Whenever I spend time out at my family cottage in Manitoba I am often invited by Grandma Irene to use up odds and ends of leftovers. It’s always an interesting challenge. A bit of zucchini, perhaps, some spinach, a bit of cheese, a bag of cherries… or a bag of wine (booyah). This year it ended up being black beans and cooked basmati rice. The first thing that came to mind was veggie burgers—what better for a week at the cottage?

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I will happily confess that these burgers are the work of nothing but hunger and improvisation. I’d spent the entire day down on the dock, reading in the sunshine. It was a day of pure bliss—the first day of reliably warm weather they’d had in weeks, and the first day of truly great weather for my vacation. I motored through a book I’d been working on for months, basked in the sunshine (wearing my SPF 60 and a hat), and couldn’t help but wonder why days like it are so few and far between.

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Anyhow, by the time I returned to the cottage it was clearly time for a nap, which is perhaps one of the most decadent things about vacations (that and the 4 drink minimum of any evening). Following naptime, it was dinnertime, and these delicious burgers are what emerged.

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Black Bean, Rice, & Corn Veggie Burgers

1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
½ cup fresh corn kernels
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tbsp chili seasoning (not hot chili powder!)
½ tsp seasoned salt
¼ tsp red chili flakes
1–2 tsp Sriacha sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Bread or cracker crumbs, as needed

Mash together everything but the crumbs. If the mixture is too loose to form patties with, add bread or cracker crumbs until you can.

It’s best to let the mixture age and mingle for a day if you can. If not, no harm done.

When you’re ready for some tasty veggie burgers, form the mixture into four or five patties. It’s a pretty delicate mixture, so don’t be too ambitious in packing it all together.

Fry the burgers in a skillet over medium high heat, melting a slice of cheese over top if you like. I love to serve these on a roll with spinach, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and some balsamic sautéed mushrooms and onions. Yum!