Quinoa and Black Bean Burger and a “Grain Mains” Book Giveaway

by formerchef on September 10, 2012

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The media is awash in the benefits of “whole grains” these days. So much that the big food companies have jumped on board touting “whole grains” in everything from cookies to crackers to Cheerios. While my guess is that those products might be slightly better for you than their more processed counterparts, I can’t help but feel this is a bit akin to greenwashing.

This is why I find myself trying to cook with whole grains in their original form more and more. The benefits are clear; whole grains are good for the body. They fill you up with soluble and non-soluble fiber which encourages you to eat less and aids in digestion. They are a heart healthy food, scouring the body of cholesterol and can help cut the risk of diabetes. In addition, not only do they taste good, but they are easy on the wallet, especially when bought when bought in bulk.

The new cookbook by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, is filled with recipes featuring whole grains used in a variety of ways. Not only are there vegetarian and vegan recipes, but there are meat recipes where the grain is not just the side dish but the star of the plate.

I like it when a cookbook not only inspires me to cook from its recipes but also teaches me about the food or culture. The book explains about cooking with different whole grains; some more well known (barley, wheat, quinoa),  and some lesser known ( teff, millet, and job’s tears). There are rice, corn and oat recipes as well. Oddly, I never thought of fresh corn kernels as a “whole grain” but that’s exactly what they are. From this book, I learned that one of my favorites, pearl barley, is not technically a “whole grain” because the bran (one layer of protection of the grain) has been partially removed in processing. That doesn’t make it bad or unhealthy, just not “whole” (the book recommends searching out hull-less barley).

Besides information on the specific grains (flavor, texture, history, best cooking method) Grain Mains has some other helpful features. Many of the recipes include “Tester’s Notes” which are tips, flavor profiles and advice from the people who tested the recipes. The “Chef It Up!” are tips from Bruce on how to take the dish in a different direction or modify it for a more special meal. There are also notes on how to “Make It Easier” and save some time in the cooking process. I especially appreciated all of those tidbits because those are the types of options I like to include in my own recipes. Bruce is the chef of the duo and Mark is the “voice”. Both do an excellent job; Bruce’s recipes are concise and I really appreciated the Mark’s detailed, but easy to understand explanations.

Since doing a 21 day vegan diet a couple of years ago, I’ve been a fan of the veggie burger (my personal favorite brand is Dr. Praeger’s). I like a veg. burger which isn’t pretending to be fake meat, so of course I found myself drawn to the recipe for  a Black Quinoa and Black Bean Burger.  This burger was so good. It was hearty and filling, and a bit spicy, with a smoky flavor. The flavor almost reminded me of a Sloppy Joe without the sloppy. I was impressed with how well the texture of the burger held up to eating it on a bun; it didn’t fall apart or smush out the other side.

In addition to the burger, I also made the Sicilian Inspired Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad which was a satisfying and tasty meal (and may appear in a later post). In the future I’m looking forward to trying their Posole Verde, Spanish-Inspired Wild Rice, Spicy Brown Rice Salad with Chicken and Peanuts, and about a dozen other recipes.


The publisher of Grain Mains not only sent me a copy, but also an extra one to give away to one of my readers. That could be you! Interested? Leave a comment below via the Rafflecopter widget to enter. There are some options if you want extra entries too. I’m mailing this book out of my own pocket so you can enter from anywhere, but you must have a US mailing address at which to receive the book.


Quinoa and Black Bean Burger From Grain Mains

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 Burgers

Serving Size: 1 each, 4 oz Burger


  • 2/3 cup (dry) quinoa
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3 Tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tbsp pickled pepperoncinis
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil (for cooking)
  • Options:
  • burger buns
  • swiss cheese
  • avocado
  • lettuce
  • sliced tomato
  • condiments (mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, etc)


  1. Cook the quinoa-Fill a medium sized sauce pot halfway with water and add the quinoa. bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the grain has expanded. Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Allow to cool about 10 minutes. Click here to see more on cooking quinoa.
  2. Pour the quinoa into a food processor. Add in the rinsed black beans, the rolled oats and all the other ingredients (see specific ingredient notes above) except the oil. Pulse the food processor until all the ingredients start to blend together. Stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The recipe describes the end result as a “pastelike batter”, though I found it to be thicker and drier than I expected.
  3. The blended mix yields about 24 ounces. Using damp hands, form 6 equal sized patties out of the mix, about half an inch thick. These come out about the size of a traditional burger and fit nicely on a standard bun.
  4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add half the oil (see note about oil above). Use a spatula to add the burgers to the oil and cook until deeply browned (about 4 min). Use the spatula to flip the burger and if you want cheese, add it now and cover the pan with a lid to melt the cheese as the other side of the burger cooks. Repeat if cooking all the burgers at one time.


Recipe Notes: I had to make a couple of adjustments to the recipe because I didn't have all of the specific ingredients but that's the beauty of cooking; most recipes can be cooked exactly as written or adapted as needed.

Quinoa- The recipe called for black quinoa and I used red. I assume you could use the more common white quinoa, though the final burger might look a little different.

Pepperoncinis- The recipe called for pickled jalepeno rings which I could not find, so I substituted the pepperoncinis which are a little more mild in flavor.

Worcestershire sauce- Most people aren't aware but Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. If vegan, substitute a vegan Worcestershire.

Chili Powder- One of the book's "Tester's Notes" mentions that standard chili powder is actually a blend of ground dried chiles, cumin and oregano and "pure" chili powder is made from a single dried chili. I happened to have Chipotle powder so I used that, but be aware, it's much spicier than regular chili powder. The original recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons and I've cut the amount in half.

Oil- The recipe recommends using a nut oil such as walnut or hazelnut. My local store did not have any. The first time I cooked one of the burgers I used olive oil and it burned quickly on the outside so my guess is that nut oil is recommended because it has a higher burn temperature. I used canola oil after that and kept the heat at a low medium and that worked much better.



Quinoa Black Bean Veg Burger

Quinoa Black bean Burger without the cheese and avocado.

Want to win your own hardcover copy of Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day? Enter below.

Note; this Rafflecopter thing is new to me, but it’s supposed to make managing giveaways easier and keep everything legitimate so I’m giving it a go. If you want to a chance to win the book, you need to use it, otherwise, if you have something to say or a question, just leave a comment below!

Here’s how the Giveaway entry works:
Leave a comment and then let me know via the Rafflecopter widget that you’ve done so.
After you do that, it will give you the option to Tweet about the post  (click on the Twitter icon for the tweet)  or “Like” the Former Chef Facebook page for extra chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Kent @ No Vacation Required September 10, 2012 at 7:20 am

This could become one of our “go to” healthy recipes (with the cheese and avocado, of course!).

2 formerchef September 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

Seriously guys, I thought of you when I made this. Think you will LOVE it!

3 Sandy Kash September 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

I have been searching for a grain book that offers a variety of recipes like this one does. I would love to win a copy of this and will be making the Quinoa and Black Bean Burger From Grain Mains soon.


4 Suzzanne September 10, 2012 at 8:33 am

In our WW group, I’ve heard talk of a ‘black bean’ hamburger as a healthy, veggie option. This sounds a little better, although I’ve never successfully cooked quinoa. I may try it sometime – my husband and I will enjoy it, even if my teenage son prefers the ‘real’ thing. Also – while shopping for the concessions stand for football games, I discovered pickled jalapenos at Von’s. I bet Super A and the Mexican markets have them as well.

5 Angrboda September 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

That looks interesting! It sounds like an interesting book as well. Unfortunately I don’t qualify for your contest, though. You mentioned it has both vegetarian and meaty recipes in it, but is it an even mix or is more one or the other? What about the meaty dishes, do you think some of them could be modified to be vegetarian?

6 formerchef September 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

Angrboda-I’d say at least 60% of the recipes in the book are vegetarian or vegan and the bulk of the rest of them could be modified to be vegetarian.

7 Angrboda September 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

Oh excellent! 😀 I’ll put it on my wishlist then. Thank you. 🙂

8 Myra September 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

I tend to eat only whole grains and love I quinoa. What a fantastic burger recipe – I’ll have to give it a try.

9 Natalie September 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’ve definitely been trying to incorporate more whole grains into my cooking as a healthy alternative to white rice and pasta. This seems like a wonderful recipe (even for a non-burger person like myself) from a cookbook that would be a wonderful addition to any collection!

10 LB September 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I’m a big fan of whole grains and try to creatively incorporate them into all sorts of things. Lately, my mother has been asking me for recipes, though, and I have a hard time because I never write down what I’m doing. I’d love to have a whole set of recipes I could share with her to help with her quest to eat healthier. Plus, this burger recipe looks amazing, so I’m sure I’ll want to try the others as well.

11 Shauna Harris September 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

So far I only really bake with whole grains. We’ve got a ton of wheat storage and I grind it up myself. But my husband is always nagging to do more of that So I am super interested in this book!

12 formerchef September 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Shauna- If you grind your own wheat, does that mean you have a good supply of wheat berries? There are a TON of wheat berry recipes in this book, mostly salads, but some others as well.

13 hima September 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

this sounds amazing. i’m making quinoa with black beans and cilantro for dinner tonight, but this sounds even better.

14 Jenny September 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Looks delicious!

15 Andie d September 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Those burgers look great! My son is allergic to wheat but he loves quinoa! Definitely trying these!

16 Ttrockwood September 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I have quinoa, cracked bulgar, oats and millet often but am always looking for new ideas!
For my veggie burgers i always chill the “dough” an hour or two to prevent from falling apart in the pan- makes a big difference!

17 Steffani September 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Mmm, this sounds so good! I make a lot of stuff with quinoa (I’m gluten free due to celiac disease so rice got old very quickly) and I’ve been thinking about non-meat burgers recently. I eat meat, but this is a great healthy substitute!

18 Rachel September 11, 2012 at 12:40 am

Those burgers look delicious. I love black beans and am looking for more ways to include quinoa and other whole grains in our diet. I think my husband would agree with you about liking veggie burgers that don’t try to pretend they’re fake meat, so we’d both really enjoy this recipe. I’m in the UK, but I do have a US mailing address.

19 Joan September 11, 2012 at 1:30 am

I love quinoa and have some millet in my pantry that I need a recipe for.

20 formerchef September 11, 2012 at 5:58 am

Joan, this book has 6 or 7 recipes which call for millet.

21 Heather September 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

I’ve always been a fan of veggie burgers, and am just now getting my husband hooked. We’ve done a variety with beans, whole grains and even the spent grain from his beer-making. Look forward to this one as well … love the pepperoncinis.

22 Christine @Cooking My Cookbooks September 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

I love cooking with whole grains and this book looks so interesting and unique!

23 Laurie September 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

I try my best to never purchase anything made with refined flours and to not service white rice.

24 valerie September 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

yes, have incorporated, but always looking for new ideas and new products

25 Shannon C September 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

This sounds very very good. We have made a habit of making veggie burgers once a week, I’ll slip this into the rotation for sure!

26 Stacey Donaldson September 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

I try to include as many whole grains as possible. We only eat brown rice, we love Quinoa too! I am always on the look out for a great veggie burger recipe, so thank you very much for sharing this one, I can’t wait to try it!

27 kari September 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I just recently used quinoa to make Salmon patties!! They were delicious and my whole family loved them. So much better than crackers or bread crumbs. I also try and use chia seeds in smoothies and to make a breakfast pudding-yum!

28 margarida v September 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

looks delicious

29 zosia September 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Grains are so versatile…in burgers! in your morning breakfast bowl…in cake 🙂
Great giveaway!

30 gail September 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

i have not but i would like to

31 Traca September 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Perfect timing! I’ve been on the hunt for a veggie burger recipe. Bruce and Mark do great work. Definitely hope to lay my hands on a copy of this book!

32 karen September 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Yummy looking burgers! Thanks for the giveaway!

33 Amanda H September 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I love whole grains, quinoa and couscous. I’d love to receive this book. 🙂

34 Andrea September 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

I love grains! I need more ideas 🙂
I pinned this burger recipe, my son likes beans so he will love it and since we are not dealing with raw meats he can do them with me!

35 Gail September 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

I love quinoa, and I love black beans. These burgers are definitely on my list of recipes to try. I also love your blog. Just recently found it and have really enjoyed trying some of your recipes and catching up on posts I missed!

36 Christina September 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I love cooking with grains… definitely entering this giveaway!

37 Charlene September 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

Yes, I have been incorporating more whole grains into my diet. Right now I am particularly interested in vegan burgers featuring whole grains. Glad to see this recipe

38 Sarah September 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I really want to incorporate more whole grains into my diet – I’m just not sure how!

39 amy f September 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

i love black bean burgers

40 Lee in KY September 16, 2012 at 5:42 am

The burger looks really good! I’ve been trying to eat more whole grains as well…the book would be a great help! Thanks for the chance to win.

41 Mercedes September 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

YUMMM!!! I’ll take one with the works 🙂

42 Ally September 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

We definitely incorporate whole grains; I’m a vegetarian and the whole grains help with my protein count for the day. That said, I’m always looking for new ideas!

43 Anjali September 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Wow, the quinoa and black bean burger looks amazing. I must try this right away, thank you so much for the great recipe!

44 grace September 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I love this recipe!

45 Heather September 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I want to try appetizing alternatives to meat in my recipes, so I will definitely try the black bean & quinoa burgers. I would love to win a copy of your book for more ideas.

46 Rhonda September 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I made the burgers tonight, and they tasted great! I must have done goofed something up (sigh) because the texture wasn’t quite right – too soft and mushy. If I’d had more time, I would have chilled the mix .

47 Bill Colvard October 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

I love black beans nd want to try quinoa so this sounds like the perfect opportunity.

48 Dennis November 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

How could you make this into a breakfast sausage?

49 formerchef November 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

I suppose you could just make it into smaller patties.

50 Mary DiTroia January 29, 2013 at 8:36 am

These recipes are a great addition to my Mediterranean Diet. They look delicious!

51 Rose June 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I love this recipe, I have the cook book it has come from and made it several times. I have used regular quinoa when I cannot find black or red and it works fine. I have also added the oil directly to the mix and then baked them in muffin rings instead of frying. A huge hit!!!

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