VeganFEAST: Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers with Brussels Slaw and Hearts of Palm/Avocado Chop Chop Salad

26 Apr

Vegan!? I know, I can’t believe it either. But when I read fellow blogger Small World Supper Club‘s post from April 22, I knew I had to make this immediately. I also came across this salad from Big Girls Small Kitchen around the same time, and didn’t even realize it was also vegan (chicken-omitting, of course)

Bulgur Bean Burgers + Brussels Slaw – Small World Supper Club }

Chicken, Hearts of Palm and Avocado Chop Chop Salad – Big Girls Small Kitchen }


I am a big fan of black bean burgers, but have never made one successfully at home. It’s a delicate apparatus, my friends. There is a certain art to putting together a black bean burger because it is WAY too easy to make it into a big pile of (delicious and protein-packed) mush. You think it’s awkward trying to cook a big pile of mush in a pan? Try to take a bite without it spilling out over the sides in a stream of black bean failure. But I digress…

What’s nice about this whole meal is the only “cooking” that takes place is the bulgur that’s in the patty, and the pan-frying of the actual patties. The rest is fancy knife work, risky emulsifying, and good old fashioned elbow grease. But what is Bulgur anyways? It’s a ground-wheat (recognized as whole wheat by the USDA) that is often found in Mediterranean foods and my pantry (I have a surplus of bulgur because a while ago I made a mushroom-bulgur dish that I loved, and then decided to buy another pound when I wanted to make it again because I forgot I already some. Bulgur Surplus).

So once our bulgur (terrible, terrible name, right guys?) is cooked and ready, we want to make the burger patties. In a food processor, combine the majority of a can of (rinsed) black beans, shredded carrot, cumin, fennel, coriander, pinch of cayenne, salt, cilantro, and juice of 1/2 a lime. Remember that chili paste I was blathering on about last week? Well let’s toss about a tablespoon in there too.

FoodProcessorGive it a few good pulses just to mix, and add in 1/2 the bulgur. Pulse again (DON’T OVER PULSE THIS IS WHERE THE MUSH COMES FROM). Now add the rest of the black beans for a few final pulses. Scrape into a bowl and mix in the rest of the bulgur.

BurgerPasteNot great…but not bad either (texture wise). Just to be safe, let’s form these into patties and pop them in the freezer for a tic to form up before the pan-frying.

PattiesMeanwhile, let’s start our brussels  slaw. Thinly slice some cute little brussels and grate some carrots (I always have baby carrots on hand, so naturally my hands were a little cut up after this because have you ever grated baby carrots? It always ends in grated fingers)

SlawAnd the only thing that goes into this is now the vinaigrette…which uses apple cider vinegar…that I don’t have. Crap. After some frantic internetting  (because I hate driving to get something when I don’t need to, and not in a “I’m afraid of driving” kind of way, but in a “what a waste” kind of way), I pieced some different things together to come up with the following: white vinegar is too strong of a flavor, and adds nothing, and sherry cooking wine is super sweet. Blend them half and half, and throw in a pinch of sugar, and you’ve got yourself a suitable substitute. Now, with your franken-vinegar, mix some prepared mustard, salt, cumin and cayenne. Slowly drizzle in some olive oil while whisking birskly to create a nice emulsification (which is a mixture of liquids that normally wouldn’t blend but since you’re whisking your ass off they come together in perfect harmony).

VinaigretteI think our burgers are ready now. Pull them out, and coat both sides in  bread crumbs (I opted for panko)

BurgerDipNow pan fry those mothers

BurgerFlipSince I am just the queen of multi-tasking, I decided to start and finish my Chop Chop salad while these bad boys were getting a nice crust to them. I’d also like to take this opportunity to talk about Hearts of Palm.

HeartsofPalmIf these weren’t so expensive I would probably have a can-a-day addiction, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a vegetable that is harvested from inside the core of a Palm Tree…one might even say the “heart” of the Palm…. They have just a hint of sourness, and look really gross. These bad boys are usually $4 a pop (a can that has about 6-7 pieces, which has approx. 20 calories a “stick”) and are just the best.

Anyhoo, cut these up, add some corn (thawed frozen is fine), a diced avocado, some chopped cilantro, and a roasted red pepper. I opted to make my own since I learned how easy it is

  • place your fresh pepper directly on the flame of a gas burner or right under your broiler
  • let sit, then rotate, then sit, then rotate, and do this until it’s black and charred all over
  • place in a sealed plastic baggie for 30 min to “sweat”
  • peel off charred skin under running water

Now this salad has it’s own dressing, but it’s so similar to the vinaigrette used for the brussels slaw I decided to just use whatever extra there was from the slaw. I also added the juice from 1/2 a lime (because dun-dun-dun that’s what I had) and some more cilantro. I made the mistake of not really documenting this salad, but jesus christ this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. If I can find cases of Hearts of Palm on sale I’m going to go hog wild and make this daily.

Black Bean Burgers, Assemble!


There was a cilantro mayo that was omitted from the original SWSC (Small World Supper Club) post, which my first thought was “are you CRAZY!? Cilantro Mayo sounds like maybe the best thing I’ve ever heard of” but once I had everything ready, the components were really deep and flavorful, so I thought they’d be able to stand on their own, and hey, it’s vegan, bonus. Now add your salad on the side, and you’ve got yourself quite the ” I can’t believe it’s Vegan” Vegan meal.

BurgerFinalNotes from the next day: not sure how to pack the leftovers up for the fridge, I combined the slaw and the salad since it all had the same dressing, and wow, it made it even better. I had a burger patty with a big heap of slaw-salad for both breakfast and lunch and can’t wait to do the same for dinner (providing John doesn’t finish the last of it before I get home)

Adapted from { Bulgur Bean Burgers + Brussels Slaw – Small World Supper Club }

Brussels Slaw

  • 1/4 cup “home made” sherry vinegar (1/8 C sherry wine + 1/8 C white vinegar + pinch of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • about a pound of Brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 carrot (or a handful of babies)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, cumin, cayenne, and mustard. Gradually whisk in the oil to emulsify. Adjust seasoning to taste. I added a splash of lemon juice at this point.
  2. Slice the sprouts longways, creating long skinny shreds. Or, if you’re feeling lazy (like me), just throw them in the food processor and shred. If the core seems overly hard, discard it (preferably in your compost bin). Add the Brussels sprouts to the dressing.
  3. Peel the carrot and use the vegetable peeler to shave off long slices and then slice them into thin shreds. (Or process in the food processor.) Add to the sprouts and dressing and toss well. Keep covered, refrigerated, until needed.

Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tsp sambal/harissa/chili paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked fine- or medium-grind  bulgur, cooled
  • 2/3 cup panko
  • buns, toasted
  1. In a small food processor, combine 2/3 of the beans, carrot, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and spices, and process until combined. Be careful not to over do it; you’re making burgers, not hummus!
  2. Add half of the bulgur and pulse a few times to combine. Then add the rest of the beans for a few FEW pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining bulgur.
  3. Shape into 6 patties a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Place on baking sheet and pop in the freezer for 10-15 min to firm up. Spread the panko on a plate and coat both sides of each patty with crumbs.
  4. Spray or coat a large sauté pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until well browned an heated through (I found that it took about 4 minutes on each side).
  5. Serve the burgers, topped with slaw, on the toasted buns.

Adapted from { Chicken, Hearts of Palm and Avocado Chop Chop Salad – Big Girls Small Kitchen }


  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • One 14-ounce can hearts of palm, cut into chunks (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed under running water and drained
  • 1 fresh red pepper (or jar of roasted red peppers)
  • 1 ripe avocados, cut in half, pit removed, cut in a cross hatch then scooped out
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  1. Place pepper on direct flame of gas stove or under broiler. Rotate and let sit until charred all over. Place in plastic bag to sweat for 30 min. Remove skin and seeds, and chop (if using prepared roasted red peppers, drain oil and chop)
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl, and drizzle whatever leftover dressing from the brussels sprouts you have over everything. Top with juice of half a lime, more cilantro, and some olive oil.

4 Responses to “VeganFEAST: Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers with Brussels Slaw and Hearts of Palm/Avocado Chop Chop Salad”

  1. Meg G. April 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Hooray! Nice job improvising with the franken-vinegar and that salad sounds like a delicious addition. Thanks for sharing these with your Flavor Country residents! 😉

  2. BucketHat April 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    baby carrots on the floor :0


  1. Laughing at Hipsters, Vegan Burgers That Taste Good, and a History of the Internet, by Angelina Jolie | The Daily Sampler - April 27, 2013

    […] Vegan Feast: Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers with Brussels Slaw and Hearts of Palm/Avocado Chop Chop S… – I was just as surprised as you might be to find this past week was “Veg Week” in Ann Arbor.  Wait, every week isn’t “Veg Week” in Ann Arbor?  Weird, right?  I had the pleasure of dining out with @EVitkin last night (by dining, I mean mostly doing shots), and had to share some of her culinary adventures.  I am pretty hungry now- and two thumbs up for the live action burger-construction sequence.  Love it. […]

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