Like many other vegetarians, I’ve been working to perfect my burger recipes for ages. I’ve made many tasty variations, using everything from sweet potatoes to zucchini. While they always taste good, the texture usually leaves much to be desired, and the burgers fall apart before they reach the bun.

But I’ve finally mastered the art of the well-shaped veggie burger, and the result is full of flavor!

For those of you who are Birmingham locals, the southwest-inspired flavors will remind you of Rojo‘s black bean burger, because it was my inspiration for this copycat version. The difference is that this one is vegan! Add a side of thick French fries and pair with a pint of Avondale Brewery’s Spring Street, and you’ll be transported to the patio overlooking Rushton Park.


  • 1 flax seed meal egg (see directions below) (substitute: 3 tbs aquafaba; non-vegan substitute: 1 egg)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder (substitute: cornstarch)
  • about 2 tbs canola oil, for sautéing and frying


  1. Start by making your flax meal egg (if applicable). In a small bowl, mix 1 tbs flax meal to 2 tbs water. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before using. Mixture should be congealed.
  2. Heat the oil on medium-high, and sauté the onion and garlic for about 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add the jalapeños and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until tender but not mushy.
  4. In a large bowl, mash the beans using a fork or potato masher. You can also pulse a few times in your food processor instead, but it’s important to leave the mixture somewhat lumpy for better texture and hold.
  5. Mix in the garlic, onion, and jalapeño mixture as well as the corn and cilantro.
  6. Squeeze in the lime juice and add all of the seasonings, including salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Mix in the congealed flax meal egg.
  8. Stir in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
  9. Cover the mixing bowl with clingfilm or reusable food cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  10. Form into patties–I like to use my burger buns as a guide for how big my burgers need to be. Add more arrowroot powder or cornstarch if the patties are too sticky or mushy.
  11. Lightly oil your pan and cook patties on medium-high for about 5 minutes, or until nice and brown, then flip, cooking for about 5 minutes more.
  12. If you are adding cheese (vegan or otherwise), now is a good time to pop it on top while it’s still in the pan if you’d like for it to start melting over the patty.
  13. Top with your favorite burger toppings (eggplant bacon, anyone?) and enjoy!

Tip 1: I often make a test burger to ensure I’ve got the mixture right. The mixture will still be somewhat soft but should be to handle being turned over easily without falling apart.

Tip 2: To ensure maximum hold, coat the formed patties with arrowroot powder or cornstarch before popping into the pan.

If you try it, let me know what you think. Also, for those of you who have never been, stay tuned for a Rojo post soon.