[Have you been over to yesterday’s post to enter the giveaway yet? Heather is giving away a full series of her online cooking classes–that’s 24 classes!! Plus bonus materials galore. Go ahead and enter–but then come back here for this fantastic recipe!]
[These burgers were so good, I actually tried to learn PicMonkey for them! What do y’all think–too basic? Yea or Nay to the superimposed caption?]
Although Toronto is renowned as a multicultural city, one of the few culinary chasms is Mexican food. Oh, sure, there are Mexican restaurants here and there, but they are far outnumbered by Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Malaysian, Thai, Hungarian, Ethiopian, Fusion, and about 47 other cuisines I can’t think of at the moment. Then again, since Toronto is pretty much across the continent (about 3700 kilometers or 2300 miles) from Mexico, the scarcity makes some sense.
When The HH and I were first dating, we seemed to land at one particular Mexican place called Hernando’s Hideaway fairly often. Dim, cavernous, and located below street level, it’s one of those “great place to meet a paramour” dive-cum-bars that’s frequented by univesity students, coworkers on Thursday evening, out-of-towners, and. . . .the HH and me. It was the type of establishment where the quality of the food is often masked by the poor visibility, like a stop sign that suddenly seems to jump out at you if you drive in a snowstorm.
The HH and I, however, loved it there. We’d sit in a just-wiped vinyl booth beside the dark, unreflective walnut paneled walls, gazing at each other with newfound infatuation as we shared fully loaded nachos with guacamole, refried beans smothered in cheese, burritos, carafes of intensely dark red wine (ah! I remember the days of wine. . . ), and whatever else struck our fancy. Despite the dim surroundings (perhaps it was the starry look in our eyes that illuminated the tabletop), we’d savor every mouthful. Of course, none of it was authentic–bordering on fast-food, in fact–and we’d likely turn our noses up at the fare today. But back then, it served to ignite a love of Tex Mex cuisine (and got our own romance moving along in the process).
[My burger, with dijon, sauerkraut, sprouts and sriracha on a gluten-free bun.]
I don’t usually post Mexican dishes precisely because I have so little experience in that area, but these burgers are a bit of a fusion dish that evoked a pleasing taste of the southwest right here in my wintery Toronto kitchen. This is one of three burgers that Heather offers in her cooking classes (a full series of which I am giving away here!). These burgers were incredibly easy and quick to prepare, and I loved that they were baked rather than fried (though Heather does offer instructions for pan-frying, too).
The hardest part was waiting for them to cook, as the aroma of browning onion and chili wafted through the kitchen. Once done, they provided a perfect sandwich filling with a crispy exterior and moist, robust inside. Not overly spicy, they were nonetheless incredibly flavorful. I enjoyed mine in a gluten free bun from Aidan’s; the HH used a wholegrain bun and added a sprinkling of cheese over his sauerkraut and sprouts.
As we munched away happily, the conversation went something like this:
Ricki: How do you like it?
HH: Oh these are pretty good [chew chew]. Actually, these are really tasty [chomp, chomp]. You know, these are delicious! I really like these [masticate, masticate]. You should make these again! [Gets up to serve himself another–bun, cheese, sprouts and all.]
Well, whenever I hear the triumvirate of “good, tasty, delicious” from the otherwise reticent HH, I know I’ve got a winner on my hands!
Whether or not you’ve liked Tex Mex food in the past, I hope you give these burgers a try. They’re a perfect quick dinner that may just ignite a little spark of North American-Mexican fusion love in you, too.
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
reprinted with permission from Healthy Eating Starts Here
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (14 oz can, or 1/2 cup dried beans fully cooked)
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 green onions, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp nut/seed butter (almond, sunflower, tahini, etc)
1-2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt or Herbamere, to taste
The beans must be fully cooked before you begin. Soak them overnight (8 hours) in lots of water, then drain and rinse. Add enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and gently boil them with NO salt. You can add a bit of kombu (seaweed) to the cooking water while they boil for improved digestibility. Black beans will take about 1-2 hours to cook. If you’re using canned beans, just drain and rinse them. If you can find a can that doesn’t use salt, that’s ideal. The burgers will have better texture if you let the beans dry out a bit in a strainer.
You can either pulse the vegetables and parsley in a food processor, then add the beans to lightly pulse, or mash the beans and stir in the grated/chopped veggies if you don’t have a food processor. A blender won’t work because it needs liquid to puree.
Stir in the nut/seed butter and spices (or pulse in the food processor) to combine, then the rolled oats. You may want to add more nut/seed butter for stickiness or rolled oats for texture and dryness. Taste for seasoning, and add salt to bring the flavors together.
Form the mix into burger shapes. Lay them on a baking sheet (ideally lined with parchment paper so they don’t stick), and bake for 30-40 minutes at 300-350 degrees F.
You can also fry the burgers to cook them more quickly. Add a bit of oil to the pan and cook about 10 minutes on the first side. Flip, and cook another 5-7 minutes.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan.
[Note: I am an affiliate for these cooking classes. If you purchase the classes by clicking through a link on this blog, I will receive a small commission, which will go back into maintaining this site.]
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Three Years Ago: Warm Butternut Salad with Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing (gluten free; ACD All Stages)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs