Southwestern Bean Burgers

Southwestern Bean Burgers

Bean burgers have a lot to brag about. They might be the underdog at a summer barbecue, but they can be the ideal plant-based solution to warm weather dining.

This easy version is especially delicious, with the added advantage of zero cholesterol or saturated fat.

These days, bean burgers appear on the menu in many restaurants, and in the freezer section of your local grocery store. But many commercial bean burgers include egg whites or added fats. When you make your own, you can control the quality of every ingredient — and at a fraction of the cost.

The ingredients in these nutritious burgers are all easy-grab pantry items, except for leftover brown rice, which I recommend you make ahead of time.

In fact, you can freeze a bag or two of rice, like I do now, in pre-measured, one-cup packages. That way you can make these bean burgers at a moment’s notice. I learned this lesson (more than once) the hard way, when I didn’t have time to start cooking a pot of rice from scratch.

This recipe makes eight generous — or 10 smaller — very satisfying, guilt-free bean burgers. They can be baked, grilled, broiled, or sautéd. Leftover burgers freeze beautifully.

Top your bean burgers with lettuce and tomatoes, mustard and ketchup, or salsa and sliced avocados. Serve alongside corn on the cob, a fresh green salad, or hot baked potatoes for delicious warm weather dining all summer long.


  • Servings: makes 10 to 12 burgers
  • Print

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup cooked brown rice, or leftover steamed or boiled potatoes (with skins left on)
3/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon Mexican or taco seasoning
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


Mash beans with a potato masher until almost smooth, but not entirely. Add other ingredients, and mix thoroughly.

Form into 10 to 12 burgers.

To pan sauté Bean Burgers: Pan sauté four burgers at a time, on medium-high heat, in a large covered skillet. Cook the first side for about eight minutes, or until crispy. Flip each bean burger carefully, and grill second side for five to eight minutes, or until golden brown. (Covering the pan or grill while cooking helps the bean burgers cook very evenly, all the way through).

To bake Bean Burgers: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place burgers on parchment paper, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Turning the burgers is not necessary.

Serve hot bean burgers on toasted whole grain buns, with your favorite toppings.

(Recipe inspired by Jeff Novick’s Fast Food Burgers and Fries)

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

Fabulous Beet Burgers

Fabulous Beet Burgers

I made these burgers last night, and they were amazing!

I feel compelled to add here (in case you can identify) that I don’t even like beets. Actually, no one in our family is a fan of beets, yet everyone loved these burgers.

Beets, of course, are incredibly nutritious, and this is a tremendous way to enjoy this powerful superfood.

It might look like a lot of steps, but it isn’t really. Most of the prep work can be completed in advance. In fact, you really can do all of it ahead, and just bake the burgers right before serving.

While the beets and the onion roasted in the oven, I cooked the brown rice, adding the beet greens to cook right along with the rice in my rice cooker. Rice would work in this recipe without greens, but I didn’t want to waste the greens, because they enhance the nutritional profile even more. Beets, greens, brown rice, and black beans…good, good stuff.

These burgers are outstanding served open-faced on toasted whole grain buns, with plenty of fresh toppings. The color is spectacular, and the flavor is fabulous!


3 small (or 2 medium) roasted beets (see below)
1 large roasted onion (see below)
1 cup brown rice, mixed with steamed greens (see below)
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup ground flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large food processor, add the beets, onion, and all other ingredients, and process until almost (but not entirely) smooth.

Empty contents into a color-safe bowl, or onto a clean color-safe surface. Divide mixture evenly into 8 to 10 portions. Form each one into a flat burger-shaped patty. Place burgers on a nonstick baking sheet or oven-safe griddle.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until almost firm to the touch. Remove beet burgers from oven, and serve immediately on toasted whole grain buns, along with your favorite condiments and toppings (lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickles, mustard, hummus, etc.).

To roast the beets and onion…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and trim beets. Trim and peel the onion. Place the beets and the onion into a covered baking dish, or wrap each one individually in aluminum foil.

Place the covered baking dish or the foil packets in the oven and roast for one hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool, without opening. (Roasting can be completed early in the day, or even the day before. If making ahead, refrigerate cooled vegetables until ready to use.)

Once the beets (and onion) have cooled, carefully remove and discard the thin outer skin on the beets.

Brown rice and steamed greens…

For convenience, cook the greens along with your rice. The amount of greens you use is up to you!

Just wash and chop your choice of fresh greens (beet greens or kale work great). Add uncooked greens to the uncooked rice and allow both to steam together on the stove or in a rice cooker. (This combination is optional. Plain cooked brown rice is fine, too.)

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

Sweet and Creamy Cabbage and Apple Slaw

YUM! This is my new favorite slaw, sweetened with apples, and delightfully delicious! It may very well be the best slaw I have ever tasted, and the dressing is pretty much miraculous, made with raisins and cashews, making it both sweet and creamy!

It’s my spin on a Cathy Fisher recipe in Straight Up Food. (Although she adds raisins to the slaw, I move the raisins to the dressing instead – plus I use less cashews to lower the fat, and I omit the red onions in the slaw, and leave out all of the fresh garlic in the dressing.) This is super good.

Perfect along with corn on the cob and Southwestern Bean Burgers – or piled high over Pulled Jackfruit in Spicy BBQ Sauce!


  • Servings: approximately 6 to 8
  • Print


3 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 crisp apples, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and shredded


1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup raisins, packed
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 – 2  tablespoons apple cider or balsamic vinegar
sprinkle of kosher salt (optional)


In a large bowl, mix together green and red cabbages, apples, and carrots. Set aside.

Into a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, add water, cashews, raisins, brown mustard, vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt. Process until smooth.

Pour dressing over coleslaw, and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Toss again well just before serving.

(Inspired by recipe in Straight Up Food, by Cathy Fisher)

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

Jalapeño Queso

It almost strains credulity that plant-based ingredients alone can create a queso this creamy and versatile.

Dip your baked whole grain tortillas HERE..of course. But don’t stop there. Drizzle everything you’re ready to love even more – from bean burgers to baked potatoes, and from pasta to broccoli.

Caution. This queso is spicy, so please tone it down (just use less jalapeños) if your family prefers less heat.


1 onion, quartered
2 small to medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 carrot, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup salsa
3 tablespoons pickled jalapeños nacho slices
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or vinegar brine from jar of jalapeño nacho slices)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stovetop Instructions

Place onion, potatoes, and carrot pieces in a medium pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.

Into a large* high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), add the cooked vegetables along with the 1/2 cup of the reserved water, plus cashews, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, salsa, jalapeños, vinegar (or brine), salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Process until very smooth. Serve warm, as desired.

Pressure Cooker Instructions

Place onion, potatoes, and carrot pieces into the Electric Pressure Cooker (Zavor is my personal favorite). Add 1 cup of water. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and set the timer for 5 minutes.

After the cooking is complete, use the quick release method to release pressure. When the valve drops, carefully remove lid. Drain vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.

Into a large* high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), add the cooked vegetables along with the 1/2 cup of the reserved water, plus cashews, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, salsa, jalapeños, vinegar (or brine), salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Process until very smooth. Serve warm, as desired.

*Note about the blender: Use a larger blender jar (at least 48 ounces). If your blender is smaller, you may need to process in batches.

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

Guest Post by Victoria Moran, excerpt from “The Good Karma Diet”, and Chia Seed Pudding recipe

Chia Pudding

It is truly an honor to share with you this excerpt from the very highly anticipated new book, The Good Karma Diet, by bestselling author, Victoria Moran.

In this excerpt, you’ll get a lovely glimpse into how eloquently Victoria frames her argument that we can dine well, live a beautiful life, and create good karma at the same time. It is at once gentle and dynamic – and so convincing. Her words are inspiring and very powerful. I’m serious…you want this book. (Enjoy the recipe below from the book for Chia Seed Pudding, too.)

Preorder Special: If you order The Good Karma Diet before May 19th, you’ll get access to an exclusive teleclass with Victoria Moran, plus be entered in the Good Karma Contest, in which the charity of your choice will be in the running for one of three $100 contributions.

From “The Good Karma Diet”

The Good Karma Diet

By Victoria Moran

Good Karma eating is as simple as can be: comprise your meals of plants instead of animals, and most of the time choose unprocessed plant foods, meaning that they got from the garden or orchard or field to your kitchen with minimal corporate interference.

The Good Karma Diet This way of eating gives you good karma in two ways. The first is self-explanatory: by eating foods of high nutrient density and avoiding the animal products and processed foods your body can have trouble dealing with, you’ll reap the rewards of improved health. The second is a bit more mystical: you do good and you get good back.

As is true for life in general, it’s probably better to do this with unselfish motives, but even if your motivation is to become thinner, healthier, or more youthful, you’ll be doing something modestly heroic at the same time. This way of eating and living could lessen the suffering of billions of animals. I know it’s hard to think in terms of billions, but if you imagine counting the individual beings one at a time, you get some of the impact. In addition, ninety-eight percent of the animals raised for food suffer horrifically on factory farms before being slaughtered, often in adolescence. Every time you eat a vegan meal, you’re voting for something different.

This choice also lightens the burden on the planet. Raising animals for food in the numbers we do today calls for an exorbitant amount of water and fossil fuels. It leads to vast “lagoons” of animal waste, and the release into the atmosphere of tons of greenhouse gases, mostly in the form of methane.

What you have here is holistic dining at its finest – body and soul. Eating whole, plant foods is scientifically validated as being both nutritionally adequate and anti-pathological. In other words, it cures stuff. Not everything. But reversal of such scourges as coronary disease and type 2 diabetes among people on this kind of diet has been repeatedly reported in the scientific literature; and the preventive potential of this way of eating is supported by ample research.

If this sounds great but going all the way seems impossible right now, go partway. Americans’ consumption of animal foods has, as I write this, been decreasing annually since 2007, primarily because non-vegans are making vegan choices some – or much – of the time. They fix a veggie-burger or black beans and rice, or they order their latté with soy, or have a green smoothie for breakfast so they’ll look prettier and — what do you know? — the statistics get prettier, too.

Once you’re fully vegan, celebrate! The only thing you need to “do” nutritionally that you weren’t doing before is take a vitamin B12 supplement of about 100 micrograms a day as a tiny, tasty, melt-in-your mouth tablet. B12 is not reliably found in plant foods unless they’ve been fortified with it, and lack of B12 is dangerous. This single missing element in a plant-food diet pains many vegans. If this is the perfect diet, it ought to be, well, perfect. But this is life on earth: extraordinary, magnificent, and absolutely not perfect. Bacteria in our mouths and intestines do make some B12, and maybe at some point in evolutionary history we all made enough, just as our long-ago ancestors made their own vitamin C and now we don’t. I look at taking B12 as a tiny surcharge for the privilege of being vegan.

If you hear yourself saying “I could never give up ice cream” (or something else), realize that you may just be short on vegucation. There are lots of rich, luscious nondairy ice creams on the market, and you can make exquisite homemade ice cream with only a DIYgene and an ice cream maker.

If you have the information and you’re still saying “I could never give up. . .,” listen to yourself. You’re affirming weakness. You’re bigger than that. You can eat plants and save lives. You can give your life exponentially more meaning by living in a way that decreases suffering just because you got up and chose a kind breakfast.

Without this commitment, the Good Karma Diet would be, as much as I hate to say it, just a diet. To me, a diet is: “Eat this and don’t eat that, and feel guilty when you screw up, which of course you will because you’re only human, for heaven’s sake, and nobody can be on a diet forever.” That doesn’t really make you want to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Understand and embrace the compassion piece, the conviction that you’re here to make life easier for others, regardless of species, and then everything else – whatever tweaks you might make because of an allergy, a digestive peculiarity, a personal preference — will come with little effort. This lifts that word “diet” from the deprivational depths and restores its original meaning from the Greek diaita, “a way of life.” And this particular way of life is one replete with meaning and fulfillment and joy.

Excerpted from The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.


1 cup unsweetened nut milk (homemade Brazil or almond milk, or unsweetened commercial vegan milk)
3 tablespoons chia seeds (whole or ground)
4 to 5 drops stevia or 1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or hempseeds
1 tablespoon chopped nuts
1/3 cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries all work well)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Loving Preparation:
Stir the chia seeds, milk and sweetener in a jar. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and leave for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, shake the jar really well. Leave for another 5 minutes, then shake really well again. Leave at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or, for best digestion, keep in the fridge overnight and serve for breakfast. You can also prepare this in the morning and leave in your fridge for a midday or evening snack.

Before opening, shake vigorously one more time. Then pour into a bowl and add any or all of the optional ingredients.

Excerpted from The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motionby Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.

Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen