Cheap Eats – Katy’s Black Bean Burgers

by Katy on May 27, 2008 · 7 comments

Even if you are bound and determined to spend as little money as possible, you still have to eat. Sure, there are a number of “Freegans” who are happy to haul still edible food stuffs from dumpsters, but most of us will not be choosing that route and do have to open our wallets in order to get fed.

There is the potential to save thousands of dollars per year by changing how you shop for and prepare your food. And no, I’m not talking about staging a “Ramen-O-Rama.” Bringing your lunch to work, saving restaurant meals for special occasions, eating your leftovers and being willing to eat simple meals are all tactics that can have lovely budget lowering effects.

My family will be eating “Katy’s Black Bean Burgers” tonight, which is one of my favorite meals. It is healthy, cheap, easy to make, yummy and I always make lots extra for the freezer. Most importantly, my husband and I really like them and the kids are willing to choke them down. The convergence of these two phenomena is an occurrence rarely seen in the parenting world.

Katy’s Black Bean Burgers” is based on an online recipe that I tweaked. I freeze bread crusts in a ziploc bag to make the bread crumbs, and I cook the beans in the crock-pot. Here’s the recipe to get you started on your path to cheap eats.


  • 4 cups of cooked black beans (or 2 16 ounce cans).
  • 1 onion finely chopped, thusly invisible to the pre-teen eye.
  • 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
  • 2 cup bread crumbs
  • Optional: (corn, chopped red peppers or whatever strikes your fancy.)
  1. In a large bowl, mash the beans with a fork until they are nice and mushy.
  2. Break the bread crusts into small pieces and chop in a food processor or blender until they are small and crumbly. Toast them afterwards in a toaster oven or regular oven. Careful – they go from lightly toasted to “Cajun style” pretty quickly. Add to the beans.
  3. Finely chop the onion, garlic and pepper if using. You can use a food processor. Stir the chopped mixture into the beans. I saute it first if I have time, which decreases the “oniony” taste so beloved by children world-wide.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the eggs, chili powder, cumin and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix into the bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
  6. Heat a lightly oiled skillet. Drop the mixture into a burger shape – it will be gloppy. Try not to manipulate them unless necessary or they will break. Carefully flip when they are brown and crispy.
Serve with ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, cheese on buns. Serves 8.

Pan grill the extra burgers and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Pop into a ziploc bag when completely frozen. The burgers can then be removed singly and microwaved for a quick, healthy lunch.

Bon Appetit!

-Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Greta Michelfeld June 8, 2008 at 3:33 pm


Jessie just told me about your wonderful blog and I have read every last post with great pleasure. This is so inspiring. Thanks for all the great ideas and it’s wonderful to hear about your family.



liza November 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm


your bean burgers came up on the compact the other day, and i want to try them for tomorrow’s dinner, but i don’t have bread crumbs. have you ever used rolled oats instead of bread crumbs? do you think it would work ok?


Katie July 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

“1 onion finely chopped, thusly invisible to the pre-teen eye.”


Um… don’t mind me. Just reading some of your archives!


Marcia August 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

I made some last week using a different recipe. They were really GLOPPY. Afterwards, I added some extra bread crumbs and froze the rest. I’m suspicious they are still pretty gloppy, but I will use them. The first night my DD stopped over and said they looked more like black bean sloppy joes. They tasted fine, although I would buy less bulky rolls next time as mostly I tasted bread. I will tweak when I make again.


Mariana August 24, 2017 at 8:25 am

I will try this recipe. I also like the ones by The Prudent Homemaker. They were gloppy too but after I fried them they held together pretty well.


Shannon September 11, 2019 at 3:56 pm

I’m SO LATE to this party. Needed to salvage some sub-par cooked pinto beans (tough skins, mealy insides, but somehow falling apart too). Made this recipe– obviously subbing pinto for black beans; also added a little salt and Penzey’s ground chipotle powder. SO GOOD! As good as my favorite (expensive) frozen burgers. Thanks for saving my beans 🙂


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