Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Garlic Tahini Dressing

I think it’s pretty safe to say that spring is here and is staying. Which of course in NYC means it will be nice for a couple weeks and then turn ridiculously hot and muggy in no time. I’d like to be an optimist about this and say that everything’s going to be all 74 and gorgeous for the foreseeable future, but I can’t help but also be a realist. So with summer on the horizon I decided to whip up a new burger. After all, isn’t a good burger perfect for those summer afternoons or evenings?

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R and I spend a fair amount of time outside the city here and there throughout the summer taking advantage of the beaches that are in the area. Fair skinned as I am, by “taking advantage of the beaches” I mean we get up ridiculously early and park our butts on the beach with coffee and breakfast before all the other people show up and the sun gets too intense. It’s incredibly peaceful and means that we’re usually off the beach and to his brother’s pool by lunchtime. And while we’re enjoying a cool off in the pool someone usually starts up the grill and we bust out our frozen cardboard-tasting veggie burgers we picked up from the store on the way over. I’ve been getting a little strange about buying pre-packaged foods as of late, and after creating my southwestern chickpea sweet potato quinoa burgers, I wanted another option that was quick and easy that we could  bring with us and throw on the grill when the need strikes, without having to deal with any strange ingredients or preservatives. And after taking a stab at a black bean version, I’m even more convinced I can make up a couple batches of both, toss them in the freezer, and be good to go for the summer.

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I opted to go with a simple black bean and quinoa as the base for this burger to keep it really quick and easy to encourage myself to make them again in the future. I’ve noticed sometimes the less ingredients I have to deal with, the more likely I am to whip up a recipe again. And I think this was the perfect mixture of simple and ease. In order to get some greens snuck in as well, I tossed in some spinach and cilantro to the mix.

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I’ve been really surprised by how easy burgers are to make. It’s literally as simple and tossing all the ingredients into the food processor, or just mashing it all up with a potato masher if I’m feeling real lazy, and forming into burgers and baking for a bit. Tada! Simple. So simple.

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Of course I couldn’t just go with plain old ketchup and mustard for the topping on the burger. While the burgers were cooking away in the oven I decided to whip up a tahini dressing to go with. Because doesn’t everyone like a little extra flavor? Speaking of flavor, this burger was jam-packed with it. I wanted something a little different so I upped the coriander and held back on the cumin. I just think cumin and black beans are such an obvious choice for burger flavors I wanted to experiment with it. And what did I learn? Well cumin is pretty great with black beans. But coriander gave it a whole new dimension that I wasn’t expecting, and it went great with the tahini dressing so it was a tasty surprise it turned out so well.


What if you’re not feeling tahini? Well, ketchup and mustard would be just fine. I’m sure while we’re out at the pool this summer we’ll be going with straight up normal condiments. And all will still be delicious. I highly recommend serving with a side of shoestring rosemary sweet potato fries and tomato and avocado for a complete delicious summer meal.

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What are some of your favorite summer foods and excursions?

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Garlic Tahini Dressing

  • Servings: makes 8 burgers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What You’ll Need for Burgers:

  • 1 15 ounce can plus 1/2 cup black beans
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • dash salt & pepper
  • avocado, tomato, & lettuce for garnishing

What You’ll Need for Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 lemon juice (approximately 1 tablespoon)

What You’ll Do: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and start by rinsing and draining your quinoa. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and the 3/4 cup quinoa to a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down low so the quinoa simmers until all the water is absorbed. (about 10-15 minutes) Optional: If you’re also making sweet potato fries, preheat your oven to 425 and toss the potatoes into the oven while the quinoa cooks. (about 10 minutes depending on how small your shoestrings are) They’ll be done in about 10 minutes and you can keep them warm until the burgers are ready. 
  2. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add all the burger ingredients to a food processor and process until the greens are broken down and everything is well incorporated. If you like, you can start with the greens and add the beans and quinoa in after for an even quicker process. If you have a small processor like me, it’s easiest to work in batches and half the ingredients to make sure everything’s broken down (especially the greens)
  3. Form the mixture into burgers about the size of those you’ll want for your buns. I made mine a bit generous, and got 8 burgers out of the total. If you made them smaller or bigger that number could change.
  4. Place the burgers on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes on each side, or until the outsides begin to get a bit crispy and the burgers are firmer.
  5. While the burgers are cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
  6. After the burgers have cooled enough to handle, place them on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Top with the tahini dressing and enjoy!


12 responses to “Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Garlic Tahini Dressing

  1. This looks so good – perfect preview to summer meal! I appreciate your pics and step-by-step instructions too! Makes it more possible for me to make it! 🙂

  2. Thank you for such a detailed and delicious recipe! I will definitely put this in my “keepers” file. Like you, I am one to repeat good, easy recipes with few ingredients (and add my own twists along the way). The fact that you can just bake these is even more appealing to me. Sometimes when you pan-fry them, it seems the insides don’t get cooked all the way through, right?

    • Thank you so much, it is such an honor when I hear people making my recipes. Gives me a big smile. 🙂 I love baking too – and agree, sometimes the pan frying doesn’t really do it for me either.

  3. I’ve got the quinoa cooked, the fries prepped and the black beans drained. Think I’ll make the burgers a bit small and put them in a wrap. I’ll post some photos tomorrow and link back to you.

  4. Pingback: Things Fall Apart – But that’s okay. | The Benevolent Vegan·

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by. I actually had no problem keeping these together. After running them through the food processor I was actually worried they were too sticky/moist – so definitely didn’t have a crumbling issue at all. Just make sure you get everything well broken down and you should be just fine. 🙂

  5. Pingback: My Favorite Vegan & Gluten-free Substitutions | Girl Eats Greens·

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