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Cuban Black Bean Burgers
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Cuban Black Bean Burger

Cuban Black Bean Burger by Cathy Fisher of Straight up Food

These veggie burgers derive their Cuban flair from ingredients such as black beans, rice, plantain, red pepper, and lime juice. Spices including coriander, paprika, chili powder, and cumin give them a little spicy kick. Thank you to our recipe contributor Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food for contributing this recipe! I modified it slightly, but it’s Cathy’s creation! (These are soft burgers – not suitable for a grill.)

1 cup cooked brown rice (short-grain or sweet brown works great)
1 ripe plantain, peeled and diced (see Notes for Choosing Plantains)
1 15-ounce can (1-1/2 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped

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Roll into 2-inch diameter balls and flatten into a burger patty. Cook in a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then flip over and cook another five minutes, until both sides are lightly browned. You can also spray a little oil to the skillet to prevent them from sticking.

Serve on whole-grain burger buns, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion and/or mustard. Or serve on lettuce leaves without a bun, or roll into steamed collard greens (steam 5 minutes then pat dry with a paper towel before rolling up sushi-style).

Yield: 15 3-inch burgers

Notes for Choosing Plantains: Plantains can come in varying sizes and appearances. I prefer a very ripe plantain for this recipe, as the flavor will be more intense. Look for a yellow plantain that is very ripe with dark brown/black spots on it (even if it looks on the brink of rotting, these are the good ones! A plantain looks very much like a banana, just bigger and the ripe ones are more orange on the inside. Sometimes plantains are short, fat and green; sometimes they are long, yellow and thinner. Just be sure to get a ripe one. Get a couple if you’re not sure; they are inexpensive. They can be found most often in Mexican groceries. Whole Foods has them intermittently.

A comparison of plantains – ripe (left) and unripe (right).

Non-stick alternative: If you’d like to cook your burgers in the oven instead of using a non-stick skillet, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes (flipping over after first 10 minutes).

Leftovers: These make great leftovers! Freeze them or eat them throughout the week. They firm up as they cool and the day after. Eat them plain or with condiments, or crumbled over a green salad. These also make great traveling food, even cold.

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