What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 198: Shockingly Good Black Bean and Millet Burgers

Note: I have written more posts than usual lately, so if you're stopping by for the first time in a week or two, make sure you check out all of them!

I recently made Chickpea Cakes Piccata from the Happy Herbivore's blog. They were easy and tasty (although I would add only half of the recommended poultry spice next time, and the sauce made too much - I would halve that part of the recipe). "Why don't I make bean cakes more often?" I asked myself.

And out of that question came this recipe. I am prouder of this dish than almost anything else I have created. It was a smashing success (no false modesty here!) It's very healthy and tastes shockingly good. It is now in competition with the veggie burger from The Druid Pub for the Becki's Favorite Veggie Burger blue ribbon. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or neither - try this recipe! I wish I could make it for all of my readers.

Black Bean and Millet Burgers

1/2 cup millet (you can also use another small grain like quinoa, which looks very similar to millet when uncooked - I think even whole grain couscous would work. Cook either according to package instructions.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 pinch salt

1 medium onion, chopped into a few large pieces
1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green), seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 t. salt
1 T. canola oil

2 cans black beans, drained (It's okay if they're still kind of wet - just drain through the can lid.)
1 T. cumin
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
About 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
I think it would be tasty to add 1-2 chipotle peppers to the black bean mixture, but haven't tried it yet. If you do, please comment and let me know how it was!

More canola oil
Whole wheat flour

  1. Add millet, water, and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan. Heat on high until boiling, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed.
  2. While the millet is cooking, use a food processor to mince onion and pepper (do not puree - just pulse until very, very finely minced). If you don't have a food processor, use a blender and do it in batches. A hand blender (immersion blender) would also work.
  3. Heat canola oil on high in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add onions, peppers, and 1/2 t. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir together black beans, cumin, garlic powder, and 1 t. salt. Pulse in a food processor until beans are mostly broken up, but not pureed. Stir cilantro into the mixture.
  5. Combine millet, bean mixture, and onion/pepper mixture in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Use your hands to create 6 large or 10 medium-sized patties.
  6. Lightly dip each patty in whole-wheat flour, brushing off any excess.
  7. Brush a large skillet or sauté pan with canola oil. Cook patties on medium heat until browned, flip, and brown the other side (You may want to brush more oil onto the skillet before laying the flipped burger down). It takes several minutes per side. Don't make the burner too hot, or the patties will brown before heating through.
  8. I served the burgers on sprouted-grain (Ezekiel bread) English muffins, topped with avocado slices and store-bought fresh salsa.


  1. wow! I made black bean and quinoa burgers just this week! We loved them! But yours has different ingredients - I'll try it also.

  2. I was just wanting a recipe like this - thanks!

  3. Yum! I wish you could make me one too. :) By the way what kind of food processor do you have/do you like it?

  4. Ooh, that sounds good! Thanks!

  5. Mom - what recipe did you use? I'm interested to try other recipes, too.

    Deanna and Beth - you're welcome! I hope you enjoy it!

    Janell - I just use the food processor attachment to my immersion blender. I have the Braun Multiquick, which my mom got for me for Christmas, and I LOVE it. I use it at least once a week, usually more. I do want a larger food processor (I had to do the beans in 2 batches, and the veggie mixture in 3 batches, because this one is small) - someday! I strongly recommend a hand blender like mine, that has a food processor attachment. Mine is discontinued, but this Kitchenaid one has great reviews and is not as expensive as many. A separate food processor would be nice, but I don't consider it a necessity since this one works so well. It's great for smoothies too, and SO much easier to clean than a blender!

  6. Thanks Becki! My mom has a habit of getting us handy kitchen appliances for Christmas, so I think this year I'll give her a little hint. :)

  7. mmm they look great. I'm always looking for a new type of vegan burger,this sounds wonderful!

  8. These sound great! I've bookmarked the recipe. :) PS I've made HH's chickpea piccata, too, and really enjoyed it!

  9. Janell - I hope you get what you wanted!

    Cooking with Dia and Ricki - thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think of the recipe if you try it.

  10. I just found your blog with a search for quinoa recipes. I'm trying to decrease my migraine frequency by changing my diet. You have lots of recipes that look great. I'll be trying some of them. Thanks for all of the effort you have put into your blog.

  11. This looks delicious! My mom just discovered your blog and sent me the address because we are all trying to cut way back on the animal products. My husband just found out his cholesterol is very high, so that's extra incentive for us to get serious about this. Thanks for the recipes! They look great!

  12. Jacque - I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! Please come back and let us know how it helps your migraine frequency. It has helped mine.

    Emily - My cholesterol was amazingly low the last time I checked it, and I hadn't even fasted. The previous time that I had got it checked (also non-fasting), it was borderline. Hope this helps your husband, and hope you both feel fabulous eating a healthier diet!

  13. Ok, I finally made these a couple of nights ago and Oh My Yum!! I absolutely love the flavor. I'm a big cilantro fan so I thought that really added. I ended up using couscous because I thought I had millet but it turned out I didn't. I served with regular burger condiments, plus avocados. Hubby said they were "almost" as good as beef burgers, and I of course thought they were far and away BETTER. The kids even ate them, with just a little prodding. My oldest (who is picky) declared them "really good!"

    Thanks so much for this awesome recipe. I will definitely be making these again! (And, hopefully, next time I WILL have a food processor because that will make it quicker. :)

  14. Janell - YAY! I'm so glad you like it! I shudder to think how long it would take to chop all those veggies by hand ... hope you get a food processor for Christmas. :)

  15. Becki, I've been catching up with your recipes and this one looks great - I am always looking for new "burger" recipes to be the cornerstone of a meal for my kids.

  16. Amy - I hope you enjoy them! Please come back and let us know.

  17. These sound tasty:-) I came up with a great-tasting, easy to make, burger on Feb 8th, the recipe is on my blog. They were just as good cold as a sandwich filling next day, great for a lunchbox!! Let me know what you think:-)


  18. I am not a vegetarian or vegan- nor had i ever eaten a black bean burger but decided to give these a try because they looked so yummy! I made them for my family and for everyone at work to try and they were a huge hit!

  19. I am corn and gluten free, so I substituted the whole wheat flour with a mix of garbonzo bean flour and nutritional yeast. The nutritional yeast adds a yummy cheesy flavor too! I also used sunflower oil instead of canola oil.


I love it when people come back and tell me how the recipes turned out - please consider doing so! Thanks!


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