Finally, it's a vegan patty that won't fall apart, thanks to quinoa and cornmeal! These Pinto Bean Burgers come together so quickly in just a bowl, and are packed with plenty of flavor. Smoked paprika, cumin, and cilantro give a punch of flavor to another non-boring vegan bean burger!
We are going to count the reasons why I love this burger. For one, it's an actual vegan bean burger patty that holds together very well! No more crumbling bean patties while you flip them in the pan, I promise! We're using quinoa and cornmeal as binders to make sure it holds together.
Second, if you can open a can of pinto beans and mash them in a bowl with a fork, you can make this recipe! You don't need a food processor or any fancy equipment to make a delicious pinto bean burger! This isn't true for my Chickpea Burgers, which requires a food processor to break down the slaw.
While I should say that my third favorite thing about this recipe is that it's vegan, I must admit I have another reason I love it. The natural affinity for guacamole seals the deal for me with this pinto bean burger. You can make your own, or buy the small pre-made packs. One snack-size pack of guacamole is the perfect amount for each burger! It's the best way to provide something creamy to the burger that is vegan and completely delicious! The cumin, smoked paprika and cilantro in the patty go so well with the avocado mash, too!
How to Make Pinto Bean Burgers
There is one small step that must be done before assembling these pinto bean burgers. You need to take ¼ cup of dry quinoa and cook it in some water until light and fluffy. You can do this in a small saucepan in just 15 minutes, though! If you have leftover quinoa from making my Black Bean Quinoa Salad, this is the perfect use for it!
Once the quinoa is cooked and slightly cooled, all we have to do is mash the beans and mix everything together in a mixing bowl!
- Quinoa. Just one quarter cup of dry raw quinoa. It can be white quinoa or tricolor quinoa, your choice.
- Olive Oil. Plain olive oil, no need for extra virgin oil here since it will be used for cooking.
- Onion. One half cup of chopped white or yellow onion brings so much flavor to these pinto bean burgers. We will saute it in a bit of olive oil before stirring into the bowl.
- Smoked Paprika. This is different than regular paprika! It is absolutely worth seeking out smoked paprika, because it brings a bacon-like flavor to these pinto bean burgers.
- Cumin. Just one half teaspoon of ground cumin.
- Pinto Beans. We need 2 ½ cups of my cooked instant pot pinto beans. Yes, you can absolutely used canned! Buy two 15-ounce cans, drain the beans, and then measure them with a measuring cup. You will have about a cup leftover, because two cans of bean is roughly 3.5 cups of cooked beans. Use it in my pinto bean soup recipe.
- Cornmeal. While the white powder in the photos looks like flour, it's actually just ground white cornmeal. Regular yellow finely ground corn meal is identical in texture.
- Burger Ingredients: fluffy buns, sliced red onion, guacamole and tomatoes for serving these pinto bean burgers.
First, cook the quinoa: combine the ¼ cup of dry quinoa with ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and then cover. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and see if all of the water has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of the olive oil to a small skillet, and saute the chopped onion for about 5 minutes, until softened. Lower the heat if it threatens to burn. Finally, add the smoked paprika and cumin, and saute for another 30 seconds.
Next, turn off the heat to the pan of onions and spices and add the pinto beans. Mash with a potato masher until the mixture turns into a thick paste.
Transfer the pinto bean mash to a bowl, and add the cooked quinoa, cilantro, cornmeal, and salt. Roughly divide the mixture in half by eye, and form 3 burgers from each half for a total of 6 patties.
Shape the patties into round shapes with an even thickness, and place them on a plate to refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, and cook the pinto bean burgers on each side until golden brown, about 7-9 minutes per side.
We like to use fluffy, soft buns that we spread guacamole on top to serve these pinto bean burgers. You can top with sliced tomatoes, onions, or whatever you like on your burger! A salty pile of French fries on the side is always welcome, too!
- ¼ cup raw quinoa (any color)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 ½ cups cooked pinto beans
- Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For serving: hamburger buns, sliced red onion, tomatoes, guacamole
- First, cook the quinoa: combine the quinoa with ½ cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to low, and then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid; if all of the water is fully absorbed, you're good. If not, let it cook uncovered for a few minutes to absorb all of the remaining water.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet, and saute the chopped onion for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Lower the heat if the onions starts to burn around the edges. Finally, add the smoked paprika and cumin, and sauté for another 30 seconds. Then, turn the heat off and add the pinto beans to the pan.
- Use a potato masher to mash the beans and combine them with the onions and spices. The mixture should be a thick paste.
- Transfer the pinto bean mash into a bowl, and stir in the freshly cooked quinoa, chopped cilantro, cornmeal and salt. Use your hands to divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, and shape into 6 patties. Place the bean patties on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium, and cook the bean patties until golden brown on both sides, about 7-9 minutes per side. Lower the heat if the patties start to burn. Serve on hamburger buns with guacamole and other burger toppings you prefer.
Quinoa: You can use plain white or tri-color quinoa for this recipe; both work equally well.
Pinto Beans: You need 2.5 cups of already cooked beans, which is slightly less than 2 whole 15-ounce cans of pinto beans. Drain the beans from the can and then measure them with a measuring cup.
*Please note that the nutritional information below is only for the bean patties and does not include the bun, guacamole or any other burger toppings you add.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g