Skip to the recipe. Update 13 years after this was first published: we still make this anasazi bean burger recipe on the regular! We often refer back to this post for the recipe, even though it’s pretty simple. My husband over the years has pointed out a few places clarifications were needed. Here are the primary changes in the 2024 update:
- Fixes for clarity and tips after making it on rotation for over a decade.
- Doubled the recipe because we always double it now. (You could cut in half if cooking for two, or else freeze the uncooked patties.)
- I’ve added how to cook the beans with a pressure cooker – because pressure cookers, like our basic Instant Pot (Amazon link), are time saving!
- Confession: we don’t grow our own beans any more. We usually buy the anasazis in bulk online and store them in mason jars with silicon lids.
(Original post): My mom was visiting last weekend. We had a nice visit and she checked out this blog. She let me know that I am again taking after my great-grandmother, Alpha, who wrote an article on Victory Gardens during World War II. I have always felt an affinity for this ancestor despite never meeting. Alpha (her father planned on working through the Greek alphabet except she was an only child) was an artist who studied under John Sloan. She was also a Long Island socialite who threw legendary Prohibition Era parties, attended by artists like author Thorton Wilder, who was supposedly in love with her. Before our urban farm days, I was known to host a party or two.
So I am all the more happy to carry on the tradition of championing Victory Gardens today. As much as we love fresh salads, tomatoes, and herbs like basil and mint, “salad” type items are actually not the best way to maximize a home garden. To really get the benefit of a “victory garden” try to plant calorie dense items, like potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans. Beans are an amazing source of protein, fiber and nutrients and my favorites by far are Anasazi Beans. They are a slightly sweet Heirloom bean, pretty and speckled maroon and white. If I were to describe the taste, I’d describe it as how the most awesome pinto bean should taste. They cook faster than other dried beans (they don’t need to presoak) and don’t have as much of the compounds found in other beans that can cause gas.
Plus, there is the legend of the beans…. Botanists may dispute the factual basis, but the story is that a dusty, sealed crock was found by archeologists in the ancient ruins of the Anasazi Indians, and lo and behold, the beans were viable and reintroduced to our diets. I have fond memories of exploring Mesa Verde and the dwellings of “the Ancient Ones,” carved into the stone, with my family as a child.
You can find Anasazis in the bulk section of a lot of grocery stores now, as well as online. Papa Bird has been growing them the last few years. One of the things I find “magical” about a bean is that it contains its future in itself. The bean is simply the seed. You can sprout and plant the beans from the grocery isle if you like. (I think we started from a bag I bought at the farmer’s market.) We try to remember to reserve a few from each harvest to plant the following year.
Anasazi Bean Burger Recipe
My husband usually feels more satisfied with a little meat in a meal, but he makes an exception for Anasazi Bean Burgers. They are my favorite veggie burger and I hope you enjoy. Adapted from Moon Time/The Elk Restaurant.
Servings: 8 burgers
- 2 cups dried Anasazi beans
- filtered water, enough to go up twice the height of the beans in the pot
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cumin(optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Magic seasoning blend (link to our fav), smoked paprika (link to similar), and/or cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- Approximately 1 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
- brioche or other yummy burger buns
- your favorite “burger fixings” such as a sharp cheddar, caramelized or pickled onions, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, aioli…
Distinctive-looking Anasazi beans have a unique, slightly nutty flavor and firm texture, and don’t need to be pre-soaked. You could pre-soak, in which case, cut the cooking time in half. Rinse the beans in fresh water. Add to pot with enough water that it is twice the height of the beans. Add 1/2 tsp of cumin, garlic and bay leaf to the water. If using a pressure cooker (Amazon link), cook 30 minutes at pressure (30 minutes if unsoaked – 15 minutes if presoaked), let sit for 5 minutes, and then release pressure. If boiling in a normal pot, boil uncovered for 1 hour (unsoaked) or 30 minutes (if soaked.) They should be soft but not mushy. Strain and let cool enough to handle. Discard the bay leaf and squeeze the gooey goop from inside the garlic cloves onto the beans, discarding the hard coating.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the diced onion, carrot, bell pepper, and add remaining cumin, spices, and salt/pepper. Let cool slightly.
Mash the beans with a fork, or a mashed potato masher, or break up the beans using your hands. Add the sautéed veggies to the chopped beans. This is a great time to taste the mix and add more spices and seasoning. Once tasting good, stir in the eggs and bread crumbs.
Form the patties (I usually do 4 patties the first night and save the rest of the “batter” in the refrigerator for night two. We have also made sliders). Next, sauté the patties in oil until they’re golden, about 5 minutes on each side over medium high heat. I find starting the patties in a cold pan gets a nice crust. Tips: try not to move them around too much before flipping and add another splash of oil before placing the second side down. Add a slice of cheddar to the top of the patty when almost done and melt it a little in the pan. Serve on a bun with typical burger “fixings” (i.e. tomato, lettuce, pickle, avocado, mustard, ketchup, siracha, etc.)
Although Anasazi beans don’t cause as much gas as other beans, it never hurts to add a little cumin, bay leaf and/or epazote to the cooking water. All three are classic flavorings for beans and are carminative, meaning they help reduce gas when cooked with beans.
Feel free to substitute another bean in this recipe if you can’t find Anasazis, but you will probably want to presoak them before cooking.
Tips for Cooking for Baby:
Reserve some of the “batter” with all the ingredients added, minus the egg. Blend or grind in a baby food mill. Add a little breastmilk, maybe some avocado. Delicious! Babies love the naturally sweet taste of beans and they are an excellent vegetarian source of protein.
For a baby that is ready for finger foods, cooked beans (e.g., Anasazi, black or pinto) and sautéed, diced veggies are excellent ways to practice pincher skills. If it is the first time, if your beans are still on the crunchy side, or if you are just paranoid, feel free to cut the beans in half or squeeze each one between your fingers to mush it a little and make it easier for baby to gum.
Updated 2.19.24 to optimize the anasazi bean burger recipe, including the option of a pressure cooker. Updated 1.5.13 to add a photo of the burger. Originally posted 8.21.12. -Mama Bird