A vegetarian smash burger that’s just as satisfying as the original? Absolutely! This version highlights black beans and don’t worry, we’ve still got all of the best toppings including a homemade sauce that will leave you licking the bowl.
We’re kicking off the new year with a bang if I do say so myself. This black bean smash burger is a flavor-packed meatless meal you will love if you’re working on adding more plants to your diet… or even if you aren’t, actually. It’s that delicious.
The smash burger is a classic. It’s lightly crispy and charred on the outside, tender on the inside and perfectly assembled. The trick is cooking it on a cast iron surface and gently smashing down with a spatula to get a beautiful exterior. I wanted to try this technique with a vegetarian patty and was pleasantly surprised when it not only worked, but worked so well.
What You Need to Make These Beauties
- black beans are the foundation and I use both puréed and whole beans in this one for the best texture.
- egg for a binding agent (you could also try a flax egg for a vegan option)
- rolled oats to soak up some of the moisture and give them some shape
- soy sauce for a salty, umami pop of flavor
- tahini to assist in holding it all together and add another savory pop
- grated onion and garlic get cooked right in (I’m not the biggest fan of raw onion on a burger, so this is a great way to make sure you still get a hint of it without the harsh bite)
- smoked paprika aka the best simple way to add a little something special to any dish
Tips for Making an Actually Good Bean Burger
Now I’ve had my fair share of vegetable-based burgers over the years and let’s just say I have thoughts on what makes a really good one. Here are a few of my top tips:
- Purée some of the beans, and leave some whole. This way it’ll stick together well and you still get the benefit of some “meaty” beans too.
- No chunks of vegetables. Leave out the chopped green pepper, onion, carrots, etc. It throws the texture off and makes it harder to cook evenly. Just stick with the basics.
- Choose the right bun. Brioche buns are a classic choice for a smash burger because they are light and airy and perfect, in my opinion. If you choose something too dense, you run the risk of overwhelming the delicate bean burger.
Again, I prefer to keep things super simple here with butter lettuce (or romaine, leaf, iceberg), pickles and a great sauce. I like something similar to the famous Shake Shack sauce!
Lastly, I’ll take a thick tomato slice but only in the summer. If they aren’t in season, I would rather skip it. It doesn’t need cheese, but go for it you think it’s a non-negotiable.
Even more-so than with the beef version, you’ll want to avoid overloading a bean burger with fancy toppings. It just won’t hold up to things like sautéd mushrooms, a pile of caramelized onions or heavy cheeses. This isn’t the time to get gourmet!
Black Bean Smash Burger FAQs
Follow these three steps: Use a flax egg in place of the real egg in the burger patties; swap in vegan mayonnaise in the sauce; choose a vegan bun (most are, but the brioche buns we use and love here are not!).
As long as you use certified gluten-free oats, then yes, the patties are gluten-free. Wrap it in lettuce or choose a gluten-free bun to make the whole thing work for you!
Yes you can. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to a month. Let it thaw in the refrigerator for a day before reheating in a skillet, or use an oven or toaster oven to warm all the way through from frozen.
More Favorite Vegetarian Dinner Ideas:
- Veggie Burrito Bowls with Green Goddess Dressing
- Sheet Pan Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
- Mediterranean Grain Bowls
Black Bean Smash Burgers
A vegetarian smash burger that’s just as satisfying as the original!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 burgers 1x
- Category: Mains, Entreés
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 small yellow onion, grated (moisture squeezed out)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- olive oil, for brushing the pan
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- splash of pickle juice
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- brioche buns
- fresh toppings: butter lettuce, sliced pickles, and sliced tomatoes (if in season)
- Pulse the rolled oats in a food processor several times until chopped up a bit (you don’t want oat flour). Add half the beans, egg, soy sauce, tahini, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times until everything is well-incorporated but not totally puréed. Transfer to a big bowl and stir in the remaining black beans (leaving them whole), grated onion and garlic.
- Divide the black bean mixture into 6 equal portions (a heaping 1/3 cup each) and place on a parchment-lined plate or quarter sheet pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing mayo through cayenne in a small bowl.
- Heat a cast iron skillet and brush with olive oil. Roll each (chilled) bean portion into a ball with your hands and drop into the hot pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, pressing down gently with a spatula, then flipping and cooking 5-7 more minutes until browned and cooked through. It should be crisp on the outside and firm, not mushy, on the inside.
- Once the burgers are fully cooked, transfer to a lightly toasted bun that’s been smeared with sauce and add your favorite fresh toppings.
- The equipment section above provides affiliate links to things I use often in my kitchen and love.
- Keep these vegan by using a flax egg in place of the large egg in the burgers, vegan mayonnaise in the sauce (like this one) and choosing a vegan bun.
- These freeze well! Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to one month. Reheat in a skillet or the oven.
- Serving Size: 1 burger
- Calories: 511 calories
- Fat: 25 grams
- Carbohydrates: 55 grams
- Fiber: 13 grams
- Protein: 16 grams
Keywords: plant-based dinners, vegetarian dinners, 30 minutes or less
Want More Plant-Forward Recipes?
Join my VIP list and I'll send you five reader favorites! Healthy, flavor-packed recipes. What's not to love about that?
These are the best non meat burgers I have had. The sauce and bun give it an extra layer of flavor and it just melts in your mouth. Must try!
This is the best compliment coming from you! Thanks for stopping in to leave a comment <3