Black Bean Burgers

School started up again this week and with the craziness of life sometimes it’s hard to eat right.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

During the holidays I didn’t fall too far off the wagon, but I find myself eyeing bags of Tostitos and big blocks of cheese at the grocery store instead of my regular hummus or almonds.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

With the craziness of life, whether it be back to work or school, I like having a bunch of black bean patties on hand so that I can grill/fry them up whenever I need a quick fix that satisfies both my healthy girl needs and that holiday chip devourer I was a few weeks ago. I hope you like them too!

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

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Place 3 cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth.

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In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture and toasted panko. Stir together until evenly combined.

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Place half of the mashed bean mixture in a food processor along with bell pepper and shallot and blend together until the red pepper looks nicely blended into the beans. Add this mixture back to the bowl with the mashed beans.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties, and they’re ready to cook. Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Black Bean Burgers
slightly adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
Makes 6-7 burgers

Ingredients:
Patties
1 cup panko
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans (3 cups), drained and rinsed, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1 shallot, minced

Toppings
Sharp Cheddar
Avocado
Tomato
Red onion slice

Directions:
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place 3 cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture and toasted panko. Stir together until evenly combined.

Place half of the mashed bean mixture in a food processor along with bell pepper and shallot and blend together until the red pepper looks nicely blended into the beans. Add this mixture back to the bowl with the mashed beans.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties. (At this point the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.)

To cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.

Serve with whatever toppings you have on hand!

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Kick Ass Black Bean Skillet Nachos

I feel like I’m getting on this train late, but have you noticed that pretty much anything can be baked in a well seasoned cast iron skillet?!

The idea is pure genius. I have an unreasonable amount of recipes bookmarked under “skillet meals” like this fun breakfast idea, this cookie and this monkey bread. People are freaking creative!

I’ve seen skillet nachos on blogs before, so I can not take credit for the genius behind this recipe, but I used what little knowledge I had about baking things with a skillet, threw some nacho fixings in a pan, and went to town.

There’s something about nachos that has me giddy. It must be the cheese, sour cream and salsa mixture with those salty tortilla chips…the other fixings are optional, but with the right ratio, this skillet recipe is deadly!

To make this, turn on your oven broiler. Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

Heaven.

Black Bean Skillet Nachos
Serves 2
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Original

Ingredients:
2 Handfuls of good quality tortilla chips
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Nacho toppings to bake: jalapenos, chopped scallions, olives, corn, goats cheese and sauteed onions
Post oven toppings: avocado, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Directions:
Turn on the broiler in your oven.

Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

So easy, and so, so, delicious!

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad

After my sister and I were about 3 km (1.9 miles) in to our 6.5 km walk today, I noticed that I did not have any sunscreen on…or any protective clothing or water in my backpack. It’s 33 degrees C (90 F) outside.

Shit. Yes, that was the only word that came to me. Now I’m at home, can barely touch my arms, and find sitting painful. WOO HOO! Sunscreen matters people. Don’t be silly like me.

Since my brain and body are a bit fried, I can only handle cold salads and ice cream right now. That’s it! And this salad is perrrrfect! It’s filled with black beans and grapefruit and totally made me happy.

Hope you like it too! I recommend in on non brain-fried days as well.

To make this, bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing.

Toss well and serve.

Now that’s a summer salad.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Serves 5-6

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, minced
1 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off’
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe but firm) avocado, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, minced (optional)

Dressing:
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing. Toss well and serve.

Salad will keep in sealed tupperware containers for up to five days in the fridge.

Huevos Rancheros Wraps

I have to tell you about this woman that lives on the first floor of my building. You see, I haven’t actually met her, but I HAVE met some of her cats. Well, kind of.

My parking space is just outside of this woman’s apartment and pretty much every day I can see a kitty sleeping in the window – it’s always such a pleasant surprise. Today I saw cat number 7. I am not kidding.

SEVEN cats! First I saw a short haired black kitty, then a long haired black kitty, then 4 more and then today I saw lucky cat number seven. A white fluffy kitty was sitting in the window. Is this allowed?? Who knew crazy cat women actually existed?? I’m here to tell you that they do. And am unsure if I need to call the pet shelter…but that’s another matter. On to these wraps!!

To begin, heat butter over medium high heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through (I scrambled mine).

Mmmm….

Heat the tortillas in a frying pan.

Layer the black beans on the warm tortilla.

Add fried eggs and cheese.

Top it off with cheese, salsa, slices of avocado and cilantro. Be careful to leave room so you can wrap up your tortilla!

Enjoy!

Huevos Rancheros Wraps
Recipe taken from Eat Live Run
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large whole grain tortillas
8 eggs
1 avocado
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, minced
Salsa
Vegetable oil to fry eggs

Directions:
Heat oil or butter over medium high heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through (you can either scramble or keep the yolks whole).

Heat the tortillas, then layer black beans, fried eggs, salsa, slices of avocado and cilantro in each. Be careful to leave room so you can wrap up your tortilla!

To make a closed end wrap (like mine), fold both the right and the left edges over the filling and roll from the bottom. Then cut the wrap in half with a sharp knife and enjoy!

Costa Rican Black Beans and Butter Honey Plantains

Anyone else ready for summer? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good winter ski, snowmobile ride, or outdoor hot tub party, but I am missing the beach!

I grew up in a little town in Ontario where beaches are everywhere. In fact, my Grandparents (where I spent most of my time) live on a beach, my cottage is on a beach, and my high school was in 5 minutes walking distance to a beach. Geeze…just writing that makes me homesick!

Luckily, my vacation in Costa Rica brought some darn great ocean views. Tropical wise, I’ve only ever been to Cuba (two times) and Mexico, but Costa Rica has by far the best beaches.

To make me feel sexy like a Costa Rican tropical again, I threw together this awesome Costa Rican meal! Saucy black beans, brown rice, and some scream worthy butter honey plantains. You need to make this. Like now.

To begin, get your brown rice cooking and get out your ingredients: black beans, onion, lime, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, veggie broth, chili and garlic (I guess it’s missing in this photo!)

After about 10 minutes, start cooking your black beans by first heating a medium skillet over medium heat and adding canola oil. Once shimmering, cook your onion until translucent.

Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has cooked off a bit, about 30-60 seconds.

Add the beans to the pan and using a wooden spatula, smash about half of the beans.

Stir in the veggie broth, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld and most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

The plantains only take about 10 minutes so these can be made right after you start your beans. First, melt butter and add plantains in a single layer.

Cook plantains on each side, for about 3 minutes, or until they reach a caramelized brown color. Drizzle with honey just before they are ready. Transfer to a plate covered with paper towel and allow to drain for a minute.

Now you can get to plating. Add a scoop of brown rice on your plate. Add half the black beans. Add half of the plantains and you’re done! If you want to be fancy (or awesome) you could add some chopped scallions or cilantro. My boy loooooves cilantro so of course he threw a giant handful on top and mixed it all around.

Costa Rican Black Beans
Recipe adapted from Smells Like Home
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaf
2 cans (15 1/2 oz) of black beans, ( 1 can drained and rinsed, 1 whole can)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)

Directions:
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the canola oil. Once shimmering, cook the onion until translucent. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has cooked off a bit, about 30-60 seconds.

Add the beans to the pan. One can should be drained and rinsed and the other should be put in juice and all. Using a wooden spatula or potato masher, smash the beans until about half are mashed up. Stir in the veggie broth, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Your beans should be “soupy” and that is a GOOD thing! Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld and most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

If desired, sprinkle cilantro.

Butter Honey Plantains
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ripe (almost black) plantain, peeled and sliced in 1 inch slices
2 tablespoons butter
Drizzle of honey

Directions:
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt butter.

Add plantains, in a single layer. Cook plantains on each side, for about 3 minutes, or until they reach a caramelized brown color. Drizzle with honey just before they are ready.

Transfer to a plate covered with paper towel and allow to drain for a minute.