Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
In starting this blog, it’s come to my attention that there are various classifications of “clean eating,” depending on dietary restrictions or preferences.
For some, eating clean means no carbs. For others, it means no dairy. For me, it means no processed sugar, no refined flours, minimal dairy, minimal gluten, always opting for whole-grain breads or pastas and sticking to primarily a plant-based diet. I also always buy organic produce (even bananas and oranges and things with peels because I believe it’s important to support the sustainable practice of organic farming) along with organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed or cage-free dairy products and meat. We’re fortunate to live close to two family farms where we can get a lot of these items local as well. I believe that knowing where your food came from or how it was raised is an integral part of eating clean. 🙂
Though quinoa isn’t typically welcome on the Paleo diet, here’s why I consider it part of a “clean” diet:
- It’s a whole grain. A whole grain means that the entire whole-grain kernel (the bran, germ and endosperm) are present. Studies have shown that whole grains may decrease risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and weight gain, according to Whole Grains Council.org.
- It’s gluten free, which makes it an excellent option for anyone with wheat or gluten sensitivities, and is also low glycemic, meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
- It’s one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein. Half a cup of sprouted quinoa, for example, contains 10 grams of protein. I love sprouted grains, nuts and seeds because sprouting activates natural enzymes and retains the full vitamin content.
Speaking of the latter point, that’s one of the reasons why I love these black bean quinoa burgers so much– they actually give you a fairly good serving of protein without using any processed “fake” meat that’s in the store-bought veggie burgers (and these taste SO much better, in my opinion).
Though vegetarian, these aren’t vegan since eggs and cheese were required to make the burgers “stick” together. One egg proved to be fairly successful but some of the burgers still crumbled… so I’m adding two to the recipe to see if that makes your burgers stick better than mine did (we ended up eating them lettuce-wrap style anyway, so the crumbles worked).
This recipe is adapted from 100 Days of Clean Food— a book that I highly recommend adding to your cookbook collection. It has wonderful family-friendly recipes that are free of processed sugars and flours. For this recipe, I also added black beans for extra protein.
Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
Ingredients (makes 4 large burgers or 8 “slider” style burgers):
- ½ c. of uncooked sprouted quinoa that’s been cooked according to the package instructions
- ½ c. of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 large carrot that’s been finely chopped
- 1/3 c. of minced onion
- 1 c. of black beans, rinsed
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs (either whole wheat or gluten-free)
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for grilling
Combine all ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and mix well (go on… get them hands dirty!).
In a large pan, saute the olive oil over medium-low heat. Form the mixture into patties and add them to the pan. Cover and cook until the bottoms are browned (It took mine about 8 minutes, but I would suggest to start checking around 5).
Flip the patties and let them cook for another 5-8 minutes.
Serve on lettuce leaves (aka: Paleo style) or on a whole grain or gluten-free bun. In lieu of ketchup (which typically has LOADS of hidden sugar), top with hummus, guacamole or (my personal favorite) a little no-sugar-added mayo (the Sir Kensington’s brand is TOP NOTCH) mixed with fresh dill and dijon mustard. SO SO GOOD. Excuse me while I go snack on some leftovers…
Looking for more clean dinner ideas? Try our creamy butternut squash pasta next!