Pinto Bean Beet Burgers

By Julia Howard, RHN, MPH

Pinto Bean Beet Burgers

The goal of many new vegans and plant-based eaters is to find and master the perfect bean burger. I had yet to achieve this goal, until recently.

When I saw that America’s Test Kitchen had published their amazing Vegan for Everybody cookbook, I knew they would have a no-fail bean burger in there. And, I was not disappointed! Neither were my friends who tested them…

Enter the Pinto Bean & Beet Burger!

Not only does this burger actually look like beef, it’s one of the most flavourful, perfectly textured bean burgers I’ve tried.

I adapted this burger recipe for gluten-sensitive folks by substituting gluten-free steel cut quick oats for bulgur wheat and gluten-free panko bread crumbs in for standard panko bread crumbs. Luckily, the result is just as tasty and firm. However, I strongly recommend using steel cut quick oats. Neither steel cut oats or quick oats will provide quite the same texture.

One slightly unusual ingredient in this recipe is a jar of carrot baby food! The pureed texture of the baby food helps the stickiness of the burger while the carrot flavour adds subtle sweetness. I used a sturdy collard green for a gluten-free bun alternative and an extra serving of veggies.

For some extra flavour, add a little pub sauce or a garlic aioli. I adapted the pub sauce recipe for this burger (see below) by substituting coconut aminos for soy sauce as a lower sodium, gluten-free alternative.

Wrap these burgers in parchment paper and they’ll store well in the fridge for a few days.

Pinto Bean & Bean Burger Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 2/3 cup gluten-free steel cut quick oats (dry)
  • 1 can pinto beans (15.5 ounces)
  • 1 large beet, grated
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 small jar of carrot baby food (4 ounces)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of gluten-free panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • collard greens (or another sturdy green) for burger “buns”
  • Topping suggestions: pub sauce, a handful of microgreens, and some crunchy pickles

Pinto Bean & Bean Burger Directions

Boil 1.5 cups of water in a pot with 2/3 cup steel cut quick oats and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat, stir the oats and then let the oats sit for 5 mins to allow them to soak up the water. Careful to avoid overcooking the oats as they will stick to the pot and become less workable. Spread cooked oats onto a pan and allow them to cool.

Peel and grate one large beet. Add grated beet to a food processor.

Add 3/4 cup of walnuts, 1/2 cup of fresh basil, and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Pulse in a food processor about 10-15 times.

Add 1 can of pinto beans (drained), 1 tbsp grainy mustard, 1 small jar of carrot baby food, 2 tbsp water, and 1 tsp salt. Pulse to mix.

Transfer mixture to large mixing bowl. Add 1.5 cups of gluten-free panko bread crumbs. Stir in cooked, cooled oats. 

Divide the mix into 8 sections with your finger or a spatula. Use hands to form patties of approx. 3.5 inches in diameter.

To cook the burgers, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat on a non-stick skillet. Fry up a few burgers at a time for about 4 mins on each side. Keep warm in a 200-degree F oven until the remaining burgers are cooked through.

Build your burger! Add a sauce (see below) and something crunchy, like some microgreens and pickles.

Pub Sauce Ingredients / Directions

  • 3/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (for a truly vegan Worcestershire sauce substitute, try this)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp chives or green onions
  • Combine ingredients and then whisk to form sauce

If you’re looking for some additional guidance on how to incorporate more plants into your diet, contact me!

Thanks for reading,

~Julia 🥦

I saw an article in Men’s Journal that quoted Jon in about 2018 while traveling and was impressed that someone in St. John’s made that international magazine.  Jon spoke about an exercise called the Farmer’s Walk and I started working that into my routine at the YMCA. I tore that article out of the magazine and kept it, meaning to make contact, but got busy. Then I had lunch with an old friend Bruce Dyke. I hadn’t seen Bruce for a while and I remarked that he looked super healthy and fit. He told me about his, and his son Cas’, experience at JKC and then I remembered the Men’s Journal article! No coincidences!

The experience is unique on many levels – great people, camaraderie, passion, purpose, and dedication. Jon and Thomas are attentive, precise and understanding.  Their teaching has unlocked a new perspective for me with what our bodies are capable of. I still appreciate the YMCA, wonderful place, but I can’t imagine working out without Jon and Thomas now.

My initial goal was to find qualified personal training services in a personalized small gym setting. I have never been a fan of large gyms. JKC offers a friendly, happy gym experience that motivates me to strive for bigger and better results every week. Jon, Thomas and Craig are genuinely talented and always excited to celebrate everyone’s success.

I have a passion for challenging myself to achieve or beat goals. My favourite memories take me back to greater wins than I ever imagined with deadlifts and after a lot of determination and hard work, being able to do multiple chin-ups. Training at JKC has been one of the best experiences of my life – thank you for your commitment to helping me stay fit!!💪🏼😅

I’m 35 and I started at JKC in November of 2019. I was coming off the win of the Royal St. John’s Regatta in 2019, and our crew was chomping at the bit to be stronger and faster for 2020. The reputation of JKC leached into our group and away we went! Unfortunately the regatta was cancelled due to COVID-19, but I just loved JKC so much I stuck around. JKC is different from other gyms because the level of experience the team has is unparalleled. Jon, Thomas and Craig all mesh well together and mentor me in a way that I know they love what they do and are genuinely excited to guide me towards my goals (and beyond). I really enjoy the atmosphere, the sense of community and all the positive vibes that I experience in every session. There’s never a time I don’t want to go because I’m motivated by the team’s coaching style and I get results.

I’ve been weight training on and off for years but never really had a specific goal or target in mind so routinely stalled out, plateaued or stopped training all together. Before I joined JKC I was definitely in a fitness slump and needed something to motivate me and get me back on track. I did a bit of digging online, looking at various personal training options and gyms around town but JKC seemed like the best option by far. I’ve tried big box gyms and other personal trainers in the past but none of them have had the perfect combination of goal specific fitness programming, welcoming and supportive environment, and the knowledge and passion to back it all up that you’ll find at JKC. Jon and Thomas are great to work with, they know how to motivate you if you’re having an off day and are well versed in all the different ways to make your muscles burn! I also have noticed some major improvements in my deadlifts since I started with JKC and was really happy with the result.

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