I really like making my own burgers at home for a fun family dinner. That may seem slightly ironic for a health-food blogger but these Mushroom and Black Bean Burgers are in stark contrast to the archetypal heart-attack inducing American-style mega burger.
A single burger patty without the bread bun is the perfect shape and consistency for Baby Led Weaning, even for BLW newbies just starting out on their weaning journey, and so I praise these meat-free burgers for being both super healthy, fun and enjoyable for every member of the family.
For a while now I have been in pursuit of a vegan burger recipe that isn’t sloppy or likely to crumble, but is just right, and I think I’ve found the answer! I read a tip on the “Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting” facebook group about adding Bulgar wheat to burgers to improve the consistency and WOW were they right. I have no idea who posted that nugget of wisdom but it was pure genius. The bulgur wheat really “beefs” up the burgers, if you pardon the expression…
Ok so before you call me out on not being vegan…Yes I subscribe to several Vegan groups and yes when I use these groups I do feel like an imposter, lurking in the shadows, feeding off the ingenuity and inspiration of vegan parents without daring to say too much in case they realise I do eat and use animal products and block me from gracing their group with my presence (sigh). But these groups are a great way to find tips on plant-based cooking and baking and I find them so super useful even though they also fuel my guilt and doubt for my diet and lifestyle choices.
If you read my recent blog post you’ll get a feel for this ongoing inner monologue I have where conflicting parts of my psyche argue among themselves about whether it would be best for us to follow a vegan/vegetarian/WFPB diet or continue at the point we are at now where we eat a mostly plant-based diet with minimal amount of processed food.
But recently I read an article in the Guardian about the The Reducetarian Movement, a group committed simply to eating less meat, and that’s helped quieten the inner debate I have going with myself for now. I am trying to feel positive about the extent to how much meat and dairy we have cut out of our diet without beating myself up each time I make scrambled eggs for breakfast or order a steak sandwich for lunch at a restaurant.
Anyway… whether you are vegetarian or vegan or an omni just looking to switch things up with a meat-free alternative I hope you enjoy these burgers.
EDIT: When I had unexpectedly run out of Bulgar wheat I used quinoa in place of Bulgar wheat in the recipe (same amount) and it worked out really well. The consistency was just as good and the taste was practically the same.
Ingredients (makes 6 large burgers):
(Note: I use dried porcini mushrooms along with fresh closed cup mushrooms to give extra flavour to the burgers. If you have ready access to full flavoured fresh mushrooms feel free to omit the dried mushrooms.)
- ½ cup bulgur wheat
- ¾ cup dried organic black turtle beans
- 40g dried porcini mushroom pieces
- 250g fresh mushrooms
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 large clove garlic
- Put the beans in a pan of water and bring to the boil for ten minutes then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for another 30 min.
- Whilst the beans are simmering you can prepare the mushrooms, the flaxseeds and the bulgar wheat.
- Put the dried porcini mushroom pieces (finely chopped) in a bowl and pour in just enough hot water to cover the mushrooms and leave for 20 min to rehydrate then drain.
- Put 2 cups of boiling water into a small pan, add the bulgar wheat and gently simmer for 15 min.
- Make’ fleggs’ with the flaxseed: In a small bowl add 6 tbsp water to the ground flax seeds. Mix well and leave to cool. The mixture will become thick and gloopy as it cools.
- Finely chop the fresh mushrooms and add to a frying pan with 1 tbsp oil, grate the garlic clove into the pan and cook for 10 min on a low heat.
- When the beans are cooked – mash them with a fork/ potato masher by hand or place in a food processor (I give mine a quick blast in my beloved NUTRiBULLET)
- In a large bowl mix together the mushed up beans, bulgur wheat, mushrooms (both dried and fresh).
- Add the ‘fleggs’ and 2 tbsps flour and mix well.
- The ‘burger meat’ should now be a good consistency to shape into patties. You are aiming for sticky but firm enough to keep it’s shape (not too wet or too dry).
- Shape into 6 burgers on a greased/ (<< important) baking tray – I actually find large Yorkshire pudding tins perfect for this (see photos)
- Now is a good time to wrap the burgers in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to cook another time… or brush with a little oil and pop straight into the oven for 20 min on 180ºC to cook through.
- Enjoy the burgers by themselves or in a bun with your favourite burger toppings 🙂