Black Bean Burgers with Beet, Red Onion & Orange Salsa

Let me just preface this recipe post by saying that before my relationship with Pete, I never properly cooked. During family gatherings or holidays, I dreaded potentially having to bring an item of food or help out in the kitchen. I was the girl who went to the grocery store the day of a 4th of July barbecue to buy whatever version of potato salad they still had left in stock. I liked the idea of cooking. I had shiny kitchen gadgets! I dog-eared recipe books and favorited baking websites, but that was the extent of my energy spent in or around the kitchen. My meals consisted of chicken tenders with fries, frozen pizza, ground beef burgers or if I was feeling really energetic, ground beef tacos! It came as no surprise that my cholesterol was through the roof during this time.

I remember when Pete and I had one of our first “dates,” he came over to my apartment and we made dinner together. We walked hand in hand at the local ACME while browsing fresh produce. I remember thinking to myself “Have I ever had basil? Do I like basil? What if he makes me this amazing basil-centric dinner and I hate the main ingredient?” I was a twenty-five-year-old who had never ventured far from whatever aisles had processed cheese, snacks and meat. The evening ended with us making caprese salad (turns out I love basil) and some amazing, Ricotta-based pasta dish which Pete conjured up.

After that evening, I was officially ecstatic about food. I looked forward to spending time together with Pete, cooking meals and trying out new recipes. He surprised me with a subscription to Everyday Food, which may or may not be one of the most thrilling times of the month when we receive a new issue in the mail. I love thumbing through the mini magazine to jot down a grocery list for the weeks ahead. Since we began living together, our diet has gone in more of a vegetarian direction. That’s not to say I won’t instantly eat a bacon-infused cheeseburger if given the chance, but for the most part, our fridge is stocked with vegetables and on occasion, seafood.

That being said, we had been anxious to try out a black bean burger recipe as of late, to see if they would be worthy of future backyard barbecue shenanigans. We found a recipe on Everyday Food for the burgers, which we combined with a beet, red onion and orange salsa recipe from Epicurious. Pete’s mom had recommended the salsa recipe, and after sampling some of it at her house, I was looking forward to making some of my own to top on our burgers.

I began by heating one tablespoon of oil in a skillet and adding onion, red pepper and garlic. Once they were translucent, I added cumin and ketchup and cooked everything for a minute before adding them to a food processor along with a wee bit of rice and beans (specific measurements can be found on the link mentioned above).

After making sure the ingredients were well combined, I transfered them to a large bowl and added breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and a bit of hot sauce.

I mixed a bit too much for our two burgers, so I made them extra thick. I’d recommend flattening them out more, but overall they worked out well and (surprisingly) didn’t fall apart.

Meanwhile, I was boiling beets for the salsa recipe, which called for olive oil, lemon juice and honey to be mixed into a small bowl.

Once the beets cooled off, I chopped two to add to the salsa bowl.

Finally, I mixed in chopped orange, red onion and pitted green Greek olives and stirred everything before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Here is a glimpse at our black bean burgers with spinach salads, which included goat cheese, beets, walnuts, pomegranate craisins and avocado slices with balsamic vinaigrette. I apologize for the blurry photos, I was in a rush to devour my dinner and didn’t snap the most flattering pictures. Also, what may appear to be a pitcher of urine in the background was in fact lemon/orange-infused water, I promise. Anyway, our final verdict was that we’d definitely like to offer these for upcoming barbecue shindigs, along with a “normal” option for those Ron Swanson-esque meat lovers out there.

I’d like to start sharing more of our cooking adventures now that we are settled in at our new home, so brace yourself for more foodie posts in the future! My friend Kerry, who is a culinary god in my (somewhat biased) opinion, introduced me to Foodgawker, where I have become hooked on “heart-ing” recipes to store away for upcoming meals.

So tell me, has anyone else become more enthusiastic about cooking because someone important in their life has influenced them in the kitchen?

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11 thoughts on “Black Bean Burgers with Beet, Red Onion & Orange Salsa”

  1. Black bean burgers are SO good! I started making them recently and my husband said the other day he liked them as much, if not more (!) than regular beef burgers. This is huge for him, he’s a meat and potatoes man.

    I make black bean burgers with half bread crumbs, half oats as the binder and I mix in a couple tablespoons of salsa, some cumin and salt, and a chipotle pepper (the kind in adobo sauce that come in a can). So good! I suggest trying the chipotle pepper in yours if you like spice. It gives it a really good smoky/spicy flavor.

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    1. I know, I was so surprised by how much I liked them, even almost as much, if not more than beef burgers. I had made chickpea burgers before and I enjoyed them but definitely didn’t consider them to be competition to your average beef burger.

      Mmm, your recipe sounds amazing with the salsa and oats. I’ll definitely add some pepper next time for a kick, it sounds delicious.

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  2. Ever since I got a ‘real’ kitchen with room, I want start cooking! I also have more of an impulse to bake stuff, now that there’s room to spread out. It’s hard to want to make things in the kitchen when you can stand in the middle, stretch your arms out, and be touching both walls:(

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    1. Your new kitchen is fabulous, I am so in love with the metal looking backsplash! I’m just glad we moved the IKEA bookshelf into the kitchen to make more room for storage, or we wouldn’t have any counter space in this house.

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  3. I’m willing to try a black bean burger if you make it for me! The salsa looks so yummy and you know how I feel about spinach salad. Yum. Chickpea burgers are definitely NOT appealing to me ~ not a fan at all. I NEED a ricotta- based pasta recipe, Pete.

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  4. This looks amaaazing!! I bought some black beans and beets at the farmer’s market this past week, so I might just have to give this one a try! I had my first black bean burger about a month ago at Iron Hill Brewery in our area and it was delicious, so I’ve been wanting to try making one myself.

    Also, I think it’s so cool that you’ve discovered your love for cooking and food while you and Pete have been together. Mike and I similarly found our palates at the same time while we cooked together and tried new things, and it has definitely brought us closer together!

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