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WCRF/AICR
Global Network
Good Food/Good Health
Week of June 25, 2007
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A New Take On Burgers

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

Everyone loves a good burger, especially when warm weather invites outdoor grilling and casual al fresco meals. But not all burgers are equally healthful.

Although more and more people are avoiding red meat for health reasons these days, there is no reason to be deprived of burgers. Bread, beans and rice make the base for this cleverly-created veggie burger. It is made all the more delicious with a generous variety of seasonings: onions, peppers, scallions, garlic, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and hot pepper sauce.

The good news is that the basic ingredients, of which black beans are the greatest component, are nutritious as well as delicious. Beans are high in fiber, which helps fight a range of chronic diseases. They also contain protein and are loaded with protective phytochemicals that help fight cancer and other serious health problems.

Make sure to follow this recipe carefully and pulse the ingredients until coarsely chopped. Err on the side of caution when mixing the ingredients, because a burger with a mushy texture is far less appetizing than one that is slightly chunky.

These burgers are so flavorful you might discover you need fewer of your usual toppings. Their texture, however, is different from that of burgers made of meat. If you are serving your family or guests veggie burgers for the first time, providing a range of garnishes and toppings to add inside the bun will help ease that transition.

Jerked Veggie Burgers

Jerked Veggie Burgers

2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small seeded green bell pepper diced
1/2 cup finely-chopped scallion, both white and green parts
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. dried allspice or cloves
1/4 tsp. dried nutmeg
2 slices toasted whole-wheat bread, in 1” pieces (1/2 cup crumbs)
1 can (15-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked rice, preferably brown
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, pepper, scallions, garlic and ginger until very soft, about 5 minutes, but do not let them color. Add the spices.

Reduce the bread to crumbs using a food processor. Add the beans, cooked vegetables, rice, hot sauce and the egg white. Pulse until the mixture is just coarsely chopped. Do not over-process or the burgers will be mushy.

Transfer the mixture to a large plate or wide bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 8 burger patties.

Heat half a tablespoon of the remaining canola oil over medium heat in the skillet. Brown 4 burger patties on one side for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Carefully flip and brown another 2-3 minutes. Place the cooked burgers on a plate. Cover with foil to keep hot. Add the remaining half tablespoon canola oil to the skillet and brown the remaining burger patties as above.

Serve the burgers on a toasted whole-grain bun with some lettuce, a tomato slice and usual toppings such as mustard, ketchup and relish.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 144 calories, 5 g. total fat (<1 g. saturated fat), 20 g. carbohydrate, 6 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 250 mg. sodium.

# # #

AICR’s Nutrition Hotline is a free service that allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. Access it online at www.aicr.org/hotline or by phone (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers. It has provided more than $78 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org.

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