Southwest Black Bean Burger with Pickled Onions (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I’m skeptical when it comes to plant-based burgers but I was pleasantly surprised with this combo! I took a tip from Kenji about drying the black beans in the oven a bit so the burger doesn’t end up too soft in the middle. I think this helped to make it a great texture, crunchy on the outside and just a little soft on the inside. 

The second most important thing is the toppings! I went with roasted red pepper, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion and avocado. But, next time I would add some pickled jalapeño. 
The burger was very satisfying. I wasn’t trying to replace a hamburger patty. But, knowing this is a plant-based burger, it is filling and satisfying. 
I can’t wait to reheat the extra patties in the air fryer to get a good crispy texture. 

Southwest Black Bean Burger with Pickled Onions (Vegan and Gluten-Free) 

Adapted Blue Zones Recipe

Ingredients (4 patties):

  • 1 ½ rolled oats
  • 1 cup peeled, mashed sweet potato (about 1)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 4 buns or lettuce wraps


  • Roasted red bell peppers
  • Lettuce and tomato
  • Avocado
  • Pickled Red onions


  1. Cook sweet potato in an oven at 400 F without wrapping it. Poke some holes in it with a fork to prevent it from exploding. Place foil underneath to catch sweet juices. Cook for 40min-1 hour or fork tender. (You can do this a day or two in advance). Once the oven is off, I placed the black beans on a baking tray to dry them out in the oven a bit, 10-15 minutes. This makes for a less mushy patty later. 
  2. To pickle red onions, slice a red onion, just cover with water and add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. sugar. Add bay leaf and dash of dried marjoram if you have it. Let sit at least 10 minutes. (keeps in fridge for weeks)
  3. To make the patties, pulse the rolled oats in a food processor until coarsely ground and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, black beans, salt, and spices. Then, add in the ground oats. Let this sit about 5 minutes so the flavors can marry.
  5. Form the mixture into four patties.
  6. In a skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. Add the patties and fry on both sides until crisped, about 4 minutes per side.
  7. Build your burger: Mash the avocado and spread on the bottom bun. Then, add your patty and top with the lettuce, and tomato. Finish off the burger with roasted red peppers and pickled red onion, then the top bun.
roast sweet potato until very soft like this
form patties and fry on nonstick skillet

top with your favorite toppings

More Blue Zones Recipes: 

To your happy and healthy life, 


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