southwestern bean & quinoa burgers {and some major changes}

We currently have a few major eating-lifestyle transformations brewing in our home.  At least, they’re major to me!  We’ve been gradually tweaking our diets here and there for a while now (the dietitian in me won’t ever let me rest!), but in the last couple of weeks, we’ve decided that we need to commit to some more significant changes.

For example, (and I never thought I’d be saying this) Eric and I both feel strongly that we need to {gasp!} drastically reduce our meat consumption while increasing the amount of veggies and fruits we eat.  I’ll go into this more in a later post, but in a nutshell, we’ve been reading some books and watching some documentaries that have made us think about how what we’re putting into our bodies directly affects our health.

Our plan for now is to stop buying meat (including red meat and chicken) except for special, planned occasions.  When we do purchase meat, we want it to be grass-fed or pastured.  For all of our marriage, meat has usually been the focus of my meal planning and the centerpiece of our dinner plates.  I’m not about to up and go strictly vegetarian for the rest of my life (hello, free birthday meal at Tucanos!) but I’d like for animal protein to take a backseat in our everyday, at-home meals.


I now feel like an absolute newbie in the area of cooking dinner!  (To any vegetarians out there…I welcome your suggestions and recipes!)  Thankfully, so far, we haven’t had any flops.  And last night’s dinner was actually a huge success!  I’m so excited about these Southwestern Bean & Quinoa Burgers, I just had to share it here as soon as possible.

Southwestern Bean & Quinoa Burgers

{adapted from Edible Perspective}

1 sweet potato

1 white potato

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained

3/4 c. cooked quinoa*

1/2 c. chopped onion

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 c. rolled oats

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 T. olive oil

Scrub the potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Place in a steamer (or a pot with 1/2 an inch of water added), cover and steam 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not mushy.  Drain the potatoes and lightly mash with a fork or potato masher.

In a mixing bowl, lightly mash the beans with a fork, leaving a few beans whole.  Pulse the oats in a food processor until they’re coarsely ground (or use quick-cooking oats instead.)

Add the potatoes and oats to the mashed beans.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.  (See footnote for how to cook quinoa.)

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a baking pan or line it with parchment paper.  With your hands, roll mixture into 2-inch balls, then flatten into 1/2-inch thick patties.  Bake 30 minutes, flipping patties halfway through.

Serve on a bun, or alone (like we do) with your choice of toppings — sour cream, avocado, salsa, cilantro, and lime wedges are all good with these burgers.

*To cook quinoa (3 cups):

Rinse 1 cup quinoa under cold running water.  Heat a pot over medium and add quinoa.  Stir the quinoa around for 2-3 minutes to toast it.  Add 2 cups of water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, stir quinoa once, and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes without opening the lid.  After 15 minutes, remove pot from the heat and allow to sit a few minutes before uncovering.  Fluff with a fork.

Or just use a rice cooker. 🙂

All five of us loved the flavor and texture of these burgers (although I have a hard time calling them “burgers”…but I can’t think of a better name for them) and we felt quite satisfied after finishing the meal.  This recipe is going into my new menu rotation, for sure!



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6 Responses to southwestern bean & quinoa burgers {and some major changes}

  1. Zarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Abby! I have been having similar feelings about the meat we buy for quite a while, but I’m just not ready to take the leap quite yet. Right now I’m lucky to get cook meatless meal (dinner) a week. I would certainly be interested in hearing what other recipes are big hits with your family.

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