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Sunny Black Bean Burgers



Tired of frozen meat-free burgers? These Sunny Black Bean Burgers bring a ray of sunshine to your table, with protein-rich ingredients like black beans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. A cross between a hearty burger and flavorful paté, these patties prep for the oven in less than 10 minutes, making them an ideal option for a casual weekday meal.

Makes 6 Servings



½ cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped walnut halves
1 cup lightly packed, fresh whole-grain bread crumbs (see note)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
5 tablespoons marinara sauce, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons minced fresh onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend



Line a medium-sized baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the sunflower seeds into a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl. Put the walnuts into a blender and process into coarse crumbs and add them to the ground sunflower seeds. Add the bread crumbs to the sunflower seed/walnut mixture and stir using a large spoon to thoroughly combine. Pour in the olive oil and stir to combine, adding a bit more olive oil (up to 1 more teaspoon), if the mixture seems dry.


Put the black beans, marinara sauce, onion, garlic powder and Italian seasoning into a medium-sized bowl and lightly mash, using a potato masher or large fork.

Stir in the nut/bread crumb mixture and mix together until well combined, adding a bit more of the marinara sauce if the mixture seems dry. The mixture should hold together when gathered in the palm of your hand.


To form a burger, scoop up a scant 1/2 cup of the mixture and drop it onto the lined pan. Gently form it into the shape of a burger. Continue in this manner until you have formed 6 burgers. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) to allow the burgers to firm up.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until slightly golden, flipping the burgers half way through cooking. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool (to firm up) for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (These burgers will be slightly soft, so handle them carefully!) Serve with Quick Marinara-Mayo Sauce (optional, see recipe below) and all of your favorite burger fixin's!


Chef’s Note: Freshly made bread crumbs must be used in this recipe, as dry bread crumbs will not hold the burgers together. To make fresh bread crumbs, tear 2 to 3 slices of fresh, whole-grain bread into chunks. Put the bread chunks in a blender process (on low) into coarse crumbs.

QUICK MARINARA-MAYO SAUCE Put 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise and 1 heaping tablespoon prepared marinara sauce into a small bowl and briskly whisk to combine. Taste, and add more marinara or mayonnaise, if desired. Spoon sauce over burgers (pictured above.) Please note: You can use catsup in place of the marinara sauce, if desired.