This recipe has been passed around in the vegetarian community since Houston’s restaurant introduced the burger. Full of black beans, rice, barbecue sauce, and some other ingredients that are more surprising, this is the veggie burger that will make even the most dedicated carnivore say “Hey, that’s ok!”
I’m not usually attracted to recipes with more than about 5 ingredients (or men who spend more time on their hair than I do). But these are definitely worth it! These burgers NOT a quick and easy meal. Plan to spend an hour in the kitchen making and frying these, and do it when you’re not hungry, or else about halfway through chopping and mixing, you’ll be strongly tempted to start eating uncooked rice…
Good news: they freeze easily. Make a double batch and layer them between sheets of waxed paper and stick in a freezer bag. I also like to freeze my leftover pickled jalapenos and canned beets (because really, what else are you gonna do with canned beets?)
Here in Cow Country, we like our barbecue sauce, and vegetarians and vegans, rare as we are, are no exception. I use a Kansas City favorite, Zarda’s Sweet Hickory. Some brands of barbecue sauce include little dead fishies in their ingredients, but this one is vegan!
Best way to fry these suckers: drop a big spoonful of mixture in a hot skillet, then shape in the pan. Trust me, you’re not going to be able to shape these with your hands. They hold together fairly well when they’re shaped in the pan.
Houston’s serves on buttered, toasted buns – I use either Earth Balance or Smart Balance (some varieties are vegan).
4 Tb Hickory BBQ sauce
1 Tb molasses
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tb oat bran (can usually be found in bulk in the health section of the grocery store)
1 Tb onion, finely chopped
1 Tb canned beets, finely chopped
1 tsp beet juice
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 Tb pickled jalapenos, chopped
½ egg-worth of egg replacer
1/4-1/2 cup flour
2 tsp olive oil
Stir together BBQ sauce and molasses; set aside.
Mash beans, stir in 3 Tb of BBQ/molasses mixture. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Hear olive oil in skillet, drop large spoonfuls of mixture into skillet and shape to form 4-6 patties. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes per side. Top with remaining BBQ/molasses mixture. Serve on a toasted, buttered bun!