Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baked Black Bean and Millet Burgers (Vegan)

Maybe I am a hippie down deep inside.

I have been looking for ways to use millet. I have mainly used it in my daughter's hot cereal--mixed with oatmeal, applesauce, and wheat germ (she loves it). I had cooked up too much and in an effort to conserve, froze it. I'm happy to say that it defrosted just fine. However, for those of you that don't have cooked millet on hand, I have included cooking directions.

What is millet?
Millet is a good-tasting grain that has a nut-like flavor and is mildly sweet.
Apparently, it has been touted as the sixth most important grain because it sustains 1/3 of the world's population. Funny how we think of it as an exotic ingredient in the states--in actuality, millet is used to feed cattle. However, it's a staple of the diets in India, Japan, Africa, China and the Soviet Union. Millet was used to make bread during Biblical times. According to wikipedia, the protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide somewhere between 11-15% protein by weight.

Millet has lots of fiber, is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Since millet contain no gluten, it is not suitable for raised bread.


1/4 cup millet
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. flour (I used oat flour, but wheat or all-purpose would work fine)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup salsa
2 cans black beans, drained

For serving:
Whole grain buns
Sliced cheese (Monterey Jack is particulary good on these)
Guacomole (A MUST!)

In a medium saucepan, add the water and millet. Cook on a high flame until the water is boiling. When the water has boiled, cover the pan, and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes until the water has been absorbed and millet has slightly puffed up. It should double in size.

While the millet is cooking, over medium heat, saute the onion with the olive oil until almost translucent. Then add the bell pepper. Continue to saute until the bell pepper has softened (~1-2 minutes). Turn burner off and add your seasonings, flour, cilantro, and salsa.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

At this point, I added my black beans to the mixture and using the back of a big fork, mashed them. The beans shouldn't be perfectly pureed...I would recommend you use a small food processor, but mine does the job all too well and I would end up with a black bean puree. (Plus, who wants to wash more dishes?). But, if it's easier for you to process the beans a couple of times until they are mostly mashed, by all means-go for it.

Form the mixture into patties (I managed to get 8 burgers out of the mixture).

In the interest of saving fat, I decided to place the patties on a cookie sheet and bake them. If you wish (and this would raise the delicious factor) you could fry them. However, once you place them in the oven, bake them for 10 minutes and then flip them and bake them for 10 more minutes.

Serve warm on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and guacomole.

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