My good friend Erika Mercherle sent this recipe to me recently and I thought I would share it with you. Here’s a little note from Erika regarding the recipe:
Don’t let the name scare you off! I tried this recipe out of curiosity, but was quite dubious that we would actually like it. Every member of our family dug them. Anson (her little boy) ate the burger as finger food and I spoon-fed him the Bell Pepper-Avocado sauce as a kind of baby food. They actually filled me and Erich (her husband) up! They are a little labor intensive, but after my test run last Saturday, I already have them on the menu again. I’m just going to make a double batch and freeze the other half for a quick meal next time.
Burgers: 1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or again, Coconut Oil) 1 cup diced onion Salt 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp dried oregano One 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained OR 1 1/2 cups cooked beans 2/3 cup water OR bean cooking liquid 3/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
Bell Pepper-Avocado Sauce: 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or Coconut Oil) 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and greed parts Salt 1/4 cup water 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded (we skipped this part) 1/2 ripe avocado 1 cup fresh cilantro (we skipped this part too)
4 large sprouted Burger Buns (again, check them out in the freezer case of the health food section of Kroger)
Dry-toast the pumpkin seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until they color and start to pop, about 3 minutes. Finely grind the seeds in a blender or food processor and set aside.
Warm the olive oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute until softened, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic, chile, cumin, and oregano and saute 1 minute. Then add 1/3 of the beans and 1/3 cup of the water, and mash the beans with a potato masher or fork. When the liquid is absorbed, continue with another 1/3 of the beans and the remaining 1/3 cup of water. Continue mashing until most of the beans are broken up and the mixture is chunky. Stir in the last 1/3 of the beans and mash them lightly. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the beans are very thick and mostly dry. A spoon run across the beans should leave track marks. It’s fine if not all of the beans are mashed thoroughly.
Transfer the beans to a medium bowl and let them cool for about 15 minutes. Then stir in the ground pumpkin seeds and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Taste and add a pinch more salt if necessary. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs on a plate. Using a spoon, drop 1/4 of the bean mixture onto the crumbs. Sprinkle the top of the beans with crumbs to make the burger easy to handle. Form it into a 4-5 inch patty. Refrigerate the burgers for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
To make the sauce, warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the green peppers and saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions and saute for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add 3/4 tsp salt, the water, lime juice, jalapeno, avocado and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Taste and add a pinch more salt if necessary.
To cook the burgers, warm enough oil to coat the bottom of a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (so you can hold an outstretched hand 1 inch above the pan for only a few seconds), add the patties, lower the heat and saute until golden, 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve on burger buns just as you would any regular burger — with lettuce, tomatoes, onion.