A vegetarian-going-vegan's attempt at a DIY lifestyle both behind the camera and in the kitchen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vegan Grilled Black Bean Burger on a Pretzel Roll with Avocado

This recipe might take a little bit of time.  It's no ten hour stew or Thanksgiving turkey, but if you don't have a significant other to make the deliciously light but perfectly chewy pretzel rolls while you are making the black bean burgers (or vice versa), it may become slightly more time consuming.  But hey, that's what this is all about, right?  The answer is yes.  It's about not compromising your values, your taste buds, or your skills.  Anyone can create this delicious meal.  I did, and here's how:

The pretzel rolls are going to take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which involve actual cooking time. You will want to start in on them first so that while they are rising and baking you can attack the black bean burgers. Unless, like aforementioned, you've got the luxury of an additional set of hands to take on the weight of one of these tasks while you go at the other.  I do, I've got a baker for a wife.  Only in the last two years have her dormant baking abilities risen to the surface.  What a phenomenal day it is when you see your wife, who you thought would never enter the kitchen, suddenly pull a pan filled with a loaf of fresh homemade, frickin' awesome rye bread out of the oven.  Might I add, these last two may have been the best two years of my life.  

So here's what she did:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Pour water into large mixing bowl, add yeast and allow to sit for about five minutes, until bubbles form. Mix in the other ingredients until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball. Place dough in an oiled mixing bowl (pouring some oil into the one you just used worked for me!), and coat in oil. Let rise for 30-35 minutes, covered, in a warm area. After dough has risen, place on a floured surface and with floured hands, punch and knead dough for about a minute - until it is smooth and dough springs back when you poke it. Divide the dough into 6-8 balls, depending on the size you'd prefer for your rolls, and shape as desired (flatten balls for pretzel rolls). Slice a criss-cross pattern on the top of the roll (about 2 inches long). Allow rolls to rise on an oiled baking sheet for 15 minutes, while your oven preheats to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. On the stove, boil a pot of water (a small pot with about 3 cups of water will do the trick). When the water is boiling, add about 1/8-1/4 cup of baking soda and stir (it should froth and bubble). One by one, place rolls into the boiling pot for 10-20 seconds per side, flipping with a slotted spoon. After both sides have boiled, use a slotted spoon to drain the roll and replace it on the baking sheet. Repeat with all rolls, and sprinkle each with coarse salt, or other desired topping (sesame seeds, garlic, etc.). Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes, until dark golden brown with that inviting pretzel glow! Serve hot.

 This recipe is an amalgamation of Google searches and trial-and-error, making alterations until we were pleased with the final result.

And now onto my side of our surprisingly complementary culinary talents:

For the black bean burgers themselves...

  • 1 can (15oz) of black beans, drained (or a cup and a half of dried black beans that have been soaked overnight, drained)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked corn
  • 1 peeled clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of salsa (any kind will do, fresh homemade is always best)
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (not necessarily vegan! (use breadcrumbs that are vegan friendly) (see rant at end of post))
  • more breadcrumbs as needed
 Throw black beans and garlic clove into food processor.  Blend until smooth. Throw 1/4 cup of corn into processor and blend into black bean mix until smooth.  Throw all other ingredients except the extra breadcrumbs and blend just long enough that the breadcrumbs get mixed in.  This will allow the burger to have some texture as opposed to being just mush.  Throw the mix in a bowl big enough that you will be able to knead the mush. Now knead it.  As you knead it mix in more breadcrumbs, but just enough that the mix is able to be formed into balls that maintain their shape.  Too much breadcrumbs and they will just burn when the patty is grilled.  I'd love to be able to tell you the exact amount to put in for the perfect burger, but due to differences in salsas, the moisture content will be different, requiring more or less breadcrumbs.  Once they maintain their spherical shape, make six equal balls and flatten them to about .5 or .75 of an inch. (it should be about the width and height of a normal burger patty)  I then used an indoor grill, (the kind that has no open spaces for things to fall into) to cook them.  They may stick to the surface a little bit, but if you keep moving them around with a spatula, they will grill up nicely without falling apart at all.  Five minutes a side should suffice, depending on the temperature of your grill (mine has no adjustable temperature).  But feel free to grill a little longer for a crunchier outside.  

Cut the pretzel roll with a bread knife if you have one...get one if you don't, it will make your life much easier.  Throw the burger onto the roll and serve with avocado slices, tomato slices, vegan cheddar cheese, and anything else you can think of.  Red onion would be pretty delicious, as would a little bit of fresh cilantro.  Enjoy.

Be careful! I had no idea that store-bought seasoned breadcrumbs might not be vegan.  We tend to make our own breadcrumbs, but this time there was an opened box laying around that needed to be finished off.  Read the ingredients label!  If they are seasoned they may have cheese products in them, ours had parmigiana cheese.  Luckily, we are currently "going" vegan.  Our plan is to not waste anything that we already have in our house that isn't vegan friendly.  Unopened items are going to friends and family, but opened stuff will be used up by ourselves.  So, as soon as our house is totally vegan, then too shall we be.

But yeah, if you are using store bought breadcrumbs and are attempting a vegan meal, make sure to read the ingredients! It's just not something I would have thought I needed to check out.  From here on out I'll be checking everything. 




  1. Oh now Im hungry... and Im so gonna try this out...with pretzel in hand

  2. Found your blog through the etsy forums for new shop owners. :) I <3 pretzel rolls... I'll have to make these now. Noms!