Recipe: Beef-Free Bean Burger

Just because we're eating a little lighter this month, doesn't mean we don't have the craving for a fat, tasty burger. This meatless version is flavorful enough, you don't even miss your usual source of proteins. A quick and tasty, homemade option for sure!

A weeknight burger is usually a quick fix. Patty and cook, that's all it takes for your family to be eating in a hurry, but to our surprise, this recipe was just as quick. We love mixing up our burger intake with more robust alternatives, but wimpy and less-toothsome versions need not apply. Although it has several ingredients, most should be existing pantry staples or things easily found at your local grocer. Plus, once you've added the egg white, beans, onions and pecans, the rest can be flavored as you see fit to suit your individual tastes. Here's what you'll need to make ours:

Beef-Free Bean Burger
Yields 4-6 patties depending on thickness.
Inspired By: Eating Well...Living Thin

1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed lightly (if at all)
1/2 cup pecans, diced (and checked for shells)
1/3 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons green curry paste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ketchup (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg white
1/3 cup flour (whole wheat, white, chickpea, oat - anything but pastry or semolina)

Mash kidney beans in a mixing bowl. Don't obliterate them, but smoosh them a good 10-15 times with a potato masher. Add all remaining ingredients, adding flour last. Depending on how wet your curry paste, onions and garlic are, you might require a teaspoon less or more. You want your mixture to hold shape when formed (it will still be sticky) but not crumble. Chill for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator. You can stop at this point and leave them all day if needs be, but if you're planning to eat at the same time as preparation, they can use a few minutes to chill before hitting the heat.

Form mixture into patties, we find 5 is the perfect amount, but if you like them a little thinner, 6 works as well. Heat skillet on stove with 2 cups oil (we prefer peanut or canola) on high for 5 minutes. Add patties and fry until crispy/crunchy on each side (3-5 minutes). You can use non-stick spray instead, though they won't crisp up quite the same. They will still be soft in the middle, that's ok!

(*Editors Note: We used 2 cups of oil in a 16" pan. The oil covered the entire bottom of the pan, but they weren't drowning or swimming in oil by any means, so please adjust the oil accordingly to your size pan and personal tastes.)

Serve on a toasted bun, or lettuce leaf with additional accoutrements and dressings as you so desire. We happened to have an avocado that needed to be used up, so we mushed it with a small amount of lemon juice to tops ours off. Quite delicious! Enjoy!

Related: Good Eats: How To Make Perfect French Fries

(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)

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