Black Bean Burgers

These easy and delicious black bean burgers are a healthy swap for any holiday barbecue.

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Want to grill something a little healthier than hot dogs this summer? These vegan black bean burgers are a delicious alternative to the fatty, high-cholesterol barbecue staples that will blow your diet and expand your waistline. Wheat gluten gives these patties a texture that won’t fall apart on you, plus they’re chock full of legumes to keep you fuller for longer. Swap the bun for whole-wheat pitas if you’re going vegan.

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

Prep Time: 25 min. | Cook Time: 10 min.


  • 2 cups or 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (also called seitan)*
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 whole-wheat buns, warmed or grilled (or substitute whole-wheat pita bread)


  1. Light your grill.
  2. Mash the beans against the edge of a mixing bowl with a fork. You can leave some unmashed bits, but no whole beans once you’re finished.
  3. Add the wheat gluten, whole-wheat bread crumbs, chili powder, cumin, water, tomato paste, cilantro, minced garlic and chopped shallot.
  4. Knead the mixture together with your hands for about a minute, or until all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Divide the mixture into 6 uniform balls. Use your palm to press each ball down to form a patty about 1½-inch thick.
  6. Place patties on the grill near the edge (they cook best over medium heat) for about 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Place on the buns or cut the tops of the pita pockets to open the. Use tongs to fit one patty inside each pocket before adding desired toppings.

Topping Suggestions

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • 1 Large vine ripened tomato, sliced
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salsa (whatever you’re tasting)

*Vital wheat gluten is a natural protein found in wheat. It can be added to yeast bread recipes to improve elasticity and texture, but it can also be used to make a meat substitute called seitan. You can find it at places like Whole Foods and some grocery stores.