These are amazing—so good you'll want to double the recipe and freeze some. Canned beans work well here, since their super-soft texture and their mild flavor makes them very amenable to other seasonings. Letting the bean mixture and the patties rest for a few minutes helps keep the burgers from falling apart. If you have time, you can put he patties in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate them for an hour (or up to a day), or freeze for up to a month; let them return to room temperature before cooking. —Mark Bittman
4 to 8 servings
cooked or drained canned white, black, or red beans or chickpeas or lentils
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Put the beans, onion, oats, and chili powder in a food processor with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let the machine run, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is thoroughly combined but not puréed, about a minute. (If you don't have a machine, use a potato masher and a large bowl.)
Let the mixture sit in the processor for 5 minutes. You want a moist consistency that will easily form cakes. If the mixture is too wet, add more oats, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it's too dry, add bean?cooking liquid or water 1 tablespoon at a time. Pulse (or mash) after each addition.
Shape the bean mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties and put them on the baking sheet. Let them sit for another 5 minutes.
Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the patties. Cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on one side, 3 to 8 minutes. Add more oil if the pan looks dry, then turn them over carefully with a spatula and cook on the other side until the burgers feel firm and are browned on the other side too, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm with side dishes or on buns with the usual burger fixings.
My books include the bestselling How to Cook Everything and Vegan Before 6 P.M. (VB6), where I provide all the necessary tools for making the switch to a Flexitarian diet with lists for stocking the pantry, strategies for eating away from home in a variety of situations, pointers for making cooking on a daily basis both convenient and enjoyable, and a complete 28-day eating plan showing VB6 in action.