Monday, January 14, 2013

Protein-Packed Quinoa Bean Burgers (Meatless Monday)

The supermarket where I work hires some really fantastic chefs who are always coming up with wonderful recipes, including many that are vegetarian.  Jacqui is a dietitian and chef who comes up with some of the recipes we have in our newsletter (check out Jaqui's blog!).  Several months ago she had this recipe for Quinoa Bean Burgers in the newsletter and I thought it sounded too wonderful not to try.   What I liked most about this recipe was that it had two sources of protein; quinoa and chickpeas.    And did you know that quinoa is a complete protein?  This means it has all the essential amino acids. 

When I was in school we were taught that you had to eat foods with all the essential amino acids in them, especially if you were on a vegetarian or vegan diet ( you didn't have to worry too much if you ate animal foods because they inherently contain all the essential AAs).  This piece of information turned out not to be true.  As long as you get multiple different sources of protein in your diet, which ultimately provide you with all of the essential amino acids, you should be just fine (have I really been out of school for that long?!).

You don't have to pair your beans with rice, as was once thought to be important.

As someone who follows a low FODMAPs diet, it's often difficult for me to eat beans and nuts, therefore most of the well-known higher-protein vegetarian foods have to be limited in my diet (ie: tofu, tempeh, satan, peanuts, cashews, pistachios), but I try hard to include at least one vegetarian recipe in my diet each week (as long as I have a Beano, or two, I'm typically ok!).  Quinoa is a great source of protein, and it's FODMAPs free, which is why I really loved that it was in this burger recipe.

I tried to make these burgers even more FODMAPs-friendly by omitting the garlic and decreasing the onion, but I felt the need to keep some of the onion in the recipe for that integral flavor. The recipe was a huge hit, and even Nick enjoyed it (he who claims to hate chickpeas and quinoa). The recipe was clearly not free of FODMAPs (check last week's recipe for that!) but it was definitely lower than most vegetarian burger recipes.  This recipe can, however, be gluten free, which could come in handy for some (especially if you plan to make this for a dinner gathering and you've got gluten free guests).  And if you're vegan, be sure to check out the option for flaxseed instead of eggs!  It makes for a lightly messier burger, but still very tasty.

Quinoa Bean Burgers
Slightly modified version of this recipe

(Makes 8)
Can be Made Gluten Free
Can be Made Vegan

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1.5 cups water
2 eggs**
2 Tsbp. low-sodium soy sauce (be sure to find a gluten-free version if you want a gluten free burger)
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
 1-15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained well
2 Tbsp. garlic extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced (very small) red bell pepper
1 cup (chopped very small) carrots
1/4 cup cilantro

** If you want these to be vegan, you can use the following instead of eggs**
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup warm water

NOTE: The celery and onion both contain FODMAPs. Omit if needed.  Also, take a Beano for the beans!

1.  Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Cook covered over medium heat for about 15-minutes until water is absorbed; set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine eggs, soy sauce, and pepper, and mix well (if using flaxseed, combine flaxseed, water, soy sauce and pepper. Set aside to thicken).

2.  Place onion and beans in a food processor and pulse until smooth; transfer to a large bowl.  Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil in a medium skillet. Saute bell pepper and carrots for 4 minutes; add to onion-bean mixture in bowl.  Add cilantro, quinoa, and flaxseed mixture to bowl; mix well to combine.

3. Using 1/2 cup measure, shape mixture into 8 patties.  Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat  (use less to reduce calories).  Cook patties, 4 at a time, for 5-6 minutes on each side.  Carefully remove from skillet and repeat with remaining oil and patties.  Serve on a whole wheat bun, or English Muffin (or, however you want!)

Estimated Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 large burger, without a bun
Want a bun, but not all the calories? Look for the 100-calorie buns, or use a large piece of lettuce!

Nutrition Highlights:  Low saturated fat, cholesterol free, good source of iron and protein, excellent source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C

Nick and I ate our burgers double-decker style!  I enjoyed mine with some organic ketchup and a bit of omega-3 mayo.

Question:  What's your favorite burger topping??  I like pickles.  I like them a lot.  And I love ketchup on my burgers, and sometimes mustard and/or mayo.  Boring, right?  That's just how I roll!

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd


  1. Yay for double-decker burgers! ;) This recipe looks so delicious, Gina, and I love how it has a double source of protein. I remember when I learned quinoa was a complete protein, I was like no way! Nutrition is changing so quickly that plenty of stuff I learned in school has altered or become obsolete. And school wasn't THAT long ago for me, either! :)

  2. So excited you posted this recipe! I think I called it Veg-tastic burger back then:) thanks for the kind words !

  3. Yum! This looks great. I made some other quinoa burgers you posted a long time ago so I'll have to make these too. I love quinoa and chick peas :)

  4. wow that looks amazing! so full of color!!!! I love mixing mayo and ketchup together =)

  5. Fave burger topping? Cheese! Burgers gotta have cheese on them. And definitely pickles...lettuce, onions, mustard, mayo, maybe ketchup, maybe a special relish. I don't like boring burgers. And these quinoa ones are so pretty :)

    One thing about certain plant protein sources containing all the amino acids - technically all plants have all of the essential amino acids, but not in the adequate quantities we use to consider it a "whole" protein, if that makes sense?

    1. What, seriously? I've never heard that before. Interesting.....

  6. These look yummy!
    I love cheese on my burgers... but I also love them with guacamole!

  7. I love pickles and ketchup on burgers, too! I also love tomatoes and avocado.

    The burgers sound great! I've made quinoa burgers before, but this recipe sounds a lot better!

  8. Hi Gina, wow, these look so good. I'm a mustard girl when it comes to burgers. I'm going to skip over to Jacqui's blog, thanks for the link. Have a great day.