Saturday, January 30, 2010

Loaded BBQ Burger (hold the meat)

Calling all Meat Eaters, Veganistas, Flexitarians, and Whatever's in the Fridge-Grabbers - I've got a thick, juicy burger that you're all going to like. It's slathered in BBQ sauce, topped with melted cheddar, and loaded with crispy romaine, a fresh tomato slice, and chunks of ripe avocado. Oh yeah, and instead of meat, it's made with black beans.

I'm sure black bean burgers are easy to make from scratch, but they were also easy to buy at Whole Foods. I took the road more often travelled. You can find vegetarian burgers in the freezer section of most supermarkets - Morningstar Farms, Amy's Organics and Boca make a ton of them. Whole Foods was carrying a local variety called GARYBURGERS made by the brilliant folks up on Swan's Island, Maine. You're not going to find a single ingredient you can't pronounce in these juicy, moist burger patties. They're made with only rice, whole grain rolled oats, black beans, onions, ketchup, bread crumbs and spices.

Black bean or your favorite vegetarian burger
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
BBQ Sauce (Dinosaur is my favorite brand) 
Romaine lettuce, washed and dried (1 leaf)
Tomato (1 slice)
Avocado (1/2)
Reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Make your own burger buns out of a low-cal, minimal-ingredient whole wheat bread like I did. Just take a wide-mouth wine glass and press it into the center of two stacked bread slices. Push them through like a cookie cutter to create 2 low-carb, whole-wheat buns. Toast before assembling.

Spray some oil in a skillet and on one side of the patty. Place dry-side down on the skillet and cook on low heat until both sides are golden brown and soft to the touch. Right before you're ready to serve, sprinkle the cheese on top and cover until melted - about 1 minute. 

While the patty is cooking, prepare the lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the meat with a spoon in one big swoop. Turn it over, flat side down on a cutting board and slice into medium-sized pieces. 

Pour a small amount of your favorite BBQ sauce into a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir.

Slather a "bun" with BBQ sauce and top with the lettuce. Add the cooked patty and layer with the tomato, avocado, and other "bun" covered in BBQ sauce. 

Why Swapping Beans for Meat Is a Good Idea:
I don't think anyone should cut out their favorite foods, but I think it's a good idea to make healthy swaps most nights, so that when you want a burger for dinner, you can have it guilt-free. Find out how a typical McDonalds burger stacks up against Gary's Black Bean Burger for instance:

McDonalds Hamburger: 250
Black Bean Burger: 150

Fat (g):
McDonalds: 9 (3.5g sat fat, .5g trans fat)
Garys: 1 (no sat fat)

Sodium (mg)
McDonalds: 520
Garys: 180

Protein (g)*
McDonalds: 12
Garys: 5

*If you're looking for more protein, beans are a great way to get low-fat, low-sodium protein in your diet. Different bean burgers will contain different amounts of protein. While Gary's isn't very high, Morningstar Farm's black bean burger contains a whopping 17g! If you cook with canned beans, always rinse them to wash off the salt before cooking.

(1) McDonalds Nutrition Website
(2) GaryBurgers: Nutrition Facts Label
(3) Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burger


  1. nice to you back blogging :)

    I missed my sweet foodie.

  2. Thank you Jen and Rachel! It's great to hear from you both :)

  3. How thrilling to see that u used Dinosaur BBQ sauce here. I used to frequent the Syracuse location when I went to college at SU. This burger looks great.

  4. Thanks Marla! I'm jealous you were a regular and got to eat their fresh BBQ all the time... :)

  5. I love black bean burgers-especially a homemade one that has good structural integrity. This looks really delicious-I think it will be lunch or dinner today! I am also going to send you an e-mail in a moment...

  6. Thank you for kind words Stella and I'm so glad you stopped by :)

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  8. That is the best burger I have ever seen and I am going to have one for lunch. I can get one right here in Ellsworth at the Maine Grind Cafe on Main Street. GaryBurgers are really delicious. I am glad you covered a local product, it is important to know one can eat healthy in Maine.
    Thank you, Valerie

  9. Thank you for making my day Valerie - please come back often ;) I hope you enjoyed your lunch at Main Grind Cafe!