1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup pepitas

1 pound sweet potato (1 [8-inch] sweet potato), roasted in the skin until soft

1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (or leave the seeds for a hotter burger) and minced

½ cup unflavored hemp protein powder

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

Olive oil cooking spray, for brushing


2 cups finely crushed blue or yellow corn tortilla chips

3 tablespoons pepitas, roughly chopped

Black bean burgers are a pantry staple great for any occasion, and an easy sell for omnivores, too. This version is unusual in a few ways even beyond the addition of hemp protein: The mixture is moistened with roasted sweet potato and rolled in a crunchy coating of crushed tortilla chips and pepitas, but perhaps the most remarkable twist is the roasting of the cooked black beans, a tip I learned from The Serious Eats blogger.

Roasting the beans (either home cooked, or more likely for busy protein nerds like us, canned) adds a new dimension of hearty, chewy texture by drying them out a bit for a denser, meaty consistency, and deepening the earthy character of the beans with roasted notes. I’m not one to waste making the most of a hot oven: While the beans roast, you’ll also toast shelled pumpkin seeds for even more roasted flavor in the burger mixture.

1 Start the burgers: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the rinsed beans in a single layer over half of the baking sheet, and spread the pepitas on the other side. Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the oven is preheating, place the sheet with the beans and pepitas in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, or until the beans look dry and the skins start to break on the outside, and the pepitas are golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the beans to a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the pepitas and add them to the beans.

2 Peel the roasted sweet potato, transfer to bean mixture, add the remaining burger ingredients, except the cooking oil spray, and mash everything together into a soft, moist mixture.