Lessons from the Kitchen: Bulgur Bean Burgers + Brussels Slaw


April 22, 2013 by Meg G.

Over the last eight months, I’ve learned a lot of new things about food, flavor, technique, and myself. Here are just a few of my favorite kitchen lessons so far:

  1. Not reading directions carefully = burnt crackers.
  2. Garnish is where it’s at.
  3. Cooking vegan is easier and yummier than you might think.
  4. Everything is more fun with friends and surprises!
  5. Our refrigerator doors may shed some light on our relationship to “stuff.”

I’ve also learned that I actually like more foods and ingredients than I used to believe. I have the From Scratch Club cookbook club to thank for much of that. Sticking with a cookbook for a few months means you can’t always hide from those less-than-comfortable ingredients or combinations. And having a supportive community of readers, cooks, and bloggers makes it a lot of fun!

A few weeks ago, I noted my tenuous relationship with vinegar. I’ve never been a salt and vinegar chips kinda gal. I don’t really like pickles or even ketchup. I do, however, love the sweetness of some balsamic-drizzled pizza or salad. So, when I decided to give Liana Krissoff’s homemade slaw a try, I knew it was a risky move. (But I also knew enough NOT to make the recommended cilantro mayonnaise. Vinegar is one thing. Mayo? An entirely different matter.) The result of my food bravery is a totally delicious and zingy combination of burger + slaw. Here goes!

Bulgur Black Bean Burger + Brussels Slaw || Small World Supper Club

Bulgur Black Bean Burgers + Brussels Sprout Slawadapted from Liana Krissoff’s Whole Grains for a New Generation

For the slaw:

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • lemon juice, optional
  • about a pound of Brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 carrot (or a handful of babies)

Brussels and Baby Carrots


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, cumin, cayenne, and mustard. Gradually whisk in the oil to emulsify. Adjust seasoning to taste. I added a splash of lemon juice at this point.
  2. Slice the sprouts longways, creating long skinny shreds. Or, if you’re feeling lazy (like me), just throw them in the food processor and shred. If the core seems overly hard, discard it (preferably in your compost bin). Add the Brussels sprouts to the dressing.
  3. Peel the carrot and use the vegetable peeler to shave off long slices and then slice them into thin shreds. (Or process in the food processor.) Add to the sprouts and dressing and toss well. Keep covered, refrigerated, until needed.

Brussels Slaw Prep

For the burgers:

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked fine- or medium-grind  bulgur, cooled
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 6 whole wheat buns, toasted

Lime and Cilantro


  1. In a small food processor, combine the beans, carrot, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt, cumin, cayenne, and paprika and process until combined. Be careful not to over do it; you’re making burgers, not hummus!
  2. Add half of the bulgur and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining bulgur.
  3. Shape into 6 patties a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate and coat both sides of each patty with crumbs.
  4. Spray or coat a large sauté pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until well browned an heated through (I found that it took about 4 minutes on each side).
  5. Serve the burgers, topped with slaw, on the toasted buns.

I have to say – the slaw might have been my favorite part of this recipe! Liana’s original recipe calls for 1/2 head of cabbage, but I love Brussels sprouts and they’re basically just baby cabbages, so I went for it. I did have one moment of vinegar overload (inhaling too deeply = a rookie mistake), but it didn’t stop me for going back for seconds!

The burgers were great – a nice, flavor-packed, grain-filled update to our usual bean burgers. I love the cilantro and lime combo. I think that the bulgur helped the burgers to hold together better than some of our other recipes. Overall, this was a winner and it will, I’m sure, become part of our usual burger rotation.

For you mayo lovers out there – Liana’s mayo recipe is simply a combination of the following:

  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


3 thoughts on “Lessons from the Kitchen: Bulgur Bean Burgers + Brussels Slaw

  1. I literally can’t get the to grocery store fast enough to make this. These Burgers sound amazing! I’ve never had great luck when it comes to black bean burgers (they always taste great, but I can never get the texture right), so I can’t wait to try this recipe out, thanks for sharing

    • Meg G. says:

      So glad you’re inspired! : ) Be sure not to over process the bean mixture – I think leaving some of the beans intact helps with the texture. They still cracked slightly when flipping, but they were much easier to handle while forming the patties. Enjoy!

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