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 started strength training at JKC in the Spring of 2021. I am in my 60’s but happy to say I feel much younger since joining this gym. I joined JKC upon the advice of a doctor. I went through some difficult medical issues last year, that’s when one of my doctors recommended strength training at JKC. I have been physically active most of my adult life but mainly running and completed many road races as I am a distance runner. Strength training has definitely benefited me by increasing my stamina and energy. It sure has enhanced my recovery over the past year. I have the added benefit of becoming a stronger runner as well.

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

JKC is different from other gyms/fitness regimes I have tried in the past because of my level of comfort with the facility and other JKC clients and the amount of knowledge both Jon and Thomas demonstrate through personal attention to form, core development and overall strength is outstanding. JKC is by far the best training hands on attention that I’ve experienced period and I have experienced many over a lifetime of activity and playing various sports. The facility has everything you require plus, as you will learn there are many ways to use every piece of equipment and Jon and Thomas are very creative! There are many age groups and professions who attend this gym from elite athlete’s to the rest of us and the casual but focused atmosphere in the gym makes each visit interesting, friendly and challenging at all levels.

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

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