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The Virtual Picnic: Helena’s Black Bean Burgers

It’s Memorial Day. A day set aside for Americans to honor the U.S. men and women who have died while serving in the Armed Forces.

Because Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May, it’s also considered the unofficial start-date for picnic and barbeque season.

Many companies host picnics and potlucks for their employees on Memorial Day, but since the Food Safety News team is spread out across the country, we’re having a “virtual potluck” for our first Memorial Day celebration. Helena and Norah are bringing the main dishes–black bean burgers and barbequed chicken. Michelle is bringing two sides–barbequed stuffed peppers and hummus. Suzanne is bringing 3 sides–two pasta salads and a fruit and spinach salad. And Dan is bringing drinks–gin and tonics–and dessert–probably something he’ll pick up at the store at the last minute.

We’re sharing our recipes here, so you can join in our virtual potluck or use them at your next one.

Have a Safe Memorial Day Weekend!

The Food Safety News team.


Bottemiller’s Black Bean Burgers

Here’s a recipe I’ve been working on for a while now – these are great to make in a big batch and then freeze for another day and they’re also a unique item to serve at a BBQ. These yummy, protein-packed, burgers have been a hit with meat-eaters and veggies alike!


black-bean-burger-featured.jpg-1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
-1/2 onion, finely chopped
-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
-1 egg
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon cumin
-1 teaspoon hot sauce (can also use salsa)
-3/4 cup oatmeal (can also use breadcrumbs, or 50/50 mixture)

*If you want them on the spicy side, add a generous dash of red chili pepper flakes.


If you want to use the grill, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork or potato masher until thick and pasty. Add in finely chopped bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Next add egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Make palm-sized patties, about an inch thick.

If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 10-12 minutes on each side, until slightly crispy on the outside. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake 10-15 minutes on each side.

Serve on a hearty, toasted whole wheat bun with crumbled goat cheese and red leaf lettuce, or melted pepperjack and avocado.


© Food Safety News