Black Bean Burgers-Perfect for Summer

By Kelsie White

Black Bean Burgers-Perfect for Summer

Nutrition Bites | Week 15

Welcome to Week 15 of Nutrition Bites! Summer is in full swing, which means lots of picnics, BBQs and parties. Because of that, it seems like a great time to share my favorite burger recipe! These Black Bean Burgers are simple to make and can be a great substitute for meat burgers or even processed plant-based burgers. Let’s dig in!

Black Bean Burgers

Makes 5-6 patties


  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 cup oatmeal, blended
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha (or other hot sauce, optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Place flax and water in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a blender, blend oats until they resemble flour. Alternatively, you can use oat flour or even breadcrumbs.
  4. Mash beans with a potato masher until most beans are broken up. Add oatmeal, seasonings, and flax. Stir until well combined.
  5. Form into 5-6 tightly packed patties. Bake for about 15 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve on a bun with desired toppings.
  7. Enjoy!
All About Legumes

Beans and legumes are a cornerstone of a whole food, plant-based diet, and for good reason! Legumes are a great source of complex carbohydrates, plant protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as folate and potassium. To give you an idea, one cup of canned black beans provides:

  • 220 calories
  • 0 grams fat
  • 14 grams protein
  • 42 grams carbohydrates
  • 20 grams fiber
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 170 mg sodium
  • 7 mg iron
  • 44 mg calcium

As you can see, there is lots of the good stuff! The Daily Dozen by Dr. Michael Greger recommends 3 servings of beans per day, and these burgers are a great way to get in a couple of servings!

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives 

In recent years, many plant-based meat alternatives have come into the market. While this is a nice change, these meat analogs and substitutes still have several downsides. First and foremost, these products should be used to help transition from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. Sometimes big changes can be difficult, and products like these can serve as a good way to make that transition slightly easier. However, these products are still highly processed, and can still have high amounts of added sodium, fat and sugar. Additionally, they are more costly than other whole food, plant-based foods such as tofu or legumes. Therefore, I recommend that these products be enjoyed on occasion (if you wish) but should not necessarily be a food item that is consumed on a regular basis.

Below is a comparison chart from a Healthline article that looks at the different plant-based meat alternatives and how they compare against more whole food products like tofu and jackfruit.

Food Processing Spectrum

Plant-based meat analogs then brings up the topic of food processing. There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to how “processed” a food is, so the chart below can be a helpful visual aid to sort it out. This is called the NOVA Processing System and it breaks foods into 4 main categories: Unprocessed or minimally processed foods, processed culinary ingredients, processed foods and ultra-processed foods. Ideally, we should be getting all or most of our food from the first group, unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Aiming for 80% from this category and 20% from the remaining 3 categories, with no more than 5% coming from ultra-processed foods is a great goal to work towards.

Weekly Challenge

And that does it! I hoped you learned a few things about processed foods and plant-based meat alternatives. This week, I want to challenge you to try making a homemade burger, or take some the next time you attend a summer picnic!

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