I like a good eye crossing burger (don’t worry, i’ll explain later) and as a vegan, burger making prowess is a handy skill to possess. Burgers mean a lot to me and as such I’ve made a lot of veggie burgers and I am still by no means ‘there’ yet, but I really like this one.

smokey bean burger

So, the first and most key burger rule I have learnt on my 8 year burger learning curve is that the mixture consistency is sooooooo very important, and to get the correct consistency you need to experiment! Soft and mushy is just annoying but at the same time you really don’t want to break a tooth at first bite. I usually have the former problem. My first veggie bean burger was a big floppy sloppy mess and despite tasting pretty good it was a mission to eat! If I remember correctly we also ‘spilt’ too much chill into the mix, so really it was more super hot vegetarian chill in a bun than burger- uuuuummmm yummy. Potential future recipe perhaps?

There are a mass of bean burger recipes around but as long as you take care of the main elements such as mixture consistency, texture and size I think the actual ingredients boil down to personal tastes. The smokey chipotle and raw cocoa provide a rich, lightly spiced and sweet tone throughout the burger but this can be adjusted to personal taste. The oats and almonds add a slight nutty crunch and firmness without drying the mixture out and once combined with the smoothness of the beans a workable consistency forms. It’s really important to drain the beans thoroughly as they are pretty water retentive.! If you find mid way through combining that it is a little sloppy you can add more wholemeal flour or oats to dry it out. It really is one of those recipes that require a bit of judgement and experimentation.

smokey bean burger
ready to go!

Best to use a high burning oil such as rape seed to achieve that crunchy exterior. I usually give them 5-6 minutes each side but keep an eye on them anyhow!

I divided this mixture into 4 good sized burgers and shape into…..well burger shapes! If using cheese slice, place on the burger 1 minute before removing from the hob.

smokey bean burger
It’s all in the consistency………

Obviously, serve with a decent bun, I top it with cheese, some pickles, crunchy salad and tomato ketchup 🙂 I really like a few nachos in the burger for added crunch!

smokey bean burger
Amazing with mustard coleslaw

My favourite part is picking it up, squeezing it together and taking an almighty bite whilst trying my hardest not to go cross eyed! I still can’t do it, ever since I was a kid my eyes start wondering inwards towards my nose when tackling an oversized burger, much to the amusement of my family!

So, if there were a veggie burger making rulebook what would you add to it?!

Smokey Bean Burger

(makes 4 burgers)

1 can of black beans, drained very well
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 onion, peeled & chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large carrot or squash, peeled and chopped
1 chipotle chili, chopped
1/4 cup of almonds
small handful of cacao nibs or grated dark chocolate
1 cup of oats
coriander/cumin/cinnamon/smoked paprika
salt / pepper
flour to dust
oil for frying

Note: Most pulses work well but all need to be thoroughly drained.


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick pan and soften onion, garlic and chopped carrot. Meanwhile drain the beans thoroughly.
  2. Add 2/3 beans to a mixing bowl followed by the onion mix, chill, almonds, oats, spices, salt & pepper. Blitz mixture in a blender.
  3. Stir through remaining beans and cocoa nibs and partially blitz. Now is the time to add any peas/sweetcorn.
  4. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape into buns and dust with flour.
  5. Use remaining oil to fry the burgers for 5-6 minutes on both sides.
  6. Top with sliced (dairy-free) cheese if desired and serve immediately in a grainy bun.

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