The next installment in our Vegan on a Budget series is this Black Bean Burger with a Chili Peanut Sauce which comes in at just $1.83 per person! The burger is made from black beans, brown rice and onion coarsely pureed. Seasoned simply with salt, pepper and optional…red pepper flakes. Depending on the moisture content of your rice, you may need a binder and in this case, we’ll be using a flax “egg”. Flax meal is mixed with water, allowed to sit for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator and whisked until it forms a gelatinous mixture. If you are using freshly made rice (not refrigerated), you may not need much, or any, of the flax egg.
This burger can be enjoyed ‘as is’ with ketchup or if you like things a little bit spicier, you can try this peanut butter based chili sauce. More on that in a bit…
I’ve included all of the sauces in the budget, but in a later post, I’ll be including many of them in the “Building a Vegan Pantry”. Also of note, some of the purchases for this recipe can be used in future dishes. For instance, the burger rolls traditionally come eight to a pack. This recipe will use two of those rolls. Freeze the rest for later use.
Also suitable for freezing? That fresh ginger root. The flax seeds should be purchased as whole golden flax seeds and ground in small amounts. Refrigerate the bag once opened to extend its life. Flax is used as a binder. When mixed at a 1:3 Tbl ratio with water, you get the equivalent of what one egg would bring to a recipe. While it doesn’t translate perfectly for every recipe, it works great for savory items such as this burger. That being said, you may not need all of this mixture to bind the burger.
We’ll have you purchasing a bottle of sweet chili sauce for this recipe. Want to add fries? Just purchase one sweet potato, cut into slices and brush with oil, salt & pepper prior to baking. Then brush with the chili oil after baking. Not only healthy, but delicious. And economical. Average sweet potatoes cost around $1.69 per pound.
The peanuts can be used for other dishes…or just for snacking. The remainder of the lettuce can be enjoyed as a salad the following day. You’ll also have leftover peanut butter which is great on a bagel or as a dip for veggies. The point is to plan your meals ahead and allow for use of any leftover ingredients to avoid waste.
So lets get started with the burger itself. In the bowl of a food processor, add the black beans, sauteed onions, garlic, cooked brown rice, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes. Also add fresh parsley and grated ginger. Included in the cost analysis, we added peanuts to both the burger and for garnish. These are completely optional.
The important thing to note here is that you only want to pulse a few times so we don’t break up the ingredients too much. You can even just mash with a fork. I like to process first before deciding whether or not I actually need the flax egg. In my case, I needed about a teaspoon of the mixture.
To get the perfect shape, I divided the mixture into two equal portions. I then used a biscuit cutter and firmly pressed the mixture until it formed an even patty. Just a small amount of oil in the pan and a few minutes per side are all you need. The ingredients are fully cooked, so we just want to brown each side and firm up the burger. Keep in mind this is a veggie burger, so it will be firm on the outside and softer on the interior. Try to flip only once to maintain the integrity of the burger.
The sauce is simple. Stir together creamy peanut butter, sweet chili sauce (to taste) and sesame oil. We also added minced garlic. It will be thick, but the heat of the burger will loosen it up.
Serve with butter or Boston lettuce on a hard roll. Garnish with anything you have on hand. I had cherry tomatoes and pickles. I also used the reserved peanuts to garnish the plate.
As the recipe is written, this burger (bun included) contains 457 calories and nearly 20 grams of protein per serving. The recipe makes two burgers but can easily be doubled.