Monday, March 7, 2011

Kidney Bean Burgers and Spiced Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Want a healthier version of the standard burger and fries? This might be just what you're looking for. If you make the burgers while the potatoes are cooking you could have this meal on the table in under 45 minutes. When you can make your own veggie burgers so quickly, why would you ever buy the packaged processed stuff ever again? I realize that using vital wheat gluten may sound a little scary to some but it's nothing to be afraid of. It's just the little protein found in wheat generally used to make seitan or add chewiness to bread. These days you can find it in most well stocked grocery stores. It does a great job of holding the burgers together and gives them great texture.

While you will want to stick to the recipe for the burgers to achieve the right texture, the recipe for the potatoes is more of a template than anything else. I added seasonings that were similar to those in the burgers but you can vary them according to whatever you're pairing the potatoes with. For example, try adding thyme and rosemary in addition to oil, garlic, salt and pepper for a more Mediterranean side dish. However you choose to cook these spuds, please use garlic. The roasting process makes it so sweet and nutty that coming across a piece of it may just be the highlight of your evening. I could easily eat these potatoes every day, and maybe I do for all you know.

Kidney Bean Burgers
Makes 6 large burgers or 8 smaller ones
  • 1 15 oz / 425 g can kidney bean, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 medium celery rib, minced
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro
  • 1/8-1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1.  Sprinkle the salt over the minced garlic and paste it by dragging the garlic along the cutting board with the knife while pressing down on it. Keep repeating this process until the garlic and salt have formed a uniform paste. Add the paste, beans and onion to a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or a potato masher, break up the beans until there are no whole beans left, just halves or quarters.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the water, to the bowl and mix until the ingredients are combined. Incorporate the water in small increments until you are able to easily form patties that stay together.
3.  Roll the mixture into 6-8 balls and then flatten them to form patties. Optionally, refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will help them stay together during the frying process. If you want to cook them straight away go right ahead, just be a little gentler with your patties.
4.  Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties 2-3 at a time for about 5 minutes on each side or until they're brown. Repeat until all the patties are fried.
5.  Serve as you would your favorite burger: in a bun, over greens, with avocado, tomato, cashew "cheese", or any other condiments.

Spiced Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 lb / 455 g young red potatoes, washed, scrubbed,  quartered lengthwise then cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C. Combine all the ingredients in a baking dish large enough for the potatoes to form a single layer. Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated with all the spices and garlic. Bake for 25-35 minutes, scrapping the potatoes off the bottom and flipping them half way through, or until the potatoes are golden brown some sides and tender on the inside. Serve as a side dish with your favorite veggie burger or other entree.


  1. These look like something I could do.

  2. They're super easy! The only challenge will be finding vital wheat gluten in Spain.