Creating a juicy black bean or vegetarian burger can be complicated. We've been experimenting to find one that delivers a succulent carnivore-worthy burger. One with healthy fat content, has a tender bite, maintains a structure that doesn't fall apart when flipping and handling the patty, and is easy to make with a manageable list of pantry ingredients that pack a blast of umami taste. We found our winner and along the way discovered an easy peasy solution to bring an enhanced burst of flavour, and healthy fat, is using including one of our aromatic or spicy EVOO's.  

You can prepare this black bean burger in a non-stick skillet or grill it. The skillet gives an even crisp and easier handling with spatula. The grill produces a bit of smokiness but requires a more gentler handling when flipping and removing to place on bun.


2 x 400ml cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for cooking (or grilling)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tsp dried chili flakes
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg
4 tbsp infused extra virgin olive oil, divided (see options below)
1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
Cheese for topping, your choice
6 to 8 soft style hamburger buns, toasted
Condiments & toppings as desired 

Suggested Infused Black Burger EVOO's: Gochujang, Truffle Oils, Garlic, Chipotle, Gremolata, Wild Mushroom, Ginger Black Garlic, Calabrian Pesto

Preheat oven to 350 °. Spread black beans in a single layer on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast beans for 20 minutes, until outer skins are crunchy. Set aside to cool. 

In medium skillet on medium-high heat, place onion and dried chili flakes. Cook until softened. Then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to large bowl. In food processor, place cashews and pulse, not process continually, until chopped into fine pieces. Add to onion mixture. 

In food processor, place beans and cheese. Pulse until blended, keeping small pieces of beans less than 1/3 of a full bean. If the bean pieces are too large they are more likely to fall apart when handling. A soft, supple mixture is ideal. Transfer to onion mixture in bowl.  Add bread crumbs, egg, and 2 tablespoons infused EVOO. Season with salt and pepper. Fold together gently but thoroughly with hands. [Ideally the patty mixture should be stored in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for several hours or overnight.]

Form bean mixture into 3-inch ball with palms of hands, then gently flatten into 6 to 8 patties at least 1/2-inch thick, the size of your bun.

If cooking on stove top, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to medium, then place 3 to 4 patties in skillet, brushing top side with infused EVOO. Cook until well browned and crisp on first side, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip with spatula, guided on the top surface with your free hand. Brush EVOO on finished side. Cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, adding cheese if desired, and one final brush of EVOO. Optional: Letting burgers rest for a few minutes immediately after cooking and before serving will add structure to the patty. 

If cooking on the grill, set half the burners on a gas grill to the medium-high, then cover and preheat for 10 minutes. Oil the grates before using. Also, before placing on grill brush infused EVOO on surface of patties. Place patties on hot side of grill, oiled-side down. Cook without moving until first side is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Brush tops of burgers with infused EVOO. Carefully flip, guided by fingers on free hand, and continue cooking until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer, topping with cheese if desired. Optional: Letting burgers rest for a few minutes immediately after grilling and before serving will add structure to the patty. 

Add toppings to toasted buns as desired. 

*Our recipe was inspired in part by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's version. He is a New Times food columnist and former culinary director for Serious Eats