CENA E PANE DOLCE… Black Bean Burgers and Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

by valentinalucia

I’ve got dinner AND dessert for you all tonight! Tonight I revisited a recipe for black bean burgers I made earlier this month, but neglected to post (sorry! forgive me!). Needless to say, in a bigger kitchen with more utensils and an array of spices, these burgers came out much better (and much more burger-like in appearance) than the first attempt. This entire dish is a medley of a few fun things, all of which I love love love – Black Bean Burgers with Garlic Baked Sweet Potato Fries!

Let’s start with the black bean burgers. Like I said, this is my second attempt at them and I’m very happy with these results. Probably the biggest difference noticed this time was the effect bread crumbs had on the physical formation and shape of the burgers. Previously, I only had flour to use with the recipe’s one egg to form the patties. That didn’t work out well, because I ended up using too much flour on the outside of the patties to make them form, turning the apartment’s kitchen into a big, gooey, black bean-y mess. Phrase of the day for black bean burgers – “Thank GOD for Panko!” I love Panko bread crumbs – they work so well in this recipe to help the burgers hold their shape, without being too conspicuous. They purely work with the egg and the beans to form nice looking patties.

Next, the sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes so so much! They have a fantastic flavor and can work well in so many forms – one of my favorite forms being fries. These fries I seasoned with a mix of salt and pepper, paprika, parsley, and LOTS of minced garlic. I have come to realize how much of a garlic-lover I really am. I could put it (and red pepper flakes!) on pretty much anything 🙂

The spinach was a green addition to the meal – quick, simple and delicious. Just saute in a bit of olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes (what I think I will call, the Golden Combo) and feast!

Black Bean Burgers (serves 2)


1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 egg

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

olive oil


1. Saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse bread crumbs, spices, two-thirds of beans, salt and pepper until well blended. Transfer to large bowl and mix in egg. Stir in sauted onion and remaining whole beans until well combined. Divide into 2 portions and shape into patties.

3. Lightly coat 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat on medium 1 minute, then add patties. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until browned on both sides, carefully turning once.

Garlic Baked Sweet Potato Fries (serves 2)


1 sweet potato, cut into strips

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons minced garlic

salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cooking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Place strips of sweet potato into a bowl and drizzle olive oil to coat. Mix strips so all are lightly coated with oil

3. In a separate dish, mix paprika, minced garlic, salt and pepper to create the seasoning. Dip each sweet potato strip in coating and set on sprayed cooking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes on each side, flipping once.

Sounds yummy, right? Well, you haven’t seen the last of it yet! We haven’t even gotten to dessert – Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread adapted from Joy the Baker.

I had been wanting to try this recipe since the minute I saw it on Joy’s blog. I love pumpkin and there’s something about a good spice bread loaf that I just can’t resist! The only changes I made to this recipe was to cut it in half (I only made one loaf, whereas the recipe originally makes 2), and I used applesauce instead of vegetable oil to cut out the fat.

This loaf came out so moist and luscious. It’s dense, but not too dense, and has a great, married taste of pumpkin and spices. The walnuts add a nice crunch to an otherwise smooth loaf as well – a definite keeper recipe 🙂

You can find the full recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread here!