Spicy, black bean burger with cilantro and a light, yogurt sauce

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By Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE

Vegan, black bean burger with cilantro and a refreshingly simple, yogurt sauce!


Vegetarian black bean burger with simple, yogurt sauce. © Copyright, 2015-2018, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

Crank up the flavor to a ten with this  vegan burger with a hint of spice and a surprisingly juicy taste that will have the skeptics in your family coming back for seconds. Black beans are combined with powdered walnuts and sautéed onions, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and hot sauce to create a burger that looks and tastes as good as it is good for you!


Vegetarian black bean burger that looks like the real deal! © Copyright, 2015-2018, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.


  1. 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  2. 1 and 1/4 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
  3. 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder or garam masala (available at any ethnic Indian grocery)
  6. 3 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped, divided, + extra for garnish ( optional)
  7. 1/2 cup diced, sweet bell peppers
  8. 1, 15 oz. can organic, black beans, rinsed and drained
  9. 1/4 cup walnuts
  10. 1 slice day old whole grain bread, toasted and broken into piece
  11. 5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  12. 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  13. 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  14. 4 whole wheat buns
  15. 1 thinly sliced, small yellow (or red) onion
  16. 1 cup raw, freshly shredded green and purple cabbage slaw with shredded carrots (I used the ready-made mix available in my local supermarket)

For the yogurt  sauce:

  1. 3 tablespoons dairy free yogurt
  2. 1 teaspoon hot sauce

© Copyright, 2015-2018, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a thick bottomed, 6″ skillet.
  2. Add the freshly chopped garlic to the oil and saute on medium heat until golden brown. Watch for signs of burning and regulate heat accordingly.
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped bell peppers.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin or garam masala and 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a food processor.
  6. Powder the walnuts in a spice mill.
  7. Add the powdered walnuts, drained beans, lime juice, salt, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro to the vegetable mixture from step # 5 in the food processor.  Combine at high-speed to form a homogeneous mixture.
  8. Divide the bean mixture into 4 parts, and shape into approximately 3/4 ” thick patties.
  9. Transfer to a clean plate, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer section of your refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until the patties lose some of their “stickiness” and begin to look visibly dry and firmer.
  10. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a large non stick skillet to medium high heat.
  11. Remove vegan patties from the freezer and gently transfer each one to the skillet.
  12. Allow to brown on each side for at least 4-5 minutes, or until well browned and crisp.  Flip the burger as needed until cooked through. Adjust heat as needed to get desired color as illustrated below.

    Vegan black bean burgers that look like the real deal! © Copyright, 2015-2018, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

  13. Lightly toast whole wheat buns in the same non stick pan used to make burgers.
  14. Transfer to a warm plate.
  15. To prepare the yogurt sauce, simply combine the yogurt with the hot sauce.
  16. Spread a teaspoon of this yogurt sauce on one half of the whole wheat bun.
  17. Layer the warm burger, onion rings and slaw on top of the sauce.
  18. Garnish with more slaw and freshly chopped cilantro as desired, and serve hot.

© Copyright, 2015-2018, Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE.

A Registered Dietitian’s tip: 

Beans are a power house of nutrients, providing healthy carbohydrates, proteins, B vitamins, as well as potassium and magnesium. A 1/2 cup of cooked beans or  lentils can pack anywhere from 6, to up to 10 grams of fiber. Talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck!

Shortfall nutrient: Despite all the accumulating evidence touting the benefits of fiber, it sadly remains a “shortfall” nutrient with most Americans consuming barely 15 grams per day. Less than 5% of most age and gender subgroups have usual intakes of fiber that meet the adequate intake (AI) level of 25 to 38 grams/day identified by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Sangeeta Pradhan

One of the easiest, “no-cook” ways of adding fiber to your diet is to throw rinsed, canned beans into a salad, or blend canned  beans with garlic and spices to make a delicious dip! Try  roasting chickpeas with a hint of olive oil and your favorite spices to make a yummy, crunchy snack! For additional strategies, as explained in this post, getting to your fiber goal can be a cinch!

Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.


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