Beans, rice, and everything nice are combined in these tasty, protein-packed burgers and topped with cheese, for a satisfying dairy meal. Allow 45 minutes for the burgers to chill before you cook them. —tw
small onion, peeled and grated
Cubanelle (pale green and sweet) peppers, cut into ¼-inch cubes, stem, ribs and seeds removed
fresh oregano leaves
freshly ground black pepper
cloves garlic, peeled and grated, any green center removed
Goya Crackers, saltines, or soda crackers, finely crushed
cooked black beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed, divided
cream cheese, room temperature
cooked white rice
large Hawaiian or Portuguese rolls (challah rolls or potato rolls are a fine substitution)
grated Manchego cheese
queso fresco or mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium to large cast iron pan or heavy sauté pan over high heat, until it is hot and shimmers. Add the grated onion, cubanelle pepper, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes and set aside. Place the crackers into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse for about 2 minutes, until pulverized into bread crumbs crumbs. Add 1 cup of the cooked black beans to the processor and pulse until smooth but just slightly chunky. Add the cream cheese, eggs, and pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until fully combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining black beans, the rice, and the cooked vegetable mixture. Mix to combine and form into patties, 4 inches in diameter by 1½ inches thick (or whatever size you need to fit your rolls).
Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray and line it with parchment paper. Place the patties on the sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, until chilled.
Just before you are ready to cook the patties, toast the rolls and keep warm.
Heat a flat grill, or rinse and wipe out the sauté pan and set it over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and when the oil shimmers, place the patties into the pan in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turn gently, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, searing and crisping each side. Top the seared burgers with equal amounts of Manchego and queso fresco or mozzarella, and tent with foil or a tall cover that doesn’t touch the cheese. Allow to melt for 3 to 5 minutes. With a spatula, place a finished burger on each of the toasted buns, garnish with pickle slices and serve with mayo and mustard.