Well. This took about an hour, but it was worth it. And probably it wouldn't have taken so long if I had just overlapped steps (for example, making the onions while the quinoa cooks, making the guacamole while the patties refrigerate) but the Internet was calling to me and I got distracted. Regardless, it was absolutely fantastic. I did not make my own beans because I did not have the time. So I used canned. It all came together so perfectly and even though there was no egg binder or too much cornmeal, it stayed perfectly together. We both really, really liked this. The guacamole topping matched perfectly. This is definitely a make-again.
We had them with Alexia Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, which were quite tasty and matched the burger very well. See, most people talk about wine or beer pairings. With us, however, you get info on french fries.
Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole
These bean burgers will even please carnivores. The cornmeal coating gives a pleasant crunch and smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro and guacamole add Southwestern flavor.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa -- rinsed (see Note)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- divided
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 clove garlic -- minced
2 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans -- well drained
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1/3 cup for coating burgers
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper -- (to taste)
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns -- toasted
6 lettuce leaves
6 tomato slices
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper -- or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Uncover and let stand.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add beans, paprika and ground cumin and mash the beans to a smooth paste with a potato masher or fork. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the quinoa, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 3 tablespoons cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; stir to combine.
3. Form the bean mash into 6 patties. Coat them evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4. To prepare guacamole: Mash avocado with a potato masher or fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons onion, garlic, cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
5. Preheat oven to 200°F.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron (or similar heavy) skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 burgers until heated through and brown and crisp on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven to keep warm. Cook the remaining 3 burgers with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent overbrowning. Serve the burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato and the guacamole.
Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.
Ingredient Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored, protein-rich grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets.