Freezer Cooking for Lunch: Veggie Bean Burgers

At the beginning of 2013, I found myself overwhelmed with all of the cooking, cleaning, parenting, diapering, laundry, planning, and so on that keeps this family going from week to week. I want to enjoy our everyday lives, so 2013 is being devoted to learning two things:

  1. how to adjust my attitude and expectations; and
  2. practical skills to simply life and make the day-to-day easier.

To further number 1, I’ve been reading a variety of books about parenting, relationships, and self-care and doing some self-reflection.  These kind of changes are hard, but worthwhile and I hope to share some of the great books I’ve been reading.  To further number 2, I’ve been streamlining some of our routines and learning how to freezer cook.

For the uninitiated, freezer cooking is just cooking food when you have the time so that you can freeze it to eat later when you don’t have enough time to cook (the way you want to). I’ve frozen things before on an ad hoc basis, but my recent adventures in freezer cooking are a little more structured and are focused on providing nutritious and delicious lunches for the whole family. For me to consider a recipe nutritious, lots of veggies are a must, but I also like lunch to be toddler-approved so that there isn’t too much drama.

This week, I had some extra time on a day where dinner was leftovers, so I decided to made a double recipe of bean burgers to freeze for later. Sadly, I couldn’t find a recipe that included some vegetables mixed in with the beans, so I had to make my own.  Although they came out a bit crumbly, they did freeze well and I think they taste great.  I lowered the amount of cumin in the recipe below due to Matt’s recommendations.  Both children loved these burgers, although they only ate a half-burger each because they were so large.  I served them with a little bit of tahini spread on top, but I think these might stick together even better if you threw in a bit of tahini to the burgers themselves.  I doubled the recipe below to make 16 burgers at a time.

Burgers before cooking.  Next time I'll get an after picture!

Burgers before cooking. Next time I’ll get an after picture!

Jen’s Freezer Friendly Veggie Bean Burgers  – Makes 8 large burgers

  • 1 can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 can chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 sweet potato, shredded
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 egg

Use a food processor to do the following: shred sweet potato, finely chop green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic, mostly process beans, leaving some chunks.  Combine processed ingredients, rolled oats, spices, and egg in large bowl and mix well.  Form mixture into 8 large patties and place on greased baking sheet.

Cook burgers at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then flip burgers and cook for another 15-20 minutes until tops are browned.  Let cool on baking sheet.  Serve and eat immediately, or freeze for later.  Freeze on baking sheet or plates, then transfer to freezer bags.

To serve later, thaw for a few hours, then microwave or heat in oven. Serve these burgers plain or topped with tahini, sour cream with lime or hot sauce, or ketchup.  Add some raw vegetables and fruit or applesauce and you have a well-balanced meal that takes only a few minutes to pull together.