Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers

February 27, 2013 | | | | |

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about my affiliate policy.

Yesterday I bought Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2013. And then I made Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers…


I have a complicated relationship with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, which plays itself out each year in the following five stages:

1. Nudie Magazine Day!

When I hear that Sports Illustrated Swimsuitis on shelves, I rush out to buy it with the enthusiasm of Billy Madison going to the mailbox on Nudie Magazine Day. Yesterday, I practically ran  to the nearest CVS, narrowly avoiding cars, strollers, and people on their way home from work, suppressing the urge to scream, “It’s here! It’s here! IT’S FINALLY HERE!”* I proudly purchased my copy from the store’s giant display and hurried home to start critiquing.

*Apparently, SI Swimsuit 2013 came out a couple of weeks ago, but I was unaware of this until yesterday. I am clearly very busy and important.

2. Critique.

I have an artistic eye, excellent taste in bikinis, and a fondness for beach hair, which I feel qualifies me to critique SI Swimsuit. I have to say, I felt torn this year. The body paint was particularly impressive in this issue, and I thought that the “Wonders of the World” theme was clever and lead to some pretty sweet (albeit contrived) pics. However, I was very disappointed by the choice to make Kate Upton the cover girl. Not because I think she’s a “squishy brick,” as one blogger put it, but because her shoot was in Antarctica:


In most of the spread, Kate is wearing weird scarves or ridiculous furry swimsuits, and that bikini/parka ensemble she’s sporting on the cover is just impractical. I don’t plan on going to the Antarctic anytime soon, and I personally find the flasher look trashy. Honestly, Sports Illustrated, I expected more from you.

3. Impulse Shopping.

Just as I occasionally read Playboy for the articles, I read Sports Illustrated Swimsuit for the actual swimsuits. Seriously. For better or for worse, I have purchased several of the bathing suits featured in the magazine over the years. Since I may be the only one using it, I would like to thank Sports Illustrated for including a “shopping guide” in the back of the issue. Talk about convenience! To be honest, I haven’t had the greatest luck with my SI Swimsuit-induced purchases, but that hasn’t stopped me. My senior year of college I purchased this bikini:


Let’s just say that what was a cute Brazilian-cut bottom on Bar was a full-blown thong on yours truly. I obviously still wore it, but it wasn’t my best look. Despite some poor bikini decisions in the past, I remain hopeful about the orders placed this year…

4. Depression.

After completing my impulse shopping, I usually experience instantaneous buyer’s remorse and spiral into a deep depression knowing that I will never look as good in my new bikinis as the supermodels in the pictures. Ever. For some reason, this often leads to a shameless and counterproductive combination of chocolate, booze, and text messages to my friends bemoaning my body’s lack of muscle tone. This stage is a pathetic, yet seemingly unavoidable consequence of reading SI Swimsuit. You’ve been warned.

5. Motivation.

Luckily, after wallowing in the depression stage for a bit, I disgust myself enough to move onto the final stage of what I shall call “The SI Swimsuit Experience”: MOTIVATION. My mom told me once after watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that she thought I could be an Angel if I worked out everyday. That was pretty much the nicest thing she has ever said to me, and who’s to say that it isn’t true? In the end, reading SI Swimsuit always reminds me of my supermodel potential. At the very least, I feel incredibly motivated to get myself in shape enough not to scare people when I put on a bikini. Unfortunately, I hate to sweat, so my newfound motivation is unlikely to result in a gym membership. Therefore, it is imperative that I eat as healthily as possible if I want to get myself into SI rookie of the year shape. With this in mind, I started brainstorming delicious and slimming meal ideas. Thinspiration finally struck yesterday afternoon, leading to awesome Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers:


I’m not usually a fan of veggie burgers, but these are a major departure from your average tasteless patties. They are packed with protein, fiber, and tons of flavor. If you’re into spicy, you can up the Sriracha factor as much as you like, and feel free to get creative with your garnishes. I served my black bean & quinoa veggie burgers on whole-wheat mini pitas, but you could also go the no-bun route or put them between two large leaves of Romaine or bibb lettuce for a lower-carb option. Throw an egg on top of your veggie burger for a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, or add a patty to liven up your salad at lunch or dinner. These black bean & quinoa veggie burgers are also great to keep in your fridge all week. Just throw one in a pan for a quick and healthy meal or snack. These burgers are very much in keeping with my new motto: Eat everyday like it’s the first day of bikini season. Learn it, live it, love it.

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers: (Serves 6)

¾ cup quinoa
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced zucchini
1 ½ cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3 ½ tbsp olive oil, divided
¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp Sriracha sauce
¾ tsp salt
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
6 mini whole wheat pitas, split
For garnish: (optional)
Romaine or bibb lettuce
Red onion, sliced into discs
Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
Avocado, sliced
Pepper Jack cheese


Preparing your veggie burgers:

-Bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked well. You want the quinoa to be overcooked and mushy. Mix the quinoa vigorously in the pot until the grains break up and it starts to clump.


-Transfer the quinoa to a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.

-Heat a sauté pan over medium low-heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil, the minced shallot, garlic, zucchini, and red bell pepper. Saute for five minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.


-Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the black beans in a small bowl. Mash the beans with a fork until you have a lumpy black bean paste. I like to leave some beans whole for texture purposes.

Super attractive.

-Add the cooled vegetable mixture and the black bean paste to the room temperature quinoa along with the bread crumbs, lemon juice, Sriracha, salt, and lightly beaten egg. Use your hands to mix all of the ingredients until they are well combined. This is pretty gross, but also kind of fun.


-Use your hands to mold your veggie burgers into medium-sized patties that are about ½ an inch in thickness. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.


-Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan. When hot, add your veggie burger patties and cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Be very careful when you flip them, people!


-Serve with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, and any other garnishes you like on a split pita, English muffin, or bun of your choice. Prepare for bikini/banana hammock domination.


*IMPORTANT:  You really do need to refrigerate your veggie burgers for at least 45 minutes before you cook them. Some friends recently told me that they tried to make my Mediterranean Quinoa Cakes, but the cakes fell apart while they were cooking. This was very upsetting for many reasons, mainly because I prefer compliments, but also because I tested those bad boys multiple times before sharing them with you. Although it was possible that there was a flaw in my recipe, I had a sneaking suspicion that they weren’t telling me something…I was right. When pressed, the suspects admitted that they had failed to refrigerate the cakes as instructed before cooking them. Well, geniuses, problem solved. It is very important to refrigerate any sort of grain patty, including but not limited to Mediterranean quinoa cakes and these black bean & quinoa veggie burgers, for the allotted time in order for them to set. I’m not making up extra steps in a recipe just to mess with you guys. That would be counterproductive in terms of creating my legions of adoring fans. Duh.

Like what you read? Share it!

Never miss a post!

Get new recipes and lifestyle tips delivered straight to your inbox.


  1. Leda Grossman on April 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Hi serena,

    I just found your blog the other day and made these burgers for dinner tonight. I prepped them yesterday and let them cool overnight so i could have a quick week night dinner.
    I ended up with 8 burgers so I definitely have leftovers 🙂 I think the flavors are pretty good.
    When you say 3/4 cup quinoa is that the raw measurement? It seems like a lot of quinoa and the majority of the burger is quinoa. Next time I make them I might lessen the amount of quinoa.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  2. KitchKat on February 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Love this entry!

Leave a Comment