Brooklyn Black Bean Burgers

Pairs well with:


Hard to pronounce yet easy to drink, this wine combines lychee fruit and white peach flavors with a hint of spice.

Brooklyn is a great melting pot of so many cultures, with especially large populations of people hailing from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. At the same time, Brooklyn (and New York City in general) is home to many vegetarians. In fact, New York City has the largest population of vegetarians on the east coast. Brooklyn is also home to many fine restaurants, showcasing cuisines ranging from the aforementioned island flavors, to traditional french cuisine.

My burger incorporates all those concepts into one very tasty package. Black beans, cilantro, and plantains play a role in most Central and South American cuisine, as well as Caribbean dishes. Chipotle is a traditionally Mexican ingredient that has been taking the U.S. by storm, especially with the introduction of the ready-to-use TABASCO brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce. Queso frejo is another Mexican ingredient that is becoming more popular here. And vinegar-based slaws have been used by South Americans and others for a while as an accompaniment to warm and cheesy dishes. Mixing these ethnic touches with the traditional French brioche and aioli leads to a burger that is as diverse in flavor inspiration as the place it hails from – Brooklyn.

Whether you say “buen provecho!” or “bon appetit!” and you want to hold the meat – this is the burger for you.


Cilantro Aioli:
1 head garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Chipotle Black Bean Burger:

2 oversize or 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed
2 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce
1 Tablespoon naturally brewed soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash nutmeg
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup panko
1 egg

[Note: TABASCO Chipotle Pepper Sauce may be substituted for the chipotle peppers. Use 2 Tablespoons of the TABASCO Chipotle Pepper Sauce and reduce the amount of soy sauce to 1/2 Tablespoon.]

Red Cabbage Slaw:
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, shredded
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Grilled Plantains:
2-3 large plantains, overripe (peel should be mostly black in color)
vegetable oil

Remainder of burger:
6 brioche buns
6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled


Cilantro Aioli:
Remove as many papery layers of garlic skin from head as possible without separating cloves. Trim the top 1/4 of the garlic off the head. Place on aluminum foil square, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarsely ground salt. Wrap the garlic in the foil and place on grill rack. Cover grill. Let roast for 30-45 minutes or until garlic cloves are fragrant, soft, and golden brown in color. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature prior to using.

Squeeze at least 9 cloves of the garlic out of the head and onto a cutting board. Sprinkle the table salt on the garlic and mince until garlic resembles a puree. Add the mayonnaise and the garlic puree to a small bowl and combine. Mince the cilantro and add it to the mayonnaise mixture. Slowly add the lemon juice and combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chipotle Black Bean Burger:
Sprinkle mushrooms and onion with salt and pepper. Grill until mushrooms are browned and soft and the onions have slightly caramelized. Remove from grill and let cool to room temperature. Mince mushrooms and onion. Minced mushrooms should yield about 3/4 cup of mushroom; minced onions should yield about 1/4 cup.

Add black beans to a large bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Add mushroom, onion, and soy sauce to the bowl and stir together. Add cumin, oregano, thyme, paprika, and nutmeg. Stir. Fold in cilantro, cheddar, oats, and panko. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Add the egg to the burger mixture. Divide the mixture into six equal portions. Using your hands, gently form the mix into patty shapes with smooth sides, leaving the patties about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Place each patty on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate at least 15-30 minutes, until ready to grill.

Grill each burger for about four minutes on each side, until browned. Flip gently.

Red Cabbage Slaw:
Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes prior to serving.

Grilled Plantains:
Run a knife along the length of each plantain, making a cut just deep enough to cut the peel. Turn the plantain sideways and cut through both the peel and the fruit at a diagonal angle, to create long oval-shaped slices. Remove the peel from the slices. Brush both the slices and the grill with vegetable oil. Grill the slices for approximately three minutes on each side, until fruit color changes to a golden yellow-brown and sugars appear caramelized on the surface. Remove from grill to a plate.

Burger Assembly:
Immediately prior to serving, grill brioche bun, cut side down, until warm.

On bottom of bun, layer one patty, 3-4 strips of grilled plantain, 4 Tablespoons slaw, and 2 Tablespoons crumbled queso frejo. Place bun top slightly askew to display burger ingredients. Serve with cilantro aioli in a small condiment cup on the side or generously spread the aioli on the top of the bun.