My husband and I got married young. I was barely 20 and still in art school. We had a teeny tiny apartment in downtown Savannah where the rent was raised every year. We paid a small fortune in parking permits, parking tickets and parking meters. Our budget was pretty tight.

For our first 5 years of marriage we were vegetarians, somewhat by choice, but mostly because our grocery budget didn’t leave much room for meat. We ate our fair share of soy burgers and veggie burgers, most of which were pretty forgettable.

So it was with some trepidation that I pulled this recipe from a recent Cooking Light magazine. But I’m so glad I did. This recipe really transcends the sum of its parts. And don’t even think about serving it without the salsa. Not that the burgers aren’t that good, it’s just that the salsa is that great.

I typically use dried beans in my recipes, being all economical and such. However, I find that the canned beans really make a difference here. The dried beans just make a drier burger, in my experience. So skip the soaking and blow a couple of bucks on the beans in the can.

Please overlook the gluten-filled burger bun in the photo. Somehow the head of lettuce I bought did not include one leaf that was suitable for use as a burger wrap. So for the sake of the photo I indulged in a bun. Please forgive me if it makes your taste buds long after forbidden things.

Plan to Eat users, click on the recipe title below to access the pre-formatted recipe.

Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa

source: Cooking Light magazine, April 2010 (with allergen-friendly adaptations noted in italics)


  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (omit)
  • 1/4 cup panko (crushed gluten-free rice cereal)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 large egg whites (or egg substitute equivalent to one egg, I use Ener-G egg replacer)
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped, peeled mango
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots (omitted, onions are off the menu at our house)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • lettuce leaves, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place black beans in a medium bowl; mash with a fork (or a potato masher, my mashing-object of choice). Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro and the next 7 ingredients (through the egg whites/egg replacer). Shape bean mixture into 6 patties. Arrange patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, carefully (seriously, very carefully) turning once.
  3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, mango, and the next 4 ingredients (through minced garlic) in a medium bowl. Serve burgers with salsa and lettuce leaves (and a burger bun if desired).

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