There are so many types of beans available in your grocery store – navy, turtle, pinto, chickpea, kidney and so many more. Beans are jam-packed with complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. And they are sources of Vitamin B, calcium, and iron. They are a win-win food for your health and for your budget.
You can buy almost any type of bean in cans or jars, but if you really want to stretch your dollar go for the inexpensive packages of dry beans. Check out the ethnic foods section of your grocery store to see if the prices are better than in the regular section, and you might find larger bags of your favorites.
Soak two cups of those dry beans in 6 to 8 cups of water for four or five hours. I usually start my beans in the evening and just let them soak overnight. Drain and rinse well. Put the beans in a large pot and cover with 6 to 8 cups of water, and allow it to come to a boil. Then turn down the heat and let them simmer until they split apart and are tender. I will pull a few out of the pot and see if I can squeeze them easily, testing for texture. Two cups of dry beans will typically give you about 4 cups of cooked beans.
At this point you can drain the beans and use them in your favorite recipes. But if you only want to use part of the batch, you can spread the rest out on a cookie sheet to cool. Then put them in a freezer or refrigerator container or re-closable freezer bag, and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use them.
If you haven’t yet tried bean burgers, here are a baker’s dozen of the best recipes I could find on the Internet. Bean burgers are a cheap and delicious alternative to beef or chicken, and so good you may never go back. Serve these veggie burgers in the same way as beef burgers, on a bun with your favorite fixings. Most of these recipes call for canned beans, which makes them super easy and fast to make. But if you have taken the challenge and cooked up some dry beans, you can save even more money.
Bean burgers can be made with any type of bean: black, white, kidney, pinto or chickpea. Honestly, I started making the last recipe, “My Favorite Falafel,” as a burger patty. I’ve had great success with all types of beans, including canned black and pinto beans, as well as dried cranberry beans from my farmers market. For a weeknight meal, it’s easy, economical and really, really tasty. Now I make a double batch and freeze half for another night.
Tips for making bean burgers
Starchy beans like pinto and cannelini are easier to mash by hand, but are softer and harder to flip over.
Dry beans like chickpeas (garbanzo beans) make firm burgers; black and kidney beans fall somewhere between starchy and dry beans.
For drier beans like garbanzo beans, make them like falafel with added starch, puree them well, shape into patties and fry like a burger.
To prepare beans easily, pulse in a food processor, mash with a potato masher or crush with a rolling pin between two pieces of waxed paper.
Don’t make bean burgers too thin or they’re harder to flip over; about half an inch thick works well.
Cook them about three minutes per side over medium-low heat on a lightly oiled flat griddle or in a non-stick skillet; don’t try to cook them on a ridged grill.
To freeze, cook them completely. Chill, wrap and freeze. Reheat in the microwave or on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven.
Don’t tell your kids they’re bean burgers (until later) and they may not guess.
You can serve bean burgers on a bun, with any of your favorite toppings, such as grilled onions and cheddar cheese or blue cheese and bacon. They’re also great served open-faced, topped with yogurt and relish or a heap of green salad or cole slaw. Add fries or other sides like potato salad for a heartier meal.
Best bean burger recipes
Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers from allrecipes.com.
Butter Bean Burgers from allrecipes.com.
Mexican Bean Burgers from allrecipes.com.
Morgan’s Veggie Patties from Guys Big Bite on foodnetwork.com.
Deluxe Black Bean Burger from Big Daddy’s House on foodnetwork.com.
Bulgur Veggie Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise from epicurious.com.
Jalapeño-Red Bean Burgers from epicurious.com.
South Indian Lentil Cakes with Raita from epicurious.com.
Southwestern Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries from katherinemartinelli.com.
Homemade Bean Burgers from katheats.com.
Grilled Bean Burgers Recipe from tasteofhome.com.
Jeanie’s Falafel from allrecipes.com.
My Favorite Falafel from epicurious.com.