Blend

Black Bean–Chipotle Falafel Burgers From Joe Yonan

February  4, 2020
13 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
Author Notes

The secret behind this brilliant veggie burger recipe was right in front of us. As author Joe Yonan writes, "In the ongoing quest for the perfect veggie burger recipe, at a certain point a realization occurs: wasn’t the perfect veggie burger created long ago—in falafel? Soaking but not precooking the beans, it turns out, is a good hedge against the curse of mushiness that befalls so many of this ilk. I grind the soaked beans with appropriate seasonings—chipotle and cilantro—along with the requisite onion and garlic, fold in some cooked sweet potato for extra binding power, and finish cooking in the skillet. The result boasts the crispy edges you love in falafel, plus a moist, but never mushy, interior."

The secret of the matching (also vegan) mayonnaise for these veggie burgers come from a newer era of discovery—aquafaba! (a.k.a. the powerful liquid from a can of chickpeas) Yonan continues, "News flash: You don’t need eggs to make mayonnaise, now that we’ve got aquafaba, the cooking liquid from chickpeas, which behaves much like egg whites. When I first tried it, I liked the results—but the mayo needed a little body, I thought. What better than a small amount of chickpeas to help thicken it up? Turns out I wasn’t the only one onto such an idea. My friends at Little Sesame in Washington, DC, told me they were doing the same thing. Great minds and all that. Note that it’s easiest to make it in a mini food processor or small bullet-style blender because larger machines often require more volume than this to work effectively, but you can also use an immersion (handheld) blender, especially if you have a jar with an opening big enough for the blender to fit into."

IMPORTANT FOOD SAFETY NOTE: Do not substitute for other bean varieties and be sure to cook your burgers thoroughly—raw beans have varying levels of a toxin that can cause food poisoning when not thoroughly soaked and cooked. See here for more food safety information from the FDA.

Recipes slightly adapted from "Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein" (Ten Speed Press, February 2020). —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Black Bean–Chipotle Falafel Burgers From Joe Yonan
  • Prep time 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 8 Burgers & 1 Cup Aioli
Ingredients
  • Falafel Burger
  • 1 cup dried black beans (do not substitute—see food safety note above), soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile (or substitute 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato (the easiest way is to poke the potato with a fork, microwave till soft, then peel and mash)
  • grapeseed or other neutral vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 soft burger buns, such as brioche or potato rolls, (optionally) lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup Chickpea Aioli (recipe follows) or vegan or traditional mayonnaise
  • Mustard, ketchup, or both (your choice)
  • 8 leaves romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • Flesh of 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Chickpea Aioli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (from one 15-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas)
  • 2 tablespoons cooked or canned no-salt-added chickpeas
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Falafel Burger
  2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, and chipotle and process until the mixture is the texture of very coarse cornmeal—it will look like a loose, pebbly mix; don't let it blend into mush. Fold the sweet potato in by hand, just to combine.
  3. Divide into eight portions (a heaping 1/3 cup apiece) and form by hand into patties about 1/2 inch thick. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. (You can refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)
  4. To fry the patties, heat the oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (It's very important to cook these burgers thoroughly—see food safety note above—so if it seems they're browning to quickly on the outside before the inside cooks, lower the heat or make your patties thinner.) Once it shimmers, add as many patties as will fit without overcrowding (leave at least an inch of space between them) and cook until crisp and deeply browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plates to drain. Add more oil if needed and repeat with the remaining patties.
  5. Serve on the burger buns, layered with the aioli and other condiments of your choice, and with the lettuce, avocado, onion, and tomato.
  1. Chickpea Aioli
  2. Cut open the garlic and remove any green sprout inside; this will keep the garlic from being too bitter when eaten raw.
  3. In a mini food processor or small bullet-style blender (or using an immersion blender), puree the garlic, aquafaba, chickpeas, mustard, and salt until smooth. With the processor running, drizzle in the oil, starting slowly and then feeling free to speed up once it starts thickening. (If using an immersion blender, you may need to blend for several minutes before the mixture will thicken.) When you’ve poured in all the oil and the aioli is thick, add the lemon juice and whir a few seconds just to combine. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.
  4. The aioli will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anthony Back
    Anthony Back
  • rob
    rob
  • caroberts77
    caroberts77
  • Dineindiva
    Dineindiva
  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

32 Reviews

JoAnne October 12, 2020
IMPORTANT FOOD SAFETY ISSUE: I made these for my family (used a different bean, not black beans). After we ate the burgers, we all felt a little *off* and then, in the night, my husband was throwing up. He suggested that it could have been the burgers, which seemed incredible to me, but when I researched on the Internet, I found that soaked, uncooked beans are actually toxic to the system. (See here, for example: https://www.statefoodsafety.com/Resources/Resources/toxic-beans.) Of course, the beans in this recipe are cooked, but they aren't cooked for long enough (at least not the way I made them) to eliminate the toxins. I have made falafel using the same technique but I think because they are smaller and deep fried, they end up being more thoroughly cooked. At any rate, just wanted to post to be sure that other people are aware.
 
Anthony B. September 2, 2020
Well...I found the soaked, uncooked, fried beans to be indigestible—the following morning! I like a lot of these genius recipes but would NOT make this again...
 
fricky1 August 16, 2020
When I fried mine, they didn't hold together very well (or at all.) Is that a sign of too much moisture? Also, I made 8 and cooked for three minutes per side, but the beans tasted raw to me. I soaked the beans approximately twelve hours, and the patties sat uncovered in the refrigerator for 7 hours before I cooked them. What changes would solve the consistency problem?
 
rob August 16, 2020
I baked the sweet potato so it was a bit denser and stickier.
 
fricky1 August 17, 2020
I did too. It was still pretty soft. Thanks for the thought though.
 
jtg August 31, 2020
Mine turned into delicious oily crumble - not a burger in sight...
HELP!
 
Leighatum June 2, 2020
This was the best burger I’ve ever had, period.
 
Mimu May 30, 2020
Ahhhh, raving review here. This burger is so delicious. Supersuper yummmm. First time I had to make it with smoked paprika + chili powder. Added a tiny scoop of black bean garlic paste. Worked just fine. Also, added handful of panko crumbs because my mixture was a bit moist. Worked out perfectly! Very important though to use ‘fresh’ dried beans and to leave them to soak overnight and then some. I soaked them for 24 hrs. I really do love this recipe, it made me order Joe’s book straight away.
 
rob May 26, 2020
Overall a successful recipe. The best falafel recipes do not cook the chickpeas but just soak them so I was ready for that slightly gritty mouth feel you get with traditional falafel. We have a house policy of not using cilantro/coriander so I substituted parsley. I also had no chipotle chile or adobo sauce from canned chipotles but I did have a dried chilli and some liquid smoke. Three drops of liquid smoke were enough with half a dried chilli.
 
rob May 26, 2020
I had to use the oven earlier in the day so I baked the sweet potato. This may have made the sweet potato a bit denser and more sticky.
 
caroberts77 April 23, 2020
Trying to eat less meat, I was really intrigued by this; especially after watching the video. I definitely liked it, I only made a half batch in case I hated it, but both the hubs and I dug it. I used parsley instead of cilantro, as I’m one of ‘those’ people. I think I put too much in though; it tasted too strongly of parsley. I also think that my garlic was much larger than the ones used in the video, it was almost overpowering for me and I LOVE garlic. So I’ll use smaller cloves or use less of large ones in the future. The only other change I made was using chili powder seasoning, just because I didn’t have the chipotle chili or the adobe sauce. I might up that next time, I couldn’t really taste it. I used the 1/3 cup measure, got 4 patties and a small test bit. The recommended 3 minute per side cooking time didn’t seem like enough to cook out the raw flavor though, admittedly I should have looked at how brown it was getting and not stick straightly to timing. Given the size bag of dried black beans I had to get in order to do this, I will definitely be trying it again. Someone on here had done them in their air fryer, definitely going to try that. I topped them with some extra sharp cheddar cheese, served on buns with pickled onions, lettuce, and tomato. Had a nice red wine to go with it and some spicy oven ‘fried’ potatoes. Really nice dinner.
 
Marlene L. April 18, 2020
Semi-fail. The beans didn’t apparently get soft enough even after soaking overnight. Following the instructions with 1/3 cup per Patty gave me seven patties, which apparently were too thick to cook all the way through. I needed to go back and microwave the patties after cooking them to ensure they were cooked all the way through. That helped a lot, but four cloves of garlic barely cooked through was a bit overpowering. So for next time, at least for me: a boiling soak to guarantee my beans are softer, fewer cloves of garlic, and definitely 8 patties not necessarily 1/3 cup to ensure they are thin enough to be well done. The outside really did brown up nicely and was delicious. So close, and yet so far. My family were willing guinea pigs but I will definitely try to do better next time I make these.
 
Angie May 5, 2020
I boiled my beans for 5 minutes then let them soak overnight, they were still too crunchy. I think next time I"m going to do the "soak" in my instant pot because the beans really needed a lot more liquid in them to make this.
 
Terri U. March 26, 2020
My whole family loved these... made them 'falafel' size and served in pitas. The chickpea aioli was better than I expected and we used it on many other things (drizzled on harissa roasted potatoes). Making again this week.
Note: My teen son who swears he hates black beans loved them.
 
Dineindiva March 2, 2020
The Aioli is delicious! My burgers, however, are weirdly crunchy.
 
Angie April 3, 2020
You might have had older beans that needed to soak longer. When I'm soaking beans I look to make sure they actually softened. If they're wrinkly they might never soften.
 
Tony M. February 17, 2020
Meh. These were nothing special. Perhaps soaking the beans for 12 hours wasn’t long enough, because there was a hard, crunch texture to them in the burger. The flavor was okay, but these won’t become a regular in my rotation.
 
Liz S. February 17, 2020
I made these yesterday and am very happy! I used canned pumpkin instead of sweet potato … only because I always have some as I supplement my dog's food with pumpkin and I just didn't feel like doing the sweet potato. I did back off amount a bit because I wanted to add an egg and some masa harina for binder. I do this with falafel and it works well for me. All else followed the recipe. I got 7 patties … fried 2 and froze 5 "raw". They held together and were delicious. I went with the black bean-chipotle-cilantro vibe and had them as tacos in corn tortilla with avocado, tomatoes and a little cheddar. I keep masa harina as I make corn tortillas and aside from really liking the taste, I find it great in vegetable fritters, meatballs, etc. vs breadcrumbs or 1/2 and 1/2.
 
Stacey February 16, 2020
Way. too. much. salt.
 
susan G. April 3, 2020
Kosher salt (Diamond brand) has 1/2 the sodium of standard US table salt. However, I almost always cut the amount of salt in recipes, as a personal preference anyway.
 
Lorraine February 13, 2020
These were incredibly good. However the mixture was very thin. I added an egg and some bread crumbs to hold it together, with great success.
 
SUSAN February 7, 2020
I just made this earlier today. It was pretty good. I actually got 7 patties from my batch. I fried 4 just like the instructions and cooked 3 in my air fryer. Both technique were good. If you are looking for a lower fat version, I suggest brushing both sides of patties with a little oil and air frying.
 
Mary D. April 22, 2020
I want to try these with my air fryer. What temp did you use and for how long did you cook them? Thanks!!!
 
Scott C. February 7, 2020
My patties came out mushy, spoiling what was otherwise a good recipe. I think the culprit was the sweet potato which, after microwaving until soft, held a lot of moisture. If I try this again I'll scoop out the potato flesh, break it up with a fork, and allow the steaming innards to cool to room temperature. Doing so should allow the moisture to evaporate, making for a firmer burger and mush-less burger. I hope.
 
Kim February 6, 2020
Can the burger be frozen?
 
S February 5, 2020
Delicious burger indeed but you can’t really call it a Falafel burger (while being true to what a Falafel is...even tweaked) can you?
 
Kathy February 6, 2020
OK. But the sentence makes no sense. Am I supposed to use the can of beans and All of the liquid in the can? Or some amount of e liquid from the can? Am I supposed to use a 45 ounce can of beans? Please clarify.
 
Kathy February 5, 2020
I am not sure what this is on the ingredient list: "1/45-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas) cups aquafaba (from one 15-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas)". Can you please clarify? Thanks.
 
catalinalacruz February 5, 2020
Aquafaba is the liquid drained from a can of beans. This is explained in the text.
 
Lucien February 5, 2020
This recipe looks fantastic! A favor:

In the Aioli ingredient list, would you clarify (or re-word) what's meant by:

"1/45-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas) cups acquafaba (from one 15-ounce can of no-salt-added chickpeas)"?

Apart from the orphaned closed parenthesis after "no-salt-added chickpeas," I'm confused by "1/45-ounce". Thanks!
 
Kristen M. February 5, 2020
Hi Lucien, I'm not sure what happened there! Thanks for asking. I (hopefully) just fixed it.
 
Lucien February 5, 2020
Dat dood it! Thanks kindly.