Today’s recipe is a black-bean burger alternative – a savory white bean burger with bursts of flavor surprises, perfect for weeknights or burger nights (if you live with meat-eaters!)
There are some things that just do not have a vegetarian equivalent. Ground beef is one of those things – sure, one can buy Boca crumbles, or many other beef substitutes, but they are usually made up of ingredients one can’t pronounce, and have a texture that just doesn’t quite match. I’ve never really missed beef – if I didn’t go vegetarian all those years ago I would have at least eliminated beef from my diet – but I do like making veggie patties.
Non-vegetarians usually make a black bean burger for vegetarians. At most meat-centric restaurants, it is usually the sole vegetarian option. As a result, I am quite weary of black bean burgers. My interest also waned when I got food poisoning from one – I am unsure how that happened, but it probably came into contact with bad beef.
Because of this, I’ve been drawn to the white bean patty lately. Most of these are made with cumin, and I’m a little tired of that flavor in my veggie burgers too. I’ve been making loads of meals with thyme lately – and I thought, why not make a white bean burger with thyme?
Added to the patties is silver queen sweet corn – a delectable local variety here in good ol’ Northeast FL. Yellow corn works just as well!
The crucial ingredient in these patties is coriander seed. This is a true pantry essential for me. I first used these flavor-packed seeds in an Indian curry, of course, and knew they’d be a lovely complement to the thyme. When you bite into them, they bite back with a citrusy, aromatic burst of flavor.
I used my favorite white bean, the Great Northern. They have such a creamy, deep flavor, and add a denseness to the patty.
I debated whether or not to cook the veggies before putting them in the patty mixture, but it softens the sometimes tough coriander seeds, and helps the flavors blend. This step isn’t absolutely crucial, as I’ve made patties with raw veggies and they cook enough, if not thoroughly.
I’m not sure from which food blogger I learned the ice cream scoop trick from, but it is so much easier to make veggie burgers with the aid of this tool. If the mixture is dense enough, all you have to do is scoop and press! Loose mixtures may need to be formed into patties before cooking.
This veggie burger is layered with flavor, and a great alternative to the tired black bean burger! (Cooking prowess: I made the fries from scratch too! Go me! Not pictured: homemade pickles I added to my toppings.) Enjoy!
White Bean Veggie Burger with Coriander and Thyme
- 1 cup dried Great Northern beans, cooked, or 2 cans.
- Note: I pressure cook my beans, and add a bit of garlic and a bay leaf for extra flavor. I cannot recommend this method enough. My pressure cooker changed my life!
- 1 TB chopped fresh thyme (chopping releases the flavor and aroma. MMM)
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- zest of one meyer lemon (optional – I had it already from another meal, but it adds more citrus flavor to pair with the coriander seeds)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 tsp coriander seeds (do not substitute ground coriander)
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1 small egg
- olive oil, for sauteeing and frying (see method for quantities)
- Cook beans, if applicable, and chop/gather all ingredients.
- Remove 1/2 cup of beans and set aside; mash remaining in large bowl.
- Stir in breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and set aside. If you are having trouble incorporating ingredients, add a small dash of water or olive oil.
- In a non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 TB olive oil and coriander seeds over medium, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes to toast and soften the seeds. When it starts to shimmer, carefully add onions and peppers, and cook until soft. When softened, add garlic and cook for a minute or two more.
- Once the pepper and onion mixture is nearly cooked, crack the egg into the bean mixture and stir with fork to incorporate. Then stir in the whole beans (I did this last to prevent these from mashing). Once incorporated, add in pepper and onion mixture. You may not need to add the entirety of the mixture – add in enough as fits your preference.
- You may use the same skillet – no need to clean – and heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium. When it starts to shimmer, scoop in patties with a large ice cream scoop or add in already formed patties. Cook until golden brown on one side and flip (time always varies for me, depending on how hot the skillet is. My second batch always cooks faster). You may need to add more oil, if the patties are not sizzling. I added 1/2 TB for each turn, and angled the skillet to spread to the other patties.
- When patties are cooked to desired doneness, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with your favorite burger toppings on a toasted bun.