About six years ago, my husband decided to cut meat, primarily red meat, out of his diet. This decision came as a shock to me, but I chose to support his decision. I had to find new ways of cooking healthy meals that contained sources of protein. During my research, I found that beans are one of the best protein-packed meat alternatives. And with that, a new arena of food love was born!
Let’s meet the beans!
Frijoles Negros (a.k.a. The black bean)
Black beans are very common in Hispanic dishes. They can be bought in nearly any grocery store, either dried or canned. Black beans have folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, and niacin. With more people seeking healthier alternatives to meat, I would put money on a steady rise in black beans and black bean products’ popularity in the future!
Habichuelas Pintas (a.k.a. The Pinto bean)
These beans are also very common ingredients in Hispanic cuisine. Pinto beans are often used whole, but you will also find them “mashed” and transformed into refried beans, as well. They are then served inside burritos or on the side of other dishes such as fajitas. Pinto beans are a great source of fiber, folate, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, protein, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
How our new food love came to be what it is today!
So, after my husband made this change in diet, we visited our local Wegmans (grocery store). They have some of the best foods in our area including a lot of prepared foods. This is where we discovered black bean burgers. We purchased a pack of two to try and fell in love with them! Back then, we paired the black bean burgers with Jalapeno Cheese Bread (also made fresh by Wegmans) as the “buns”. Doing this started to get expensive, so we created our own recipe to make at home. Our recipe is as follows, but can be tweaked to satisfy individual tastes.
Multi-bean burger or wrap
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can kidney beans (optional)
- 1 can corn (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons Ortega sauce (heat level of your choice)
- 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped onion or 1-2 tablespoons onion powder
- ¼ cup bell peppers chopped fine
- ¼ cup mushrooms chopped fine (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons of flour to start (add more if needed)
- 1- 1.5 cups of breadcrumbs
- Shredded cheese of your choice for topping
- Queso cheese, Ortega sauce, guacamole salsa etc are great options for sauces for burger or wrap construction
- Multi-grain bread, everything bagel, jalapeno cheese bread, flour tortilla or spinach wraps are all great “bun” options
- Empty beans and corn into a colander in the sink
- Allow to drain but do not rinse them
- Dump contents of colander into a large bowl
- Use a potato masher to combine beans into a “smooshy” consistency
- Add Ortega sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder or chopped onion, peppers, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and flour.
- Mix well
- If consistency is too “wet” add more flour and mix well
- Repeat until desired consistency and taste is met
- Scoop mixture into ½ cup balls (or larger if you want a bigger burger or wrap)
- Roll in bread crumbs until completely covered
- Heat frying pan on medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the pan
- Press bean ball into a patty or elongated wrap patty in the pan
- Fry a few minutes on each side until cooked through
- Add cheese of choice and remove from pan once cheese is melted
- Construct burger with “bun” of choice, sauces of choice and any additional toppings you desire. Construct wrap similarly, but use a soft flour tortilla or spinach wrap!