It’s finally summer – the time for barbecue, picnics, and good, old-fashioned cookouts, which means as a vegetarian, the culinary front can be a little repetitive. My summer meal options usually comes down to ‘Would you like the palatable, yet frozen veggie burger or an imitation veggie hot dog that somehow tastes worse than actual hot dogs?’

With this black bean burger recipe however, I found a perfect protein substitute for not only the vegetarians in the mix, but anyone looking for a new recipe to replace their typical dinner fare with something different. It’s delicious, easy, and the recipe is packed with proteins, which any non-meat eater knows is a huge plus for a meatless recipe.

I found the original recipe (which I’ve slightly modified) in a vegetarian cookbook I checked out from my local library because what would summer be without a Chopped inspired cooking spree?

Depending on what size you make your patties, this recipe can serve 4-8 people. What I love about this take on a black bean burger is the Southwestern twist to it. The cilantro and ground cumin add the perfect amount of zest to the dish to make it fun and flavorful, or even spicy if you decide to go with the hot sauce mix-in.

I typically serve this dish with chips and a dip, like a homemade pico de gallo or guacamole, and with a side of Mexican style rice, but feel free to make the meal your own.


    • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • Optional: hot sauce of your choice
    • Pita pockets or tortillas
    • Accompaniments: guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, or whatever tickles your fancy
    • Kitchen needs: stove, skillet or griddle, mixing bowls, potato masher or food processor

1. Rinse and drain your black beans then dump them in a large bowl by themselves. You can use a fork, potato masher, or even a food processor if you’re feeling fancy to work at turning the beans into a partially pureed consistency, though you want to avoid mushiness. Try to keep a good texture!

2. After you’ve achieved the right consistency, add in the mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cumin, cilantro, hot sauce (optional) and vegetable oil, then mix until evenly distributed.

3. Once that’s good and mixed, form into whatever size patties you feel like and place them on a pan to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Pro tip: If you want leftovers for the week, opt for a few large ones or several small ones so you can save them longer.

4. Next, remove the patties from the refrigerator and either cook them on a skillet with vegetable oil on medium heat or a griddle with vegetable oil on medium heat. Cook both sides till brown. Be careful when removing them because they can be crumbly (but still delicious!)

5. Serve buffet style so everyone can pick their toppings on either their pita pockets or tortillas.

6. Enjoy your black bean burger!