Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Beef and Bean Burger Base Recipe

Beef and Bean Burger Base Recipe

Substituting beans for part of the beef in a traditional burger helps cut saturated fat while still providing quality protein.
beef and bean burgers base recipe on a plate with roasted sweet potatoes and a side salad

This is one of the base recipes featured in Part 2 of our Whole Life Meal Plan. Substituting beans for part of the beef in a traditional burger helps cut saturated fat while still providing quality protein. This beef and bean burger recipe is packed with plenty of flavor and moisture to satisfy your burger cravings!

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Culinary Tips for the Best Beef and Bean Burger

If you have picky eaters, dice the onion or shallot finely so that they don’t notice them. 

When mixing the ingredients or forming the patties, don’t overwork the meat. Otherwise, the burgers will turn out tough.

Match the patty size to your bun, noting that they will slightly shrink as they cook.

Use a food thermometer to check for doneness for food safety; 155ºF is the desired internal temperature.

You can cook these burgers on the stovetop instead of the oven, but note they don’t stay together quite as well. Heat a skillet over medium. Add oil to the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the patties. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. 

If cooking burgers on the stovetop, remember the 3 F’s of flavor: fire, fat, and food! Heat your pan, heat your oil, then add the burgers. Once the burgers are on the skillet, don’t move them around. Keeping them in place helps ensure maximum flavor development and browning.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Beans: use any low-sodium beans of your choice – black, pinto, lentils, chickpeas, cannellini, kidney, etc. You can also use 1 ½ cups of leftover beans from our stovetop or Instant Pot beans base recipes.
  • Ground Beef: substitute ground bison, lamb, venison, chicken, or turkey. If using venison, chicken, or turkey, add 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to the burger mixture, as these are lower fat meats.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: substitute plain, whole wheat, or seasoned bread crumbs, but cut back on the added salt if you do. Panko is typically very low in sodium. If you want burgers without breadcrumbs, leave them out! Just note that they might not hold together as well.
  • Shallot or Onion: use white, yellow, red, or green onions. You can also substitute ½ teaspoon onion powder.
  • Fresh Herbs: use any herb or combination of herbs, keeping in mind the final flavor or cuisine that you want. Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, Italian parsley, and rosemary are all great choices. Don’t have fresh herbs on hand? Substitute 1-2 Tablespoons dried herbs. Note that some herbs, like sage and dill, have stronger flavors, so start with 1 Tablespoon.
  • Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic flakes, ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute canola or avocado oil or cooking spray.

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spice it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavor and texture.

  • Pesto: use homemade or store bought. Use in place of the chopped fresh herbs.
  • Cheese: we recommend strongly flavored cheeses because just a little bit goes a long way. Asiago, blue, feta, goat, gorgonzola, and parmesan are some of our favorites.
  • Green Chiles or Chipotles in Adobo: substitute ½ diced jalapeño pepper or ¼ serrano pepper, seeds removed.
  • Spices or Dried Herbs: use chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, or your favorite spice blend.

When selecting ingredients, it can be helpful to think of a cuisine or flavor profile you are trying to achieve. Italian, Mediterranean, Greek, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and Latin are just some cuisines to consider. Use your creativity and imagination! 

Turn these beef burgers into sliders by reducing the patty size to ~2 inches in diameter.

We recommend cooking beef burgers with beans in the oven or on the stovetop, but you are welcome to try grilling them. We’d love to hear how they turn out for you!

Want some burger flavor inspiration?

Use these recipe variations for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Equipment Recommendations

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Is this beef and bean burger recipe healthy?

Not all burgers are healthy on their own, but they can definitely be included in a well-balanced diet. These bean and beef burgers are a much healthier choice than their greasy counterparts; by adding beans, you increase fiber, decrease saturated fat, and turn this into a plant-forward recipe. The featured ingredients in this recipe are beans, 100% grass-fed (grass-finished) beef, and fresh herbs.

Beans

Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. Beans are a key component of longevity diets around the world.

100% Grass-Fed (Grass-Finished) Beef

Red meat is not inherently bad. Most people just eat way too much and the wrong kind. Even people in the world’s longest-lived populations eat meat on occasion! The key is to eat high-quality meat, in small portions, and not too often. 

Beef is a rich source of protein, B vitamins, and iron. Grass-finished ground beef is higher in healthy monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-finished beef. We recognize that grass-finished beef is usually more expensive than conventional beef, but because you are “stretching” the meat by adding beans into the recipe, it is definitely worth the cost, and the price difference essentially works itself out. By cutting back on the amount of meat you eat, you can afford to eat the high-quality stuff when you want.

Fresh Herbs

Not only do fresh herbs add a pop of freshness and flavor to a dish, but they add nutrition too! Herbs are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and help fight diseases.

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients or in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions

Depending on the flavor combinations you choose, serve burgers with traditional ketchup and mustard, lettuce and tomato, a tasty pesto spread, or pickled veggies and avocado. Pair with roasted vegetables and a salad to make a beautiful Whole Life Plate

Serve leftover patties crumbled on tostadas or quesadillas, or on top of a salad drizzled with vinaigrette.  

How to Store and Reheat Beef and Bean Burgers

Cool leftover burgers completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. 

Leftover burgers can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-4 hours. Once the burgers are partially frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.

To reheat, place burgers on a pan and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to heat to 350ºF. Once the oven hits 350° F, your burgers should be warmed and ready!

Want more nutritious dinner recipes?

Try out these delicious recipes!

Hummus Pizza Base Recipe

Healthy Beef Tacos with Mushrooms

Easy Coconut Curry

Baked Tostadas Base Recipe

Salmon with Yogurt Sauce Base Recipe

beef and bean burgers base recipe on a plate with roasted sweet potatoes and a side salad

Beef and Bean Burger Base Recipe

This is one of the base recipes featured in Part 2 of our Whole Life Meal Plan. Substituting beans for part of the beef in a traditional burger helps cut saturated fat while still providing quality protein. This beef and bean burger recipe is packed with plenty of flavor and moisture to satisfy your burger cravings!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 burgers

Ingredients
  

Base Recipe

  • ½ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray
  • 15-ounce can low-sodium beans, drained (~1 ½ cups)
  • 1 pound grass-fed (grass-finished) ground beef
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs (whole grain suggested)
  • 1 medium shallot or ¼ small onion (~¼ cup diced)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced (~1 teaspoon)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 8 whole grain hamburger buns, lightly toasted

Mix-ins to YOUR taste

  • ¼ cup pesto
  • ¼ cup diced fresh or cooked vegetables
  • ¼ cup shredded or crumbled cheese
  • 4-ounce can diced green chiles or
  • 2 Tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo
  • ¼ – 2 teaspoons spices and/or dried herbs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF. Lightly brush a baking sheet with oil.
  • Place beans in a large mixing bowl and lightly mash.
  • Add beef, shallot, herbs, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, and optional mix-ins. Mix until just combined.
  • Create 8 patties with your hands and place on the pan, spaced at least 1” apart.
  • Cook 10-12 minutes or until cooked through to 155ºF. Serve on toasted buns with toppings to YOUR taste. Enjoy!

Notes

You can also cook these burgers on the stovetop. Heat a skillet over medium. Add oil to the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the patties. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (155ºF). 
 
Toppings to YOUR taste
  • Sliced tomato
  • Lettuce or leafy greens
  • Sliced or shredded cheese
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Sliced or smashed avocado
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce
  • Greek yogurt ranch or aioli
 
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
Green Chili Turkey Burgers with White Beans
Chipotle Burgers with Black Beans
 
Keyword Beef and Bean Burgers

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Marion

    Thank you for recipe. Can I use left over cooked pinto beans lightly mashed?

    1. Lexi Cole, RD, CCMS

      It is our absolute pleasure and we are so glad you found this recipe! Yes, that would be a great way to use leftover beans!

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