A few weeks ago Gas Monkey and I had dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. This is one of our favorite restaurants (even though it is a chain), because their beer is delicious. The Little Italy Chicken sandwich I enjoyed inspired me to make this black bean burger with an Italian twist.
Italian Zucchini Black Bean Burgers
- 16 oz of drained black beans
- 1/2 cup of shredded zucchini, with as much water squeezed out as physically possible
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/3 cup of Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Fresh mozzarella
- 4 buns (makes four small burgers, or three large burgers)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the first 13 ingredients. Mash and mash until the beans have been broken up. Form patties, making special effort to smash the ingredients together. Beware: bean burgers are not meat, and if they are too moist they can fall apart.
- I try to cook these on a George Foreman, because there is no flipping involved, and therefore no breaking apart. You could also cook in a pan. Cook until heated all the way through.
- Before taking burgers off of the grill, add the mozzarella. Once the mozzarella has melted, remove burgers and put on bun.
- Dress with tomatoes, spinach, and spread the pesto on the bun. Serve and enjoy.
Can you imagine the look on Gas Monkey's face the first time I served him a bean burger? He looked at it like it was some sort of cruel punishment. Gas Monkey is from Wyoming and Montana - arguably the biggest meat states in the country. Real men eat meat. Gas Monkey's dad is a contractor and builds beautiful log cabins, so Gas Monkey was raised on a construction site. Not only was he a carnivore, but being a carnivore was his heritage.
When Gas Monkey was in college, his parents unfortunately split. Being a poor college student (and a boy) his culinary skills were pretty much limited to pasta (he skills have now expanded to grilling). One day he went to his dad's house, and being the good son that he is, made dinner. He knew that his dad was working hard and would like to come home to a home-cooked meal. So what did Gas Monkey make? Pasta of course! Good ol' spaghetti. Gas Monkey spent time lovingly making a warm meal for his dad. When his dad came home from work, Gas Monkey proudly put a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce in front of him, eagerly awaiting oohs and ahhs. His dad's immediate response, "Where's the meat?" The man had never heard of such sacrilege as spaghetti with no meat. In other words, no black bean burgers for the future father-in-law.