Kim graduated from the Food Shift Culinary Program in January 2020. She has a fun-loving personality and brings her creativity and cleverness to the kitchen (and her personal poetry and short story projects).
“Food is important to me because it’s fuel for the soul. The food I grew up with was comforting to me. My favorite dish was string beans with potatoes and some type of meat. With six of us, my mom would make big pots of food.
In the Food Shift Kitchen, every ingredient we used was fresh recovered produce—we never used a can. When we made black bean burgers for the first time, I thought to myself, 'Girl, you could do this at home!' I used to buy the frozen black bean burgers and I never knew they were so easy to make. All you need to do is take beans and grind them up, and then season them to taste how you want. It is so simple. Once I got that, I started saving a lot of money! Food still comforts me. Now that I’ve learned how to eat more vegetables and use spices, I can enjoy my favorite comfort foods while reducing inflammation.”
Bean Burger Recipe
Kim shares how she made black bean burgers but you can use any type of beans with this recipe…think white beans, black-eyed peas or chickpeas/garbanzos. Based on your preferences, you can create a simple burger or add tasty additions you have on hand, adding some variation to the basic version.
- 2 Tbsp oil, divided
- 1 small onion, any color, finely chopped
- Optional: chopped mushrooms; finely chopped bell pepper; minced jalapeno
- 2 garlic cloves, minced; or ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Optional: 1 tsp spice of your choice
- 1 ½ cups cooked beans or 1 can beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Optional: 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped
In a medium-sized pan, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 2–3 minutes. Other optional raw vegetables should be added now and sautéed for another few minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Turn the heat down to low and add spices, if using, and salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
Place beans in a medium-sized bowl and use a fork to mash them into a chunky paste, keeping some beans whole. Add the cooked vegetable/spice mixture, egg, breadcrumbs and herbs, if using. Mix all together. If your burger mixture is too wet, put it in the fridge uncovered for about 15 minutes to firm it up before forming your patties.
Scoop ⅓ cup of the mixture and form into a ¾ inch thick patty. Place on a baking sheet or plate. Repeat until there is no mixture left. (Feel free to make a tester patty before forming all the burgers to taste for seasoning levels: 1-2 Tbsp-sized patty, quickly sear on both sides, or microwave).
In a medium pan (can reuse the pan from step 1), heat 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add 2 or more burgers to the pan, making sure not to crowd them and that you have room to flip them over. Cook the first side for about 4 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned and lifts easily. Then flip! Cook the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the patties, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
- Serving suggestions:
Eat your burgers on their own or with condiments like thinly sliced or caramelized onions, cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, or chimichurri, with a bun, or on top of greens as a salad. Assemble and enjoy!
Maximizing Your Food
Any extra vegetables you have in the kitchen can easily be incorporated into your burger mix. Spinach? Saute, drain, and add to the bowl. Corn? Add it too! Leftover cooked grains? Throw in ½ cup!
Patties can be frozen, cooked or uncooked. Be sure to label the container with the name of the food and the date so it doesn’t get lost in the freezer. Thaw out the frozen cooked burgers before reheating at 350℉ for 15 minutes. Frozen uncooked burgers, once thawed, can be cooked as in Step 5 above.
Beans are a good source of protein, for you and your budget. It’s great to have canned beans and/or dried beans in your pantry. Dried beans are a better value and you’ll come away with a delicious broth from the cooked beans. You do need to plan a little farther ahead, which includes soaking beans for 8 hours, to ensure even cooking, when using dried beans. Dried beans expand: 1 cup dried beans equals about 3 cups cooked beans.
Place dried beans in a large bowl and add cold water to cover by 3 inches because the beans will expand. Soak at room temperature at least 8 hours or overnight and remove any beans that float. Drain and rinse.
Add beans to a large pot and add cold water or vegetable broth to cover beans by a few inches with ½ tsp salt. Add in smashed garlic, onion, bay leaves, a drizzle of oil and/or herbs and spices if you have them on hand. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer (the liquid should bubble gently) and stir occasionally. Check for doneness after 30 minutes, the beans should be tender but not mushy. Beans can take up to 2 hours, keep an eye on the beans and add more water if it gets too low before the beans are done.
When the beans are done, season with salt and pepper. Use right away or refrigerate or freeze them in a sealed container once cool.
More stories, recipes, tips, and videos from Food Shift:
- Connie's Breakfast Frittata
- Danny’s Mushroom "Bacon"
- Lia's Fried Rice
- Food Shift Kitchen Guide
- Affordable Alternatives
Food is often rooted in story. In this monthly blog series, Food Shift, one of our Chef Partners, is amplifying the voices of their culinary training graduates and their community by sharing their stories and adaptable recipes. Stay tuned for more installments.
Portrait Artwork By: Sophia Zaleski
Learn more about Food Shift and their programs to rescue surplus food to fuel their social enterprise kitchen rather than waste away in landfills.