Jan 2, 2015

Southwestern Bean Burgers and Avocado Salsa

southwestern bean burgers

Because the holiday parties are over and the New Year’s celebrations have come to close I figured this Friday might prove to be difficult. To top it off, it’s gloomy down here in the south today, making for a dreary Friday. Bummer unless your name is Jor and you love the rain. So I thought there was no better way to brighten up our day and spirits than sharing with you something that was at least a party for your mouth! Exciting, right?! Well, you should get excited about these burgers. First of all, there are tortilla chips in them! Who doesn’t love a good tortilla chip? The burgers are cooked in the oven, which honestly made my burger making evening 100% easier. Sometimes when making bean burgers you worry about them following apart during the flip action, but that’s not a problem with these. They are also what I would consider healthy! I know that’s a major plus for so many people that are trying to stick to those New Year’s resolutions or are at the very least trying to work off the pound of cookies they ate (pointing to myself!). These burgers are also the perfect partner for avocado salsa that sits nicely on top of the burger, or directly from your spoon to your mouth! Your choice!


(From Moosewood Restaurant Favorites. Makes four burgers.)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 /2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup crumbled corn tortilla chips
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beens (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Avocado Salsa

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/4 diced bell pepper
  • 1/8 cup minced scallions (1 scallion)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juice (half of one large lime)

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Start by putting together the burgers. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the onions, red pepper flakes, and salt for about 10 minutes or the onions become soft. Add the garlic and let cook for another minute (I like to hold off on adding the garlic until the onions are almost cooked through so the garlic pieces don’t burn). Add the bell pepper pieces, give a quick stir and let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes and then finish it off with the cumin and oregano. Be sure to keep stirring throughout this time so things don’t start to stick.

While the onions and bell peppers cook down, add you corn tortilla chips into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until you have course crumbs. Alternatively, you could also pour the chips in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small pieces. Pour the chip crumbs into a large bowl and set aside. Once the beans are rinsed and drained, pulse them a few times in the food processor just until they are Mashed NOT puréed. You still want to recognize that those are beans in there! Again, an alternative to the food processor is using the back of a fork to mash the beans in a bowl. Add the mashed beans to you bowl with the chip crumbs.

Once the onion, red pepper mixture is complete, pour it into the bowl with your beans and chip crumbs. Stir in the orange zest and the orange juice. The orange might seem a little strange at first glance. But, the zest is what will give your burgers this fresh zing that won’t make you automatically say “orange” when you take your first bite but you’ll think “FRESH!” The juice will work with the chip crumbs and help bind the burger while reinforcing the fresh taste you get from the zest.

burger mixture

Using a 1/2 measuring cup, scoop out the bean mixture and form burger-shaped patties with your hands.

burgers pre-baked

You don’t want paper thin burgers but you also don’t want miniature mountains. Aim for something in the middle.

burgers pre-baked2

Bake the burgers in the oven on the prepared baking sheet for approximately 30 minutes. There is no raw meat involved or uncooked egg so you are looking for the burgers to become firm.

While the burgers cook in the oven, you can prepare you avocado salsa. It’s super simple. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix. See, simple!

avocado salsa

After thirty minutes, take a peak at the burgers; they should be ready! Slightly crisp on the outside and warm all the way through.


burgers cooked

Top each burger with avocado salsa and you are ready to go! To make it a complete meal, I served the burgers with some easy and nutritious brown rice (3/4 cup rice with 1 1/4 cups water, 1/4 cup homemade plain tomato sauce, chopped onion and bell pepper  baked in the oven for 45 minutes).

burger with salsa and rice

There are lots of options for these burgers. It didn’t make an appearance, but cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese would be fantastic melted on top of these burgers. Swap out the avocado salsa for regular tomato salsa. Add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt for a little tang! You can even serve them as normal burgers on a bun (that’s how Jor enjoyed it for lunch the following day.) I’m a huge fan of bean/veggie burgers but I can honestly say that after one bite this particular burger climbed to the top of my list! The little crunch from the tortilla chips was perfect, although I might be biased because when left alone with a bag of tortilla chips I could eat the whole bag (but usually don’t!), and the hint of orange is a little different than typical bean burgers but in the best way possible! And don’t even get me stared on the avocado salsa! I don’t even need a burger to put this stuff on and eat! Even if veggie/bean burgers aren’t your thing, you have to give these burgers a shot because I’d bet they will become your thing, and I’m usually not a betting lady! For now, that’s southwestern bean burgers and avocado salsa…in the shell of a nut!

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