Finallllyyyy a black bean burger that doesn't fall apart, has a nice chew to it and doesn't all squish out from the inside when you take a bite! Do you all know what I'm talking about?? I can't stand it when I bite into a bean burger and the whole thing turns to mush in my hands and squeezes out from the buns...ewww.
Well, my lovely readers, these bean burgers not only hold together, they are so flippin healthy, they are basically fat-free. In fact, the fat gram is like a tiny fraction of 1 g fat that it deserved the fat-free title. Did I mention they taste incredible too?? Great salsa flavor with a bit of a kick, but totally kid-friendly. These baked, fat-free Mexican black bean burgers took me a few trials, but once I finally nailed it, my husband was beyond thrilled and has asked that I make them weekly, which I've been doing. These are perfect for kiddos too since they are so healthy, nut-free, gluten-free and oil-free black bean burgers.
Do you know what is even cooler about these burgers? They make a great crumbled taco "meat" too! I crumble up the burgers and serve them in tortilla wraps with lots of salsa inside and it's a salsa partay in my mouth.
These are awesome because of 2 special ingredients you wouldn't typically expect in a bean burger recipe....cornmeal and red potatoes. There is NO standard flour, breadcrumbs or oats in these babies. There isn't even your usual flax for binding. These are the 2 magic ingredients that help bind the burgers, keep the inside moist and give them a nice chew. The potatoes cook and form a nice thin crust on the outside.
The cornmeal idea is based on my super popular Barbecue Lentil Loaf recipe, where for the first time, instead of using oats or regular flour like most other recipes out there, I used cornmeal instead. This gave the lentil loaf amazing firm, "meaty" texture and made them hold together so well. With such success on that loaf, I knew a bean burger could work the same. Well, cornmeal on it's own did NOT work...it made them too dry and completely too fragile in the burgers. So, I decided to add potatoes. I used potatoes as the base of my Gluten-free Pizza Crust and it works brilliantly. It works as a binder and is firm and chewy.
Layer on your toppings of choice. We added lettuce, onions, tomatoes and my Mexican tahini, but salsa on top is equally as mind-blowing...maybe even better?!
BOOM. Bean burgers with awesome ingredients and awesome texture and flavor. Top them with my Mexican Tahini Sauce and you're in business.
If you make these Vegan Fat-Free Baked Mexican Black Bean Burgers, I'd love hearing about it! Please come leave me feedback below and star rate it, as other readers benefit greatly from seeing the success reviews. Thank you! Also, if you are Instagram, I'd love to see your creation! Tag me with #thevegan8, that way the notifications don’t get lost.
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (149, about 1 cup finely chopped)
- 5 small red potatoes (410 g, you will need 1 cup packed cooked mashed red potatoes)
- 2 15 oz cans no-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup smooth salsa (not chunky, I've used both my homemade and a regular Trader Joe's salsa)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground oregano spice (optional)
- ¼ cup medium grind coarse cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill, do not use corn flour)
- Note: Please make sure to fully read each step, as the process of order of how the ingredients is very important to get the batter mixed correctly. Also, feel free to use any of your favorite salsa, just make sure to use a runny one, not a thick chunky one and pick one with a flavor you love, since the burgers will reflect that flavor. I have used both my homemade recipe on my blog and I love Trader Joe's as well. I would pick a mild heat, or the burgers will be too spicy.
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Finely chop your bell pepper (you want them fairly small so they mix well into the burger batter) and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast for 10 minutes, they will finish cooking later in the burgers.
- Next, peel the potatoes and cooked them whole wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for several minutes until very tender in the microwave. Or, you can roast them if you like, but I don't recommend boiling them because excess water will get into them and make the burgers mushy. I probably wouldn't steam either. I like the microwave b/c it keeps them soft and moist and easy to mash. After the potatoes are cooked, mash them completely with a fork and measure out 1 full cup packed tightly and then leveled off. You may have a bit extra, so just eat it. Set aside.
- Drain and rinse the black beans well. Let the excess water drain off or pat them some with a papertowel. REMOVE 1 cup of the black beans and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining beans to a food processor. Add the reserved cooked (pre-measured) potatoes to the processor as well. Pulse until it all comes together in a sticky, thick mashed paste and basically all the beans are well mixed in with the potatoes. It should only take a few pulses. Don't over process it because all the starches from the potato will make them extra glue-y and hard to mix with the remaining ingredients.
- Add the beans/potato mixture to the reserved bowl of extra beans.
- In a small separate bowl, combine the salsa, chili powder, cumin, salt and oregano (if using). Stir until well mixed. Mixing the spices in the liquid first helps to disburse them evenly in the batter. Pour the salsa mixture over the bowl of beans and potatoes. Now add the cooked bell pepper.
- Mix all of it together until everything is combined well and the batter is thick, sticky paste(a good couple of minutes or so). It will seem a bit moist, but they bake up moist this way. I used a small rubber spatula and found this worked best, as I could really press the batter together. Be careful not to mash the whole beans though.
- Lastly, add the cornmeal and mix into the batter until combined well. Place the batter into the fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking. Do not skip this step as the batter will be a bit too wet/sticky to form into patties right away. After chilling, form (using a heaping ½ cup scoop) large balls into 6 and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Do not use foil or you will be crying over them sticking. Press down each ball into a patty about ½ inch thick. If you like, you could make extra large patties into 4 instead, just make sure to flatten them out to ½ inch thick, so they cook evenly through.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the pan and use a thin metal spatula to gently slide underneath the burgers and carefully flip them. They will still be rather tender at this point, so flip gently, but will firm up much more by the end. At 25 minutes, they should have formed a thin crispy bottom making it fairly easy to flip them. If the bottoms are not coming up fairly easy and still sticking to the paper, let them cook 3-5 more minutes and then flip them. After flipping, cook them 10 more minutes on the other side to complete burger awesomeness. Let cool 10 minutes before eating, as they will firm up even more. They should have a nice crispy exterior, but a moist chewy inside. Yum. Assemble burgers with desired toppings. I served them with my awesome Mexican Tahini as the dressing (link below in Notes) but serving them with extra salsa is off-the-charts delicious too. These are even better the next day as they get even more of a chewy "meaty" texture.
- Tip: You can make these and freeze them as well. To freeze, cook them as instructed and let them completely cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil as well. I don't know how long these will store in the freezer, as I've only done it about a week. To reheat, cook them 10-15 minutes at 300 degrees in the oven.