Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beans, Beans

The magical fruit.

I would say that black beans are typically my go-to bean of choice. They are perfect for burritos, burgers, nachos or as a side. Sometimes I enjoy chickpeas (in the form of hummus, in particular) and pinto beans (in chili, of course). Recently, I’ve been trying to expand my bean repertoire. 

Meijer was having a sale on canned beans and I decided to pick up a can of butter beans. I had never had them before, but I figured I could make bean burgers with them and see how I felt. So, for those of you who are new, like me, to the butter bean world, these beans are HUGE! I mean like 3 times as large as a “normal” bean. They aren’t really round and puffy like a “normal” bean either- they are pretty flat. From my extensive google-ing (ok, I just looked on Wikipedia), butter beans are another form of lima beans. But they aren’t green; they are off white in color similar to a Northern bean. 

Anyway, that’s really all beside the point. The most important question is, what do they taste like? They definitely taste good but are not strongly flavored one way or another. Just like many beans, they will pick up the flavors you throw at them, so really being creative with what you put in and on your bean burger is essential. I started with a Cooking Light base recipe for black bean burgers that I made a while ago (see the link below) and changed things up a little bit. I added some CRP for a little kick, but I think it would have been even better if I had gone for some minced jalapeno. However, I had no jalapenos in my apartment, so I used what I had. The egg and bread crumbs are essential for forming a patty that won’t fall apart. If you are a vegan, I’m not sure what you can substitute in here for the egg, but please let me know if you have had success with anything. The burger itself was not super flavorful and next time I may play around with additional seasonings. However, the cucumber relish is superb if you pile it on top. I actually used this jalapeno infused honey that I picked up from the farmers’ market the other week and that really put it over the top. You can obviously use whatever honey you have in stock. 

You may want to use this cucumber relish to top off hotdogs from the grill at your Memorial Day party this weekend. I’m thinking it will taste good on just about everything. :)

Butter Bean Burgers with Cucumber Relish (Recipe inspired by Cooking Light, June 2001 issue)
15 oz can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup minced onion
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 egg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray
4 hamburger buns or sandwich thins
Parmesan cheese, for topping

½ cup finely chopped cucumber
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all of the relish ingredients on a bowl. Chill until ready to use.

For burgers, place beans in a bowl and partially mash with a fork. Stir in the breadcrumbs, onion, CRP, egg and salt and pepper until completely combined and moist. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into ½ in thick patties.

Preheat George Forman grill (or pan or outdoor grill) coated with cooking spray. Grill for 10 minutes (flip halfway through if not using George Forman) until heated through.

Toast the buns or sandwich thins. Top each bun with a patty, ¼ cup relish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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