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

How to make for a flavorful and satisfying veggie burger made from quinoa and black beans. Recipe from the book Grain Mains.
How to make for a flavorful and satisfying veggie burger made from quinoa and black beans. Recipe from the book Grain Mains.

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 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 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 that 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.

Quinoa and Black Bean Burger From Grain Mains

How to make a healthy blackbean and quinoa burger
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: burger, vegetarian
Servings: 6 Burgers


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.



  • Sandy Kash

    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.


  • Suzzanne

    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.

  • Angrboda

    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?

  • Natalie

    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!

  • LB

    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.

  • Shauna Harris

    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!

    • formerchef

      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.

  • Ttrockwood

    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!

  • Steffani

    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!

  • Rachel

    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.

  • Heather

    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.

  • Stacey Donaldson

    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!

  • kari

    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!

  • Traca

    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!

  • Andrea

    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!

  • Gail

    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!

  • Charlene

    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

  • Lee in KY

    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.

  • Ally

    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!

  • Heather

    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.

  • Rhonda

    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 .

  • Rose

    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!!!


    I have never been a fan of meatless burgers, but I want to find one I like and will enjoy making. This one sounds pretty good. I was thinking of making up the mixture without the quinoa and dividing it into three portions, then adding quinoa or couscous to one portion, bulgar wheat to another, and cooked barley chopped in my mini processor into the third portion. I thought I might find I like them with certain grains better than others. If a lighter colored grain created an appreciatively lighter colored burger, I might mix in a small amount of Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master for the dark color. I’ll have to look around, too, to see what I would need to do differently to make something like this into meatless meatballs.

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