Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chili's Guiltless Black Bean Burger

Mike has started a new job that requires about 50% travel. Everyone knows what a nightmare it is to try to eat well when traveling. The portions are huge, the fat and sodium are extremely high, fiber is non-existent and you can hardly find a whole grain product. Last week, while flying to Houston, via Charlotte, NC Mike had dinner at Chili's Grill & Bar. He tried their guiltless black bean burger with steamed vegetables. He liked it. When he got home I thought I would try to duplicate it. I found a website called The Recipe Link which describes itself as "Your Guide To What's Cooking on the Net!" They lifted this recipe from a book called Famous Restaurant Recipes: Copycat Recipes From America's Favorite Dishes written by Sallie Stone. 

Late Sunday I put the burgers together and I just couldn't bring myself to cook them. The thought of mushy beans acting like a hamburger just didn't appeal to me. Yesterday I finally got up the nerve and cooked them. Yes - they do mash when you bite them but they turned out quite tasty and you feel pretty good about yourself finally figuring out how to eat the beans that nutritionists have been telling us to eat for years. I have adapted her recipe a bit to help reduce calories.

Chili's Guiltless Black Bean Burgers

For The Black Bean Burgers:
  • 1-1/2 cans black beans (24 ounces), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped white or red onion
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • about 1/2 of an egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (fresh works best)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Sandwich:
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • low-fat ranch dressing
  • shredded lettuce
  • tomato slices
  • pickles
  • red onion
  1. Mix one egg in a bowl (Only use half the mixture)
  2. Combine black beans, onion, bell pepper, cayenne, egg, bread crumbs and herb in a food processor and blend. If mixture is to wet to shape into patties, add more bread crumbs.
  3. Form and shape into four patties. For best results make 24 hours ahead and refrigerate so patties will set well.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry patties for 3 minutes on each side. They should be crisp on the outside and hot in the middle.
  5. Arrange sandwich with patty, low fat dressing, red onion, pickles and tomato.
I read many of the comments that were made about this burger. One man said he eats this without a bun served atop basmati brown rice and topped with mango salsa. That sounds good to me. Life is good- enjoy!

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