From Julia Newberry, my co-author of The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen, we have this great burger alternative. We tried a lot of bean burgers and this was the one that worked for us. I actually prefer these as smaller fritters.
From Julia: "I started out thinking I would make little bean “fritters” but ended up making 3-inch patties and wrapping them in butter lettuce to eat. It turns out that the same basic recipe can be used whether you want to shape the mixture into a small ball (fritter), a small patty, or a large patty. I prefer these with Yellow Eye or white beans, but darker beans, even black beans, work too. For a creamy dipping sauce, mix yogurt or mayonnaise with Sriracha hot sauce."
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped Swiss chard or other leafy green
- 4 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans, drained
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated but kept whole
- Lemon wedges
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the green onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chard and saute until the chard is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and mash with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool. Add the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Wash the frying pan so you can use it for the next step.
- Form the bean mixture into small balls or larger patties (see note).
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Without crowding the pan (and working in batches if needed), add the fritters or patties. Cook until the bottoms are golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes for fritters or 5 to 6 minutes for patties. Flip them with a flat spatula, and cook the other sides until golden. Add more oil to the pan for each batch.
- Place the fritters on a bed of butter lettuce, top with a generous amount of lemon juice and salt, and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can serve the patties with burger buns and fixings.