Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adzuki Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Served bunless (not a GF thing, just me) with sauteed snow peas and onions and homemade potato fries.

To start off with, there are two spellings for this lovely little red bean that is common in Japanese cuisine, Adzuki and Azuki. I don't know why, but I'm guessing that it has something to do with dialect differences that have showed up in the Romanized version of the word when people immigrated to this country. Adzuki is what is written on my bag of beans and that is the spelling I tend to stick with.

Adzuki is traditionally used in sweet dishes from oshiruko, a sweet bean soup that is eaten over mochi as a snack, or made into tsubu-an, which is a sweetened paste that is used in various ways, but mostly in some kind of dessert or sweet treat. It is also common in the form of red beans and rice, known as sekihan, during the New Year celebration as red is a symbol of happiness. My search for uses for this little bean started when I became pregnant with our first child and my mother-in-law handed me a bag of beans and said they were good for the baby. Looking back, I think of how ironic is is that it took me a year to get through that first 1/4 pound bag of beans. They don't last quite so long around here now-a-days.

At least once a week I like to fix a meal that is meatless so that I can add a little variety to my families diet. As I mentioned in my Picky Eating post, my oldest son doesn't really like the texture of meat anyway, so getting him to eat a traditional hamburger is a struggle. I had tried to make veggie burgers from adzuki beans before with mixed results. My old recipe would just end up too heavy and they were OK when made fresh, but any leftovers ended up not being eaten. I got this idea from a fish patty recipe and went from there. My picky eater loved it and even asked for seconds. I think this may be our new favorite burger.

Adzuki beans actually don't need to be soaked overnight, but I like to anyway as I think it just brings out the flavor of the bean better, but it is up to you if you do a quick soak or a long one. I usually make 1 cup of dried beans in 4 cups of water and that cooks for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the bean and if more water is added to the pot half way through the cooking process. I then portion out one cup of cooked beans for this recipe and save the rest to make oshiruko later. (Oshiruko is one of those recipes that you just toss in sugar and salt until you reach the flavor you desire, so I still need to measure it first before I can post a recipe.)

As far as flavor goes, they have a richer flavor than most veggie burgers and having the quinoa is an added bonus in both texture and protein content. The texture can be very crispy on the outside layer, but the inside stays soft and tender. Try them out on your next burger night and see what the family thinks and I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.


1 cup precooked adzuki beans prepared using directions on the bag

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 tbsp/15ml dried parsley flakes

1 sheet of toasted sushi nori-broken up into smaller pieces

1 tbsp/15ml wheat free tamari

2 tbsps/30ml flax seed-milled

2 green onions-chopped or ½ small yellow onion

2-4 tbsp of adzuki cooking liquid


Cook the adzuki beans and quinoa according to the directions on their respective packages. They do not need to be cooled before working with them. Using a slotted spoon, measure out a cup of beans and reserve the cooking liquid for later.

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until it reaches a thick and sticky consistency. This may take several minutes depending on your variety of food processor. Add more cooking liquid if the mixture is too dry. This will make the food processor work easier, but don’t overdo it as too much will cause the patties to fall apart.

Spoon hamburger sized portions into your hand and form into patties much like you would with hamburger. Place them in a smoking hot and oiled pan (just enough oil to cover the bottom) Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they are easy to pick up and brown and crispy. Cook on the other side for 5 minutes. Serve hot with the regular burger fixings. Makes 5 large burgers.

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