Fat-free Spicy Black Bean Burgers

I haven’t had a chance to talk to you about Freddie or Lucy recently, and I wanted to post an update for those among you who have been wondering what’s up.

Lucy’s doing pretty great. She’s almost through her chemotherapy now, and will then go on a maintenance dose. Our experience, overall, has been much better than what we anticipated. Chemo for dogs is not as life-wracking as chemo for humans can be, because the doses are much smaller. This means side-effects are minimal– in Lucy’s case she gets nauseous for a day or two, stays away from food, and then it’s back to getting into everyone else’s food bowl.

As for being three-legged, she does tire more easily than she used to because she is a big dog and there’s one less leg to support that weight. So long walks have to be punctuated by a few sitting-down breaks, but that works perfectly for her walking companion Opie who loves nothing more than to sit around and people-watch, thank you.


Freddie, meanwhile, has been diagnosed with what could be a soft-tissue sarcoma– also a cancer– under one of his front legs. This is a less aggressive kind of cancer than the one Lucy has, and given his advanced age– he’ll be 18 in December– and limited physical reserves, the doctor has advised we don’t try to do anything to treat it. Apparently he doesn’t feel any pain.

Freddie has been showing signs of his age over the past year, which means he’s slowed down quite a bit, and has some signs of senility. But no– he’s definitely not ready to roll over and die. He still enjoys his drives and his treats, and he’s happy being the cute old man that he is. They say senior dogs, when adopted, get a new burst of life– and nothing could be truer of Freddie who adopted us when he was 12. He actually came with us as a foster, and just stayed on.

Now on to today’s recipe, a simple one, but one you can make in advance and enjoy for days and days of blissful brown-bag lunches: my spicy black-bean burger.

The fat-free burger is packed with great nutrition: black beans, walnuts, brown rice, chickpea four, oats, herbs, and a few sizzling spices. What’s not to love?

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Fat-free black-bean burgers


1 cup dried black beans, soaked for a few hours and cooked until tender, then drained (you can skip the soaking if you use a pressure cooker). Substitute, if you like, with 2 1/2 cups of canned black beans, drained.

1 cup garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour or besan

1/2 cup rolled or instant oats

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup frozen corn kernels

1 onion, chopped

1 tsp red chilli powder (reduce, for less heat, or substitute with 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce)

1/2 cup minced savory herbs (like sage, marjoram, oregano or thyme)

2 tsp garam masala

Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients into a food processor, and process until grainy and still very textured.

Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet and spray lightly with oil.

Form two-inch discs with the burger batter and drop them into the skillet. The batter will be a little runnier than you’d expect, but it will set and form into firm patties as the burger cooks.

Flip over when the underside is golden-brown, and cook on the other side about 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot with salsa, guacamole, and atop a delicious roll like my soymilk pompoms.=”separator”>

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

30 thoughts on “Fat-free Spicy Black Bean Burgers

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 4:09pm

    Glad Lucy is doing alright. I guess you can say Freddie is aging gracefully the way you have described him. Good burgers.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 4:52pm

    BIG hugs to Lucy and Freddie! muuaah!
    The bean burgers are FAB! I have tasted the morning star frozen ones and felt their inadequacy in the taste dept. These, on the other hand… I MUST try! :)

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Divya Vikram

    July 13, 2010 at 5:38pm

    Great to hear Lucy is doing good! I have seen these burgers in many blogs. Need to get some black beans during my next grocery shopping.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 6:53pm

    Thats great to know Lucy is doing well now…Black bean burgers looks utterly delicious..

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 7:37pm

    So glad to hear about Lucy! I was wondering about her. And also happy to hear that Freddie is doing well.
    This recipe is a keeper, Vaish! I have GOT to try this.

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 8:13pm

    i keep forgetting to try these burgers.. these will be great for my burger craving hubby… on some nice freshly baked bread!

    Great to hear about Lucy doing better. I am sure Freddie has had some really lovely years with you and that will help him have painless and happy journey to the rainbow bridge. My mom’s pom had mammary tumors on and off and 2 surgeries. At 16 we decided not to have another surgery and also had to make the hard decision to let her go when the pain started to overshadow most of her daily activities. But everyday she always had smiles for us.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 13, 2010 at 11:49pm

    So glad to hear updates about your darlings= kudos to you for nursing them with such love and care. You’re good people, Vaishali.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 14, 2010 at 3:45am

    Glad to know about Lucy and Freddie. Burgers can’t be healthier than this with these many good ingredients. I am bookmarking this recipe.

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ali | Soulful Body & Mind

    July 14, 2010 at 10:54am

    This looks delicious. My family has never had black bean burgers since we’ve converted to veganism. This looks like something we will try. Thanks for posting.

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ali | Soulful Body & Mind

    July 14, 2010 at 10:54am

    This looks delicious. My family has never had black bean burgers since we’ve converted to veganism. This looks like something we will try. Thanks for posting.

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 14, 2010 at 2:20pm

    Good to hear about Lucy and Freddie. You are doing such a wonderful job of taking care of them.

    Burger recipe is a keeper. Wondering if we can BBQ it? Must try once.

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 14, 2010 at 4:09pm

    Glad to her about lucy!

    Burger looks very yummy.

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Preeti @ heart and mind

    July 14, 2010 at 6:47pm


    God to hear an update about Lucy and Freddie. I can see still lot of things going on with them. i wish them speedy recovery.

    On recipe side, I love this, on my current no spend month experience I will make this as I have beans at home. By the way, your tips are very useful! Thank you.

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 15, 2010 at 7:21pm

    Glad to hear that Lucy’s doing great. And lovely burger, we just had black bean burger for dinner a few weeks ago. So love it…

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 16, 2010 at 10:59pm

    Oh I love bean burgers; black bean burgers are a favorite in our household. This weekend we’ll be grilling outside, and I already told my daughter I would be making her favorite Black Bean burgers.

    I’m glad to hear Lucy is doing well, it can be hard seeing our furbabies sick. After all, they’re part of the family too.

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 17, 2010 at 8:26pm

    Those Fat-free Spicy Black Bean Burgers are right up my alley!! Thanks for the seasoning ideas to spice mine up. Great photo!

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 18, 2010 at 12:39pm

    Hi Vaishali,

    I made these for my lunch yesterday. There were so good! When I read this post I thought this was a nice recipe to try, you just “throw everything in to the food processor” and it’s done, sort of :). I didn’t have black beans, so I used red beans and I was so surprised by their color after being cooked – they looked like real meat, actually my dad thought they were real meat and started to joke about it! I added a few drops of soy sauce, to balance the seasoning.
    Thank you so much for updating us about Lucy and Freddie. It’s good to hear that Lucy is managing her treatments well, I firmly believe that is because you and Desy care so much about her and all the good wishes your blog readers sent to her ;)- after all Love heals everything! and this applies to Freddie as well. we can’t stop aging, it’s part of our lives, humans, animals, plants, etc., but we can help each other going through this time, and Freddie is an excellent example of how this task can be a tremendous success.

    Wishing the best for all,

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Veggie Belly

    July 22, 2010 at 5:13pm

    Very nice! Black beans are so perfect for burgers. I bet these were yummy and also filling. Do you think they can be grilled on a grill?

  19. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 22, 2010 at 11:18pm

    Hey Vaishali,
    Sho nice to hear about Freddie and Lucy. Nice to know that Lucy is doing better and Opie gives her company.
    I loved your idea of adding the brown rice to burgers. It tastes great.

    I got to know this video about soy milk. I thought you may know more about it. I am personally fond of soymilk and was pretty upset to hear about this.


  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 23, 2010 at 5:53am

    these burgers look and sound delicious! I’m already contemplating these for dinner tomorrow!

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 24, 2010 at 2:54am

    Dear Vaishali

    Good to know about the pets.Thank you for sharing the news about their health.

    This recipe is great. I skipped all the seasoning and also besan, brown rice since I didn’t have any. I replaced it with whole wheat flour. It made so many burgers and I still have the batter in the fridge. At least I don’t have to worry about tomorrow’s lunch and dinner :)

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 25, 2010 at 2:15am

    Those burgers look awesome! I just found your blog but I am on it now! New follower! :)

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 28, 2010 at 6:43pm

    Good to hear that Lucy’s doing much better !

    The burgers look fabulous, would love to give this one a try….

  24. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 8, 2012 at 3:05am

    Hello There,
    I just found your recipes and am excited to try some of the fat free ones as I am currently on a no fat diet for a gallbladder flare up. I did want to ask if there is any substitute you would recommend for the walnuts as walnuts are not fat free and so I can’t incorporate them in my diet. Thank you!


    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      July 9, 2012 at 9:34pm

      I started to suggest flax meal, then realized you don’t want any fat at all. In that case, just leave out the walnuts.

Thank you for visiting Holy Cow! I love hearing from you, so take a moment to say hello or tell me what you thought of this post. Thank you!