“Me, sexy? I’m just plain ol’ beans and rice.” -Pam Grier

January is almost over. The excitement of the New Year already worn off and the cold of approaching spring steadily settling in. They said it would be sunny all week. They lied. Now as the cold mist creates a cozy condensation along my windowpanes, I dream of summer. I can almost feel the warmth on my cheeks and the dewy grass between my toes. I’m ready for dusty camping trips, crisp morning hikes, and rowdy sunset bonfires. I figured that if I can’t have waterfront picnics, I can at least get my fix of summer fun in the form of spicy black bean burgers!


Twelve grams of protein in one tiny package.

Yet, it isn’t just the gloomy grey of the skies that has been getting me down; lately I’ve been feeling tired, light headed, and weak. I’m prone to anemia; a condition many young women have, but anyone can get if they don’t consume enough iron rich foods. While all of the tubers that I’ve been cooking lately have been creamy and delicious, they are certainly not iron rich.


20% of your daily recommended iron per patty!

So I survey my pantry and a bag of dried black beans catches my eye. “Bingo” I murmur to myself, as I soak the beans to ready them for quick cooking. Iron is an important component of two proteins: hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells, and myoglobin, which helps comprise muscle cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to various tissues throughout the body while myoglobin stores oxygen directly in one’s muscles for later use. This is why many people feel faint and light headed when they don’t consume enough iron in their diet; their body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to function properly.


Like a black bean Babel, but much less confusing.

There are two forms of iron found in food: heme iron, which is found in meat, poultry, and fish, and nonheme iron, which is found in plants and some meats. Today we are working with nonheme iron. This can be tricky at times, as the body absorbs nonheme iron at rates that range from 2-20%, depending on the food. Lucky for you, I’ve already thought this whole puppy out. When eaten together, vitamin C can triple the body’s absorption of nonheme iron! As you may or may not know, moringa is a fantastic source of vitamin C. We will be using both in today’s recipe.


Kuli Kuli burger, is the burger, for you and me!

Vegan Black Bean Sliders

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8 small patties


1 cup dried black beans, soaked and boiled, or 1 can black beans

1 cup brown rice

1/2 medium onion, minced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup water

2 tsp cumin

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tsp oregano

2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne, or as much Tapatio as you can handle

1 tbsp moringa

oil for the pan


Put the rice on to cook while you prepare everything else.

In the mean time, drain the black beans into a bowl and smoosh them using a sturdy fork or potato masher. You want them to mainly be a smooth paste, but leave a few beany chunks. It looks nicer that way after they’re all cooked and ready to go. Stir in minced onion, garlic, and cilantro. Stir in the rice when it’s ready. Add all of your spices and taste. Spice more if it feels too bland. Beans have a tendency to soak up chili powder, as I always find myself adding more. Add in the flour and combine. Slowly add in the water until it is a moist, yet workable consistency.

Lightly coat a pan with the oil of your choosing (I used canola, but any will do), and turn on the heat to medium-high. Form patties with your hands that are about 1 cm thick, and cook on each side until browned and crispy.

Once each patty is done, stack them on a plate between sheets of paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

Serve hot on a bun with all the fixings, or freeze between sheets of wax paper for later meals.


Don’t forget to enjoy!

“Animals feed themselves; men eat; but only wise men know the art of eating” -Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

You can find many more yummy moringa recipes on our blog!


Sizer, Whitney. Nutrition: Concepts & Controversies. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2011. Print.