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Spicy Black Bean Burgers

 1 cup rolled oats
 2-2.5 cups cooked black beans, drained
 1 egg (for vegan prep, make a flax egg by whisking together 1 tbsp flax and 2.5 tbsp water)
 1/3 cup minced cilantro, parsley or kale
 1/2 cup spelt berries, cooked and drained, or 1/2 cup corn (if frozen, thawed and drained)
 1/2-1 tsp salt
 1 tbsp oil
 3 bulbs from bunching/green onions (or 1/2 red onion) chopped
 2-3 garlic scapes or garlic cloves, minced
 1 large carrot, finely chopped or shredded
 2 oven-dried or sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (or 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste)
 Spice blend: 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chipotle seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)

Pulse the oats in the food processor or Vitamix till they become pulverized with a few oat specks left.


Reserve 1/2 cup of your black beans and place them in a large mixing bowl, along with the egg, the 1/2 cup spelt berries or corn, the cilantro (or parsley or minced kale) and the salt.


In a skillet melt your oil, and over medium heat soften the onion bulbs and the garlic.


After 2-3 minutes, add in the oven-dried tomatoes or tomato paste and chopped carrots. If you shredded the carrots instead of chopping, add them to the mixing bowl with the 1/2 cup of beans and the egg. Cook for a few minutes, and then add your spice blend: smoked paprika, chipotle seasoning (or chili powder), onion and garlic powder (and cumin, if using.) Stir till the spices bloom and smell great-- about 2 more minutes. Turn off heat.


Add the 1.5-2 cups remaining black beans and the onion-garlic-spices to the pulverized oats in your food processor, and process on low till it resembles cookie dough- still some texture, but like a soft paste.


Add the black bean and spice mixture to the mixing bowl and mix all ingredients well by hand.


Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, form 8 patties. If it's too sticky to work with, add in some more oats or some bread crumbs. Space the patties on a greased baking sheet, cover in plastic wrap and chill overnight in the fridge or for at least a few hours. If you're making ahead, freeze here instead of refrigerating. Once frozen solid on their cookie sheet, pop them into a labeled bag. Allow to defrost in the fridge the night before baking or pan frying.


Turn your oven to 400 degrees. Cook the burgers for 15 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 10-12 minutes till nice and crispy. You can also pan fry them in oil in a skillet.


We served them with our Baked Kohlrabi Fries and one of my favorite condiments-- our pepper butter mixed with some mayonnaise, but go to town with your favorite burger toppings: avocado, tomato jam, sprouts. Wrap it up in a blanched collard leaf for a super veggie meal, or just use a bun.