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On tonight’s menu: burgers and fries…with a twist! These low-fat black bean burgers are ridiculously easy to make – and a lot more nutritious than anything you’ll pull out of the freezer.  And if you’re wondering what to do with leftover polenta (like I had from my batch of Polenta with Mushroom-Spinach Ragout), search no more!

Black Bean Burgers


  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp finely minced onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup diced mild chiles (I used canned green chiles)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or lightly oil a baking sheet.

Heat black beans in the microwave in a medium-sized (microwave safe) mixing bowl for 30-60 seconds (not essential, but I think it makes the next step easier).  With a potato masher or fork, mash the beans well, leaving some partial beans, but mostly paste.

Add remaining ingredients to bean mixture and mix well.

With your hands, form mixture into 4 patties and place on baking sheet. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turn over and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until outside of patties begin to crisp up.

Serve these burgers with whatever condiments you have on hand – salsa would be especially yummy, but ketchup and mustard work fine too!

Seasoned Polenta Fries


  • Crispy polenta (see recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • sea salt
  • chile powder


Cut polenta into strips.  In a large skillet, heat the corn oil over medium-high heat.  Add polenta strips and cook, turning a couple of times, until browned – approximately 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt and chile powder to taste. 

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