Ethical Eats

Brought to you by Oxfam @ Queen's

Big-Boy Bean Burgers

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For the most part I am pretty content eating vegetarian, not only is the food cheaper in general (which is fantastic as a student!) but there’s the obvious ethical component that gives me a sense of empowerment that I am hurting the planet less. Despite these motivating factors to be a vegetarian, I sometimes get a strong desire for a juicy sirloin or a hefty all-beef burger that takes two hands to eat. Enter: Big-Boy Bean Burgers.

soooo scrumptious!

Soooo scrumptious!

Mama gave me a great recipe for some delicious rice and bean burgers that go part of the way in filling the void in my heart left by meat. These patties give you the hearty experience you look for in a good burger, with light earthy qualities from the thyme and a fresh, crisp flavour from the green peppers. Here’s what you need to make the burgers:

  • 1 1/2 cups of brown rice (not parboiled variety)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 1/2 oz. canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 1/2 oz. canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • flour or cornmeal, for coating
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

30 minutes Prep – 10 minutes cook – Makes 10
(not including refrigeration, go watch some Shameless in that time!)

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package, allowing it to slightly overcook so that it is soft. Drain the rice, transfer it to a large bowl, and reserve.

Put 2 tablespoons water and the Worcestershire sauce in a skillet, add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Put the onions, garlic, cooked rice, beans, bread crumbs, egg, cheese and thyme in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to your own liking (I usually add way more pepper) then blend until combined. I usually get down and dirty instead of blending, instead opting to mash everything in a mixing bowl either by hand or a potato masher. Add the bell pepper and grated carrot and mix well. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 1/2 hours, or until quite firm. (Rarely takes me that long)

Shape the mixture into 10 burgers, using wet hands if the mixture sticks. Coat them in flour or cornmeal – Freeze the ones you plan on saving for later fun times – they’ll be ready to go when you want them.

Heat the oil in a  skillet and fry the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until piping hot.

Voilà! Great burgers!

I like to serve on fresh buns from either John’s or Wolfe Island Bakery, sometimes add in a fried egg with cheddar for some added protein, red tomato slices, avocado, and some Dijon mustard!

Cooking should be fun – a chance to break the rules and try new things so take these as guidelines to making great burgers, I rarely follow them directly myself. Other ideas can be using Quinoa instead of rice, mixing in cilantro in substitution for thyme or some jalapeños for a spicy punch.

Let me know what great combinations you come up with!


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