Protein Ninja, by Terry Home Romero, everything-you-need-to-know rundown on plant-based protein sources — and its chapters like Stealthy Protein Pancakes, Waffles, Scrambles, and Much, Much More; Super Toast: Savory or Sweet; and Better Than Ever Burger Bowls will soon have you sneaking plant-based protein into your breakfasts, dinners, and everything in between.
Black bean burgers are a pantry staple great for any occasion, and an easy sell for omnivores, too. This version is unusual in a few ways even beyond the addition of hemp protein: The mixture is moistened with roasted sweet potato and rolled in a crunchy coating of crushed tortilla chips and pepitas, but perhaps the most remarkable twist is the roasting of the cooked black beans, a tip I learned from The Serious Eats blogger.
Roasting the beans (either home cooked, or more likely for busy protein nerds like us, canned) adds a new dimension of hearty, chewy texture by drying them out a bit for a denser, meaty consistency, and deepening the earthy character of the beans with roasted notes. I’m not one to waste making the most of a hot oven: While the beans roast, you’ll also toast shelled pumpkin seeds for even more roasted flavor in the burger mixture.
Black Bean Hemp Burgers Recipe
• 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1/2 cup pepitas
• 1 pound sweet potato (1 [8-inch] sweet potato), roasted in the skin until soft
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (or leave the seeds for a hotter burger) and minced
• 1/2 cup unflavored hemp protein powder
• 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Olive oil cooking spray, for brushing
• 2 cups finely crushed blue or yellow corn tortilla chips
• 3 tablespoons pepitas, roughly chopped
1. Start the burgers: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the rinsed beans in a single layer over half of the baking sheet, and spread the pepitas on the other side. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, place the sheet with the beans and pepitas in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, or until the beans look dry and the skins start to break on the outside, and the pepitas are golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the beans to a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the pepitas and add them to the beans.
2. Peel the roasted sweet potato, transfer to bean mixture, add the remaining burger ingredients, except the cooking oil spray, and mash everything together into a soft, moist mixture.
3. With the cooking oil spray, spray eight large circles.
4. Stir together the coating ingredients in a shallow bowl.
5. Divide the mixture into eight balls and drop each ball into the coating mixture, gently rolling the ball to completely coat. Place each ball on an oiled circle on the parchment paper, then shape each into a patty about . inch thick. Spray with a little additional oil and bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and flip. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the burgers are firm and the insides of the patties are piping hot.
PRO-TIP: Roast the sweet potato whole on a rimmed baking sheet in a preheated 400 degrees F oven until easily pierced with a fork. While it’s roasting, chop the rest of the veggies and prepare the beans and pepitas for roasting. Then crush the tortilla chips; I just leave them in the bag and crush the bag with my hands or a rolling pin. When the sweet potato is ready, slice in half to speed up the cooling and use when it’s cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
More from Protein Ninja:
From Protein Ninja: Power through Your Day with 100 Hearty Plant-Based Recipes that Pack a Protein Punch by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2016. Buy this book from our store: Protein Ninja.