Monday, September 29, 2014

Cranberry Bean - Kale Burgers, Quinoa (No Added Fat)

I loved the cranberry beans that I made in early September! Most of the places that I shop don't seem to carry these beans that cook into a filling, creamy texture, but I found them at Whole Foods Market in Durham, NC today. I had the idea of mashing the beans and then cooking them as burgers. I refined the idea to blend the beans instead of mashing them.

  • One cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight (see above for variation)
  • 1/2 t finely chopped (1/8" or so cubes) ginger
  • Water (just enough to cover beans)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into large 1/2" pieces and separated into two halves
  • Salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste - start with 1/2 t of each
  • (Optional) Hot sauce or jalapeno
  • 4-6 leaves kale, roughly cut into 1" squares, stems left behind
  • (Optional) 2 cloves garlic roughly diced into 1/8" pieces or so
  • (Optional but recommended) 8-10 leaves fresh basil
  • (Optional but recommended) Approximately 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1T miso
  • 1t nutritional yeast
  • 1t chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Rinse and drain the beans. (I didn't soak the beans overnight but soaked them about 7 hours; I used boiling water and changed the water - with a new batch of boiling water - about half way through.)
  2. Put the beans and ginger in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 22m. I should have added the bouillon cube but forgot; I instead added it before blending. (The ginger can be helpful to prevent gas, though my family doesn't seem to have an issue with these beans.)
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top.
  4. Put the cooked beans, half the onion, salt and pepper, and the hot sauce or jalapeno (I omitted both as my daughter wouldn't have eaten this) into a blender (along with the bouillon cube that I missed earlier) and blend briefly to homogenize.
  5. Add the remaining onion, garlic (which I skipped, as my Dad doesn't eat garlic, but I've included in the writeup for the future), basil, and kale to the blender and blend briefly at medium (I used 70% power on my Vitamix variable setting), mixing everything in but being careful to keep recognizable small pieces of the newly added vegetables.
  6. I transferred this fairly thick paste to a bowl and, in turn, took two large tablespoonfuls into my clean hands, rolled into a ball, and flattened into a thick (3/4"?) patty.
  7. I had some prepared bread crumbs that included garlic as an ingredient. Since my Dad doesn't eat garlic, I cooked his burger as this patty. For the rest, I gently pressed both sides of the burgers into the bread crumbs first.
  8. I put the patties, with or without bread crumbs, into a cast iron skillet that had been preheated for a few minutes on medium high, but added no oil. I checked the bottom after about 3 minutes and then every minute or so until it was gently brown (I think it took about 4 or 5 minutes), then flipped and cooked the other side similarly.
  9. In parallel, I had made a miso sauce by blending the miso, nutritional yeast, additional teaspoon of onion, and water. I served the burger with the sauce on top.
I also made some quinoa by first sauteeing (with no oil) some bell pepper and onion, then cooking the quinoa in a 1 part quinoa to 2 part water combination, along with a vegan bouillon cube. I let it simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes then covered and turned the heat off; the characteristic quinoa spiral was evident with the liquid absorbed after about 10 minutes. I mixed in a little salt and ground cumin and served along with an heirloom tomato slice.


We were all amazed at the "bean dip" that came out of the pressure cooker. I was tempted to stop and not make burgers but instead saved some (and put on bread for my daughter's lunch tomorrow) as a dip. This was the first time that I've tried making burgers of any kind from scratch, and all of us liked them. My wife suggested that a little bit more binding may help, such as may be obtained by including some potato. I liked the burgers with the consistency that they were, but wouldn't mind exploring (dehydrating?) getting them more firm. But we all liked the burgers.

I realized late in the process that I should have enhanced the sauce at least with ginger and some citrus perhaps. The dressing was reasonable, but the choice of ketchup for my daughter's burger may have been a better one for us all. The quinoa, as always, was good.

Ideas for the future

I need to redo this recipe but stop once I get the "bean dip" and serve it like a hummus or perhaps in a Mexican-style layered dish. That dip is a winner - I wonder why cranberry beans aren't better known. I was pleased with how the breading for the burgers worked out and should use bread crumbs more often. I should try making burgers again. Garlic would have been a welcome addition to the burgers (and perhaps quinoa), but wasn't really necessary as the flavors were reasonably rich. The kale in the burger could be optional but I liked the green color that it contributed but, more significantly, loved the nutritional punch that the kale contributed to an already nutritious meal. It's fun and rewarding expermenting with this bean in particular!

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