Dog Days and Bean Burgers

I love animals, but I’m a little nervous around large dogs. And by “large dogs” I mean: larger than my purse .

In my defense, my purse is larger than average.

I have had great experiences with large dogs with which I am familiar, but I tend to be a bit skittish around large canine strangers.  Yet in a bizarre turn of events, I found myself dog sitting three black labs this weekend. Three black labs whom I had never met. I was a little frightened so I brought reinforcements.

Kyle loves large dogs so I knew we would be OK. I took over sitting responsibilities around 4:00 PM on Sunday. Kyle and I saw this as a great opportunity to do two things:

1. Pretend we live in someone else’s much larger, much cooler house (temporarily, of course, although I’d be lying if I said we never considered changing the locks during our stay).

2. Prepare a make-ahead dinner to bring with us on Sunday afternoon (fewer dishes! more time drinking wine out of someone else’s glasses and watching movies on someone else’s couch!).

I love making burgers from scratch (black bean and lentils and falafel, oh my!) and I have been obsessing lately over doing a pinto bean burger. I am not sure when the idea originally struck me, but ever since it did in the last few weeks, I have considered this experimentation every night for dinner. And surprise-last-minute-dog-sitting night was the perfect night. I was able to make the patties on Sunday afternoon and refrigerate them, then cook them in a pan at my pretend house dog-sitting house.

The recipe really lends itself well to adaptation. I chose to load mine up with carrots, but you could substitute almost any other vegetable. I pan-fried mine, but they would do fine in the oven on a prepared baking sheet instead. And if pinto beans aren’t your thing, you could sub a different kind of bean.

Overall I was really happy with how these turned out. We had them on whole wheat buns and then I used the leftover patties for lunches this week. They were great over baby romaine with heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers and a sun dried tomato garlic vinaigrette.

There is no way these are going to look appealing in a picture taken with my BB in low light, but I will give it a shot just so you can get an idea of what they look like. You might get an even better idea if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

So are you hungry for light brown hockey pucks now? I swear they’re tasty: soft on the inside and crispy on the outside with a carrot crunch and a hint of cool cilantro, with a bit of cumin spiciness. Yummy indeed. On to the recipe!

Pinto Bean Burgers


1 large carrot

1 small onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon reduced fat sour cream

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (or use chili powder)

Salt and pepper

1 large egg

1 – 15 oz. can of pinto beans


1. Cut the carrot, onion and bell pepper into chunks and chop in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. To the carrot mixture, add the breadcrumbs, cilantro, garlic, sour cream, hot sauce, and spices. Break the egg and add it to the mixture. Mix together with a large spoon or spatula.

3. Drain and rinse the pinto beans. Add 1/4 cup whole beans to the burger mixture. Chop the remaining beans in a food processor until they form a paste. Add the bean paste to the burger mixture and stir to fully incorporate it into the other ingredients.

4. Form the mixture into 6-8 patties and refrigerate.

5. Fry in a pan lightly coated with oil over medium-high heat or bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes each side.

Puppies can’t even tell it’s not real meat! Beggars…

And with that, I have magically tamed the beasts.

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