Homemade Black Bean Burger, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Columbia

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
4 burgers

Vinnie Livoti, director of food services, modified this recipe, which some might already consider healthy, to be less salty. “This recipe was reworked to get the sodium content within our CHEF (Corporate Healthy Eating Focus) program’s nutritional guidelines,” Livoti says. Chef Lawrence Wright, the on-site chef for Southern Foodservice Management, BlueCross BlueShield’s corporate partner, worked with Southern’s corporate chef to change the type of beans used. The original recipe used a canned black bean in juice, “but going to a dried bean brought down the sodium by over 200 milligrams per serving,” Livoti explains.


2 lb. dried black turtle beans
2.5 qt. water
1/2 cup diced fresh green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced fresh yellow onion
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red hot pepper sauce
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
4 lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato


  1. Cover beans with water, soak overnight in refrigerator at internal temperature of 40°F or below. Drain and discard excess liquid.
  2. Combine beans and 2.5 quarts water in large pot. Cook for one and a half hours, or until tender; minimum internal temperature should be 140°F or above.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly spray parchment-lined sheet pan.
  4. In medium bowl, mash black beans with fork until thick and pasty. In food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir in mashed black beans.
  5. In small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Stir egg mixture into mashed bean mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs until mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into 4 patties.
  6. Place patties on baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes on each side, until internal temperature reaches 145°F. For service, place patties on flattop grill to brown outside. Serve on toasted whole-wheat bun with lettuce and tomato slices.

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