Weeknight Cooking

Renew Your Vows with Canned Beans (& Veggie Burgers)

March 30, 2015

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: How can you be awarded a doctorate in Bean Studies? First, you must turn a can of white beans into an all-purpose, good-a-million-ways veggie burger.

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In the lovely corner of the internet called Orangette, proprietress Molly Wizenberg recently wrote about the importance of being a “bean doctor.” The lowly, oft-snubbed can of beans hiding in the back of your pantry, she notes, is an unlikely gateway to many a delicious meal situation, if only you know what to do with it. 

I am very ready to become a bean doctor, especially because at this time in my educational career I think that is the only doctorate program for which I am eligible. I meet all of the prerequisites: I buy cans of beans often, with no plan in mind, which then languish in my cupboard until I move away. My bean recipe quiver is full of such sharp arrows as “Hummus” and “Just Add Them To These Tacos I Guess.” I am a ready learner and an enthusiastic try-er out-er. I can totally figure out being a bean doctor! With Molly as my inspiration, I pulled a can of white beans out from under a half-eaten sack of chocolate chips and hit the internet running. 

These burgers are a hybrid of a handful of recipes that I came across, and man, I really dig them. I kept them simple (no onions or breadcrumbs, and one bowl only) but decidedly not vegan (always more cheese, always), with a big flavor hit from the storied mash-up of sun-dried tomato and basil. I gobbled these guys up — on bread, in salads, by themselves straight from the pan — and then marched to the market to re-up on beans. Thank you Molly. I feel smarter already. 

Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, and White Bean Burgers

Makes about 8 patties


15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained (I used navy!)

cup cooked quinoa

cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (heaping! you can't have too many, too be honest) roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I had the dry kind, rather than the sort packed in oil, and I used 8 tomatoes)

teaspoon lemon juice

cup packed fresh basil, chopped

teaspoons flour (most anything will work -- I used rice flour but all-purpose is perfect)

cup grated Parmesan

Big pinch chili powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

See the full recipe (and save and print it here).

Photo by Bobbi Lin

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bklyncook August 23, 2018
I have everything except for the sun dried tomatoes. Perhaps I can make an oven dried version to substitute ?
Emily May 29, 2016
These are amazing! They've entered permanent rotation in my house. Very forgiving as well--I've made them with black beans instead of white, added chopped roasted pepitas, olives, and shredded carrot (though not all in the same batch). I've been searching for a great veggie burger recipe for years and am so happy to have finally found one! Try with a toasted English muffin instead of a hamburger bun. I find the buns have a too high bread-to-patty ratio.
Nicole W. May 6, 2015
What can I use to substitute quinoa?
Michelle D. April 15, 2015
any ideas for getting these to hold together without eggs?
SYLVIE H. April 22, 2015
Allison B. March 30, 2015
i love parm, but my family is dairy free for lent - and these look fantastic. what would you recommend as a way to pump up the flavor in these without parm? (and we'll definitely be making these with cheese after lent. they look great.)
liz March 30, 2015
Nutritional yeast would be good, IMO.