I’ve made a number of burgers in my time, but I’ve never made a black bean burger. I always thought of them as very dry and crumbly, and tasting primarily of beans, which didn’t appeal to me. But then recently I’ve had some black bean burgers out at restaurants that were quite good. And since I’ve been trying to eat less meat I decided to give it a go. But since I have no experience making these burgers, I turned to the internet and relied on the RATIOS in a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I usually use her site for sweets, but she promised these would work out so… To make it my own, I went with Moroccan flavors.
I wanted these to taste Moroccan, but I don’t know a ton about Moroccan flavors. I found on the internet that eggplant, dates, and pomegranate are common in Moroccan cooking. I also learned about a couple of key components that I incorporated into this dish. First, the spice blend Ras el Hanout, which is used all over Moroccan cooking, playing a similar role in North African cooking as garam masala does in Indian cooking. Second, chermoula, which is an herb-based sauce with similar properties to pesto (Italy), chimichurri (Argentina), or salsa verde (Latin America).
A note about the dates: the original Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe actually called for 2 eggs, but I only had one. But fear not! Dates are frequently used in vegan cooking as a binder and substitute for eggs, and since dates are also a great Moroccan flavor, I used them here to great effect.
Below, the recipe:
Moroccan Black Bean Burgers
- 4 cups cooked or canned black beans
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ baby eggplant, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tsp ras el hanout (recipe follows)
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup cotija cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup date paste (1/4 cup chopped dates pureed with 2 Tbsp water)
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- ½ Tbsp ketchup
- ½ Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- Salt and pepper
- Pretzel buns
- Sliced tomato
- Chermoula sauce (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute bell pepper, eggplant, onion, and garlic until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. Place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse everything together, then add the black beans. Pulse the mixture, leaving some larger chunks of beans.
- Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each. Patties can be frozen separated by waxed paper or cooked immediately.
- Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total.
- Serve on pretzel buns topped with lettuce, tomato, and chermoula sauce
Ras el Hanout
Adapted from The Spruce Eats
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- Combine everything in an airtight container
Reprinted from Epicurious
- ¾ tsp coriander seeds
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup parsley
- 1 cup cilantro
- Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a dry small skillet, tossing occasionally, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then lightly crush in a mortar and pestle.
- Purée toasted seeds, garlic, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes in a blender until spices are ground and mixture is very smooth.
- Add cilantro and parsley; process until well combined but slightly textured.
These were a nice change from my usual burgers and I thought the method made them hold together pretty well. The chermoula sauce was also a nice unusual flavor and I will definitely use it for future dishes. My main disappointment was that the burgers themselves didn’t taste particularly Moroccan, so the whole dish didn’t taste particularly Moroccan. In the future I would try increasing the salt and spices in the burgers, and maybe go for an additional component like a saffron ricotta to up the Moroccan flavors.