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 had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

cas dyke

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I had built up a number of muscle imbalances from old injuries and activities like rock climbing which had led to some really bad posture and mobility issues. On top of that some friends had convinced me to sign up for a half-ironman. Working with Jon and Thomas was a way to pull my body back into alignment and make sure it wouldn’t fall apart during my race. The staff at JKC pride themselves on continuously advancing their knowledge, which leads to new and inventive way to address problems, old and new. I got my Dad to start training here and recommended JKC to all looking to improve their strength and fitness.

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.

I heard somewhere that achieving your health goals is determined largely by what you do in the kitchen. I am grateful to have found Julia who brought direction and accountability to this most important piece for me. Having Julia in my corner has brought me confidence and certainty that I am on my way to achieving my goals. I highly recommend her if you are serious about making a change and feeling better about your health.

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