Serve up some sizzle–simply and inexpensively–with these luscious good-for-you burgers. Good-quality protein without saturated fat, plus lots of fiber and great Cajun taste, add up to a winning summer meal.
3 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
1/2 cup minced onions
1/4 cup minced celery
1 large garlic clove, minced finely
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup pecans, chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Tabasco sauce to taste (a dash is usually enough)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (more, if you like it really hot)
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
Your favorite burger rolls and condiments
1. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the onions and celery. Cover pan and cook, stirring once in awhile, about 5 minutes until the veggies are softened. Add garlic and cook around 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned.
2. Place veggies in a food processor along with kidney beans, pecans, tomato paste, Tabasco, thyme, paprika, salt, cayenne, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Process until well combined, but with some texture still remaining.
3. Place mixture in a bowl and shape into 6 burger patties. Coat patties lightly with remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs, then cover and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes (this will help the burgers to retain their shape).
4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Add burgers in batches and brown, turning once, about 5 minutes on each side. You may need to add a little more oil.
5. Serve on your favorite toasted burger buns, with condiments if desired.
Inspired by The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook, by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2002).