Everyone loves a grilled cheese sandwich. I love grilled cheese in any form, although I like to think I have graduated from the American cheese, white bread version I ate when I was a child (you know the kind you dip in the disgusting Campbell’s Tomato Soup). When I came across the recipe for a double bean burger melt from howsweeteats.com (my new favorite blog) I felt like I had found my perfect meal. These melts combine my two favorite sandwiches: grilled cheese and veggie burgers. I was so excited I had to make them as soon as possible. The opportunity presented itself on Friday. It was a very rainy Friday afternoon and after a particularly horrifying trip to Wal-Mart (I will honestly never return) I needed some comfort food.
Double Bean Burger Patty Melts
Yield: makes 4-6 sandwiches
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large egg + 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces freshly grated monterey jack cheese
softened butter for spreading
whole grain bread slices
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and onions with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat, then cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. While onions are cooking, make the burgers.
In a large bowl, mash beans with a potato masher or fork. I like to mash them halfway, leaving some whole. Add in basil, garlic, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper, mixing to combine. In a smaller bowl, lightly beat eggs and add in 1 tablespoon olive oil and panko, stirring to mix. Add the egg mixture to the beans, and mix thoroughly to combine, bringing it together with your hands if needed. Separate the beans into 4-6 equal sections and form patties. I think the key to a great patty melt is making them in relevance to the size of your bread slices, so the amount of patties you get may vary.
Heat the same large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or as much as you need). Add burgers and cook on each side until golden, about 5-6 minutes. Remove burgers with a spatula and set on a plate. To make the patty melts, butter one side of bread, placing it in the skillet butter-side down. Add a few handfuls of grated cheese, then place a burger on top. Top that with some onions and more cheese, then one more side of buttered bread, with the buttered side facing up. Cook on medium-low heat (slowly!) until the cheese begins to melt and glue the sandwich together, then flip and cook until the bread is golden and toasty. Eat!
As far as veggie burgers go, this recipe is pretty basic. They were relatively easy to make, requiring little prep time. I just used a fork to mash the beans, completely mashing about 3/4 of them to make a nice mixture that wasn’t completely mush. I only used one egg when mixing up the burgers and I have to say they stuck together incredibly well. Not one of my burgers fell apart, which is really unheard of for a non-meat burger. Using the same pan to cook the caramelized onions and the burgers gave them a little boost of flavor that I really enjoyed. They are definitely not bland! If I made them again, I think I would use fresh basil to give it a little more of that flavor because I really enjoyed the inclusion of that spice.
For the patty melt, I used whole grain bread and shredded colby jack cheese. This really was perfect, but make sure you are generous with the cheese or it will get lost in a sea of beans and bread. My recipe yielded 5 burgers, which were all big enough to cover the bread. It is really important to fit the burger to the bread so you aren’t sitting there eating empty crusts. If I were to make these over, I think I would use sliced cheese because it would be a lot easier to keep on the patty melt. I also think I would try Swiss cheese, or maybe provolone. Other than that, the burgers were hearty, tasty, and just the comfort food I was looking for. They got good reviews from the family! My dad assessed the burgers perfectly. He said, “Unlike some veggie burgers, these were really filling and left you feeling satisfied”. You really can only eat one!
For a side dish, I chose roasted green beans and mushrooms. Mushrooms are my favorite thing to eat, especially when they are roasted or grilled (this makes them perfectly juicy and delicious).
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner, which is what I did.) While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.) Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.
Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.
As you can see, this recipe is really simple. I cooked the veggies for 20 minutes, and they were perfectly crisp and tasty at this time. I can’t stand mushy or soft vegetables, so anymore time would have ruined them for me. I also think that 2 tablespoons of cheese is not enough so I just took the Parmesan cheese and sprinkled it liberally over the veggies when they came out of the oven. They were so yummy and the perfect compliment to the burgers. You really don’t need a starchy side dish with these patty melts! Also, it was nice to be able to put the veggies in the oven and focus on the burgers, which were obviously a bit more complicated.
This meal was the perfect, hearty, filling meal for a rainy day! I ate about 5 o’clock and didn’t eat another thing for the rest of the night!