Veggie burgers with melted tahini

The first time I had a burger was in the beginning of nineties, in Israel. It was soon after I moved in with my twin friends. David, their New Yorker dad/excellent cook made them for lunch. 
The first time I had a veggie burger was in 2000 at a restaurant in New York. I don’t remember in which restaurant but I remember it was disgusting. Ten years later I decided to give it another try. It was when we moved to Los Angeles, at a burger joint, The Counter. That time I wasn’t disappointed. 

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The good veggie burgers I had were solid, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and had deep flavors. I decided to make my veggie patties the way I made kebabs, I processed the beans with onion, parsley, cilantro and spices. Instead of cheese,I covered them with tahini that I melted in the oven. 
They’re so good, you have to make them. Even if you’re not a vegetarian. Don’t look at it as a meat substitute, look at it as a good sandwich. It would be nice and healthy to give your gut a little break from animal product. 
The tahini binds all the textures together. For gluten-free version, use a gluten-free bun or skip the bun and serve the patty on a bed of green leafy salad or any salad.
Black bean burgers with melted tahini

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped – optional
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Handful cilantro leaves
  • Handful parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large egg (or small but not jumbo or XL)
  • ½cup bread crumbs or 1 heaping tablespoon rolled oats
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Canola oil to grease the skillet

Tahini paste:

  • 2 heaping tablespoons tahini butter
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • Juice of half lemon

To serve with:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Mayonnaise or Veganaise
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup mixed with 1 tablespoon harissa or any hot sauce – optional

Optional Toppings:

  • 1 tomato, finely sliced
  • 1 Persian cucumber, finely sliced
  • A small handful microgreen or lettuce or onion

Preheat the oven to 400ºF or a barbecue grill.

In a food processor, chop finely the onion, garlic and jalapeño. Add 1 cup black beans, cilantro, parsley and cumin, and pulse to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the remaining black beans, bread crumbs and egg, season with salt and pepper, then mix with a spoon until well combined. Refrigerate.

Prepare the tahini. (Do not use store-bought, ready-to-eat tahini. It will separate in cooking.) Put the tahini ingredients in a small bowl and gently mix them with a spoon. The mixture might be lumpy at first, but don’t worry; keep stirring until the batter becomes a smooth, fluffy paste. If it is too thick, add a little more cold water, if it’s runny, add a little tahini.

Put 1 tablespoon canola oil into a cast iron skillet (or any oven-proof skillet) and put it over medium-high heat. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form into patties. Place the patties on the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the patties with a spatula, then add 1 tablespoon of the tahini paste over each patty. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Toast the hamburger buns in a toaster oven or grill. Spread the bottom of the buns with mayo and the top with ketchup mixed with harissa. Assemble the burger with cucumbers, tomatoes and microgreens, and serve.

If you don’t have a food processor: mash the the beans in a bowl, then chop the produce by hand and mix it with the beans.


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