Cooking Healthy on a Budget: Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers

DSC_2332-195x300I often hear it said that eating healthy is “too expensive”.

This has always baffled me, especially given that part of my initial decision to eat meat came from the fact that it was so expensive to get the good quality meat, meaning that I too often relied on horrible supermarket chicken that was as far from real meat as you can actually get. Even on a strict budget, you can eat healthy, nutritious vegan / vegetarian meals that are easy to make. Just last week, I gave myself a food budget of just $14 for 7 days of food, and I along with having far more food than I could eat in one week, I also had some new recipes and tried some things I’ve never tried!

Dried beans are a great way to stretch a budget without stretching your waistline. A small bag of dried black beans will give you around 2-3 times as many beans by weight when soaked and cooked, and they’re full of protein!

These super simple, super cheap burgers have only 4 ingredients, and they have gone down a treat with everyone I’ve served them too. Believe it or not, they can easily be made for under $2 too. Prep the beans in advance and it’s a great and quick dinner for all!

You’ll need:

(Makes 8 burgers – enough for 4 people)
1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups soaked and pre-cooked black beans*
1 onion, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced

1. Place the rice in a pan with 1 cup water and bring to the boil.

2. Bring it down to a simmer and place the lid on the pan.  Cook until the water is all gone but before the rice burns to the bottom.

3. Drain the rice and set aside.

4.  Fry the onion and zucchini in a little oil until the onion is brown

5. Add in the black beans and cook for 5-7 minutes.

6. Remove from the heat and place 2/3 of the mixture in a blender and blend for a few seconds – no more. Place this back into the pan with the other mixture, add in the rice, and mix thoroughly.

7. Allow the mixture to sit and cool for 10 minutes.

8. Divide into 8 portions and shape into patties.

9. Heat a little oil in a pan, and when hot, place 2 burgers into it,

10. Fry for about 4-5 minutes on both sides, then remove from the pan.

11. Repeat with all the other burgers until they’re all cooked.

12, Store any leftovers in the fridge until they’re needed – eat them within a week though.

These burgers are great served on a bed of spinach and tomato salad, with a little lime juice or hot sauce drizzled on top.

Not only do these burgers taste delicious, but beans and rice, eaten together, combine to provide a whole protein for your body. What that means is that they provide all the essential amino acids for the body – a great thing by anyone’s estimation!

Stay healthy and happy and enjoy!

*To prep the beans, soak them overnight in water then drain, and boil them in a pan of water for 60-80 minutes, until tender. Then drain again, allow to cool and transfer to sealed packages in the fridge until you need them. So easy.

@2014 Hillary Sepulveda

 

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