Smokey BBQ bean burger

When the sun comes out so do the trusty barbeques which can prove to be an absolute nightmare sometimes if you are vegan or gluten-free,  especially if invited to a summer party. I have tried so many vegan and gluten-free burgers which ranged from really gorgeous to pretty nasty. Some were dry or soggy and sometimes devoid of taste completely.

I wanted to make a burger that not only packed a punch and looked like a burger and not vegetable patties. Also, they needed to hold together when cooked on the bbq. I have tried so many different ones myself in the quest for a great meat-free burger, many have ended up breaking apart and falling down into the charcoal so all that I am left with is an empty roll. So I had a look around and found a few that sounded great but contained flavours or ingredients I didn’t like. Ingredients I wanted to use were black beans as they have a great texture and help with the structure and my favourite rice which is red rice, as I’m not keen on brown rice myself. So this is my take on a great tasting vegan, vegetarian and gluten burger, I hope you agree.





  • 225g tinned black beans rinsed and dry ( you will need 1 and a bit tins for this amount)
  • 150g cooked red rice
  • 120g cashew nuts, walnuts work well too
  • 1 onion diced very small
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cajun spice
  • 1 tbsp chilli pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 25g gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp of a really good quality BBQ sauce
  • 1tbsp sweet chilli sauce


  1. Cook your rice as per instructions on the packet. you can also use brown microwave rice if you wish. Whilst that is doing toast the nuts in the oven at 180 for 15 mins then remove from heat and set aside to cool
  2. Once the nuts are cool put into a food processor along with spices and sugar and blitz until you have a fine ground
  3. in a frying pan add a little olive oil plus the onions with some salt and pepper and cook for around 5 minutes until translucent, put to one side until cool
  4. Mash the black beans in a large bowl leaving a few whole.
  5. Add the rice to the beans along with the onions, spice mixture and breadcrumbs.
  6. Add 3 tbsp of bbq and sweet chilli sauce. The reason I say add a good quality one as it does give you a much deeper taste. My favourite sauces to use are Jack Daniels original bbq sauce and Bull’s- Eye original bbq sauce.
  7. Mix together for a few minutes until you a mixture that holds together. If the mixture is too wet add more breadcrumbs if too dry more bbq sauce.
  8. Mould the mixture into 7 balls then with your hand’s press and shape into burger shapes. Once a burger shape is made I find wrapping each one in cling film tightly and giving each one a final shape with your hands and chilling them in the fridge still wrapped for an hour before cooking.
  9. If grilling brush with oil before if cooking in a pan add a little olive oil and once it is hot cook for about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve in a burger roll with your desired toppings. I love the top of the roll spread with a little vegan butter and pesto and then pressed down on this side into a hot pan for a few minutes. I also love these with salad, sweet potato chips and a side serving of my homemade coleslaw. In our house, there are always a few of these burgers ready and waiting in the freezer.

They will keep for 4 days in the fridge but I tend to freeze the ones I am not using uncooked then defrost and cook.


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