve with fresh guac, if desired!

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What a stupendous meal these turned into! Along with the soup and salad, a perfect dinner.

And right now is a perfect bedtime for this very tired lady. Night! Before you sign off, remember that tonight is your last night to enter trail mix from Navitas and Julie Morris’ wonderful book, Superfood Cuisine. Enter here: winner announced tomorrow!


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie August 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Have you tried using mushrooms with your burgers? I have a recipe for black bean – portobello burgers that are one of my favorites. There are egg whites in it, but I’m sure a flax egg would work.

225 grams black beans, undrained and chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
75 grams green chilies, 1 small can
14 grams flour, 2 T
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ cup egg whites
85 grams mushrooms, one large portobello
1. Puree beans until slightly mashed. Add chilies.
2. Mix beans with mushrooms, spices, and bread crumbs.
3. Form into 6 patties. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Flip once.


Gena August 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Fabulous! I do actually find that egg whites can make or break a burger, and in all my vegan years I’ve not quite successfully replicated them. But I bet you’re right, and flax would work. I’ll keep you posted.


Gwen August 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I’ve been looking for a good black bean veggie burger recipe, so I will def be trying this. My biggest struggle with veggie burger has been getting them to stay together. Do you think these will hold up on the grill? Thanks for posting!


Eat Hike Sleep Repeat August 12, 2011 at 12:06 am

Don’t think I’m not grateful for the burger recipe, but what really caught my attention was the bisque. Share? Please?

Don’t worry about your exam. Once you are a doctor, no one is ever going to ask you to recite of those equations :)


Hannah August 12, 2011 at 1:46 am

You naughty naughty tease! My heart leapt at the corn bisque comment, and now I have to wait? Patience be damned! ;)


Jen August 12, 2011 at 3:11 am

They look awesome. And I think I have all the ingredients in at the moment – I love finding recipes where you don’t have to do any shopping in order to make them!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 12, 2011 at 6:13 am

The burgers look wonderful, Gena. I love the chunky, hearty texture of the corn pieces and the beans, too. Nice!

The red pepper dressing and that soup…nice! Can’t wait to hear about that. It’s just about soup weather around here. Sounds perfect.

And I am loving the different look and vibe your new pad is giving your food photography backgrounds. Nice change up and pretty pics :)


VeggieGirl August 12, 2011 at 6:27 am

No worries, dear Gena – you’ll rock out the next exam!


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles August 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

Looks like pretty solid brain food!!


Sam (Quantum Vegan) August 12, 2011 at 7:01 am

I looooove black beans and corn in burgers! Also rice. So clearly I’m going to have to try this recipe next time I get a craving for veggie burgers! :)


Ricki August 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

I’ve been on a burger quest lately, too! For some reason, I’ve made 3 black bean-based burgers (try saying THAT fast 3 times) in the last few weeks. Now I have these to try as well. They look fantastic!


Ali (urbanfruitbat) August 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Aww, girl, I bet the exam went better than you think it did. I always think I did worse than I did in reality. I sent my mom the link to these burgers! She is gunna love em!


Karen August 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Ah yes, getting vegan burgers to adhere is tricky! I too have my standby ingredients waiting in the wings during assembly!

Re. future topics of discussion, perhaps it would be useful to many in this community if you were to cover Bone Health for Vegans (with special considerations for those with ED histories.) This topic might be too complex for one post, but it might warrant a mini series – each focusing on various components such as the supporting roles of Calcium and Vitamin D; prevention and risk factors for osteopeonia/osteoporosis; diagnosis of low bone density; risks associated with “bone restoration” drugs (Fosomax, Boniva, etc.)

Happy weekend, Gena!


Hannah @ theflexitarianeater August 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I would definitely be VERY interested in hearing about this, as well


Gena August 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I’ll make it happen!


Hannah @ theflexitarianeater August 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

thanks so much!


Christine (The Raw Project) August 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

These burgers look wonderful, thanks! So true on getting vegan burgers to hold together, I’ve ended up with vegan crumbles many times. :-)


elise August 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

im so sad your visit to nyc doesnt overlap with mine. and im pretty jealous youre going to vida vegan con. but now for my reason for commenting…
do you always pan fry your burgers or have you ever tried them on the bbq? i figured your nyc apt wasnt exactly outdoor grill friendly but perhaps youve brought them to an outdoor party or some other venue? just wondering bc im trying to get a home-made burger from falling apart on me when it makes its way to the grill.
ps hang in there with the pre-reqs. they blow and everyone feels that way. soon enough they will be distant memories (or recurring nightmares, who’s to say). my dad says he still wakes up in the middle of the night occasionally in panic about missing or failing o chem. and hes been a physician for decades. just thought you could use some words of encouragement. hugs friend!


Bex August 27, 2011 at 8:26 am

Actually purchased the WORST vegan burger yesterday for lunch and resolved to make a much better version myself. Then I remembered this post and have returned for inspiration. Thanks for all the great ideas :)


Lindsay September 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

LOVE all the corn you’re using here! Just got back from the farmer’s market and there was corn EVERYWHERE! I really want to try those corn & black bean burgers.


-donna September 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

No more ‘fake’ veggie burgers am I going to be caught buying @ the grocery store after making this recipe! Even the ‘so called’ healthy veggie burgers don’t hold a candle to these right here. Anyone wanting to serve veggie burgers for a meal… do yourself a favor and make these Black Bean and Corn Burgers! Gena did it again and got the ingredients and spices just right. I’m beginning to think Gena and I have taste buds that like similar flavors ’cause her recipes nail it for me every time!!! They’re always so yummy and satisfying! Thanks, Gena!
We’re fans of yours! :)


Robin August 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

Is the 1 cup measurement for the brown rice before it is cooked?


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