Black Bean Burgers (and the Grumpy Vegan!)


I’ve never been much of a vegi-burger type person (or as you know, a vegi person in general), but lately I’ve been considering cutting out meat and dairy. This is a very depressing statement for me, and I’m very grumpy about it! LOL. It has nothing to do with philosophical problems with cruelty to animals (since, while I like animals, I like eating them more…) and everything to do with reading the book “The China Study” where a scientist essentially convinced me that consuming animal protein encourages nasty stuff like cancer and heart disease and obesity and diabetes and brain tumors. [Well, sh*t!]

The only reason I picked up this book was that my parents read it and promptly became vegans, and I wanted to read it to make fun of them! lol. So as you can imagine, I read it really wanting to discount it, and the more convinced I became, the madder I got. After finishing it, I spent around 2 weeks in a funk. Here was the thought that looped in my head: “OK, so no meat I could do. But no cheese? NO CHEESE?!!!!” I invite you to take a look at the size of the “Cheese” category in the tag cloud on the right. That gives you an idea of its importance in my life. Cheese, in my opinion, is the perfect food. That and bacon make anything better, and figure prominently in almost everything I make. So I was very upset by this vegan crap mainly because of cheese.

But still, the book had convinced me. I think mainly because this guy was just displaying the results of a 40-year scientific career, and saying “this is what I found, take it or leave it.” He spent the first half of his career convinced that animal protein was essential to good health, and set out to prove it through his research studies, and basically proved himself wrong! He actually saw that the presence or absence of animal protein could turn on and off cancer and a bunch of other health issues. So he’s saying “here’s my train of thought, here is the research I used to reach my conclusion, do what you want with it.”

That was not what I was expecting – I thought it would be a fad diet book with recipes, trying to make a quick buck, like all the others that my parents have read in the past. I wasn’t expecting real, grown-up science, and it floored me.

So now what? That’s what I’ve spent the last 3 weeks trying to figure out. I’ve landed on the decision that I am going to cut out most meat and dairy for my family, with the exception of keeping in a little cheese to help me still like my life, and to help my hubby stomach the whole thing. As far as the recipes on this site go, I’ll still post any and all yummy-sounding recipes submitted to me, plus if I’ve used some weird sort of protein source I’ll recommend the meaty and cheesy ways to make it delicious. (With a certain amount of envy. I may be limiting meat and dairy, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it!)

Also, my hubby is planning to start another round of P90x in the spring, and I’m considering doing it with him. So I’m going to have to figure out how to do P90x nutrition vegan style. Everything I’ve found on the Beachbody boards indicates that this is not easy to do. (Low-carb and vegan don’t really mix.) So I’ll be sure to post here any interesting conclusions I come to or resources I come up with related to vegan and vegetarian versions of P90x nutrition.

OK, so there ends the longest recipe intro known to man! The other night I decided that if I wasn’t allowed to have hamburgers, at the very least I’d better come up with a good bean burger recipe. Here’s what I started with, and it really was pretty good! I was surprised by how hamburger-ish it smelled and felt while eating it.


  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 Tb. Worcestershire
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 Tb. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Drain and rinse beans, and pour them into a large bowl. Mash the beans against the side of the bowl with a fork, then add the remainder of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Shape patties and serve depending upon how many carb servings you have to work with:

If you only have 1 carb serving to work with (Phase 1):

Either shape them into 6 larger patties and serve them protein style (wrapped in a big piece of lettuce). Or shape into 8 thinner patties and serve on an EarthGrains Thinbun (or other 100-calorie bread product). Either of these options will make this whole meal 1 carb serving.

If you have 2 carb servings to work with (Phases 2 and 3):

Shape into 6 larger patties and serve on a normal hamburger bun (pictured). This will make the meal 2 carb servings.

Heat skillet over medium heat, and add 2 Tb. olive oil. Fry each patty in the oil on each side, until browned and heated through. (On the second side I added a slice of cheese so it’d melt a bit in the pan.)

P90x Nutrition Plan Servings:

  • Carb servings depending on how you prepare it, above.
  • Add 1/2 cup worth of vegis (tomato, lettuce, sprouts, mushrooms, etc.) and it’ll provide 1/2 vegi serving.
  • Add 3 oz. avocado and it’ll provide 1 fat serving.
  • Add 1 oz. low-fat cheddar cheese and it’ll provide 1 dairy serving.
  • Add 1 1/2 Tb. worth of condiments – ketchup, mustard, low-fat mayo, BBQ sauce, etc. – and it’ll provide 1 condiment serving. (I’m counting the condiments in the burgers themselves as 1/2.)
  • Add 2 slices of cooked turkey bacon (<sniff>), it’ll provide 1 protein serving.

P.S. While I enjoyed the flavor a lot, my hubby thought it was too mild. Or, I should say, when I asked if anything needed to be added he said “maybe some spices.” He seriously thought I hadn’t added anything to the beans! LOL. Either he has no taste-buds or mine are super sensitive, I don’t know! The result is that I’m considering this one a bit of a work in progress. I’ve given you a slightly spiced-up version (when I made it, I used a bit less garlic salt, less onion powder, and no pepper). If any of you try variations that give it more flavor and kick, please do share!

P.P.S. If any of you clicked on this recipe because you’ve been jonesing for a hamburger and thought it was a burger recipe, you could very easily make this with ultra-lean ground beef or ground turkey instead! If you make 6 oz. patties, count them as 2 protein servings, and just serve them on a normal whole-wheat hamburger bun for one carb serving.

More later! =)
– CJ =)


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  1. Monique

    hi, I was just wondering if the Black Bean Burger is 1 protein or 1 carb? Still new at this and I dont think I can eat that much meat in the p90x diet plan. Please if you have any Protein tips thats not meat, tell me please. I do have your book and its helped me soo much. thank you.

    1. CJ =)

      Hi Monique!
      Unfortunately, the black bean burger is a carb serving, not a protein serving. The traditional P90x nutrition guide does not count beans for protein servings, which is a bit of a bummer. I totally feel your pain – a lot of people have trouble packing in the sheer quantity of protein that the plan requires.

      Here are my recommendations for you:
      – Protein shakes (drink your protein)
      – Turkey bacon (2 slices is a whole protein serving, and that doesn’t take up much room)
      – 6 egg whites (they can feel less filling than the other meat protein sources)
      – Switch over to the vegan P90x meal plan provided by Beachbody. That takes protein-heavy grains and beans into account.

      I hope that helps!
      – CJ =)

  2. Erika

    Hey there,

    I just wanted to let anyone out there know that if they are going vegan that Worcestershire sauce is not vegan, it has little sardines in it. If you’re just trying to follow a vegetarian diet and you’re still incorporating fish then go for it, but if you’re trying to follow a true vegan diet then you’ll need to find something of equal taste :).

    I’m so happy I’ve found a vegan plan for my p90x, I was worried that I would end up going hungry!!

  3. Kristie

    I know this is an older recipe…but just thought I would put it out there that it isn’t vegetarian. Worcestershire has fish in it. Like the idea of making your own that I saw in an earlier post.

  4. Alana

    Your posts are inspiring. I stopped eating meat, dairy and seafood (since some folks put it in a category seperate from meat) after lots of research and watching the a few documentaries. (Food Inc., Forks Over Knives *this one talks a lot about The China Study*, and FoodMatters) I’ve lost so much weight and feel so much healthier! I am constantly amazed at all the great meatless meals there are out there. Keep it going.

  5. Kim

    These are really really good!!! I am still eating mine as I write this, but had to come and thank you for the recipe because I really am enjoying it. I topped mine with some part skim mozz. and light bbq sauce. Really great and not dry at all like other bean burger recipes I have tried!

  6. AlyssaK

    Hi CJ,

    What size cans do you use for your cans of black beans & kidney beans? Or can you tell me how many cups of each?


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Alyssa!
      I use standard 15 oz. cans. Tell me if you like them and if you make any tasty alterations!
      – CJ =)

  7. Jen

    Hey everyone! My husband and I started P90X on Monday and we both have been struggling with the nutrition. We are both on Level 2 and I can not see how I can eat so much protein and food and still loose weight…well I found out Wednesday why I need to eat it! I totally crashed out! Could not keep my eyes open and kept getting sick! I had to call my husband home early because I was scared I would not be able to stay awake for our 7 year old son! I was in bed by 7pm!! Anyways, he found this website yesterday and I think it will work wonders!!! I have already printed out the Journal and this will be the first recipe I try tonight! It looks AWESOME!!! I hope it tastes as good as it looks because my husband is a very picky eater!
    Good luck to everyone and keep pressing play!!!

    ~do your best and forget the rest!~

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Jen!
      Yep, they aren’t crazy over at Beachbody – they knew we’d crash without enough protein in our system!

      I hope your hubby likes it too – gee no pressure! 😉 If not, try my Healthy Mac and Cheese or the Twice Baked Potatoes. Those are still two of my favs!!
      – CJ =)

  8. Sarah

    I added cilantro and because i didn’t have worcestershire sauce i made my own my using molasses, fresh grated ginger, salt, red wine, garlic, and a dash of vinegar. The burgers were delish. I also added a bit of hickory flavoured bbq sauce that I put on the burgers when i cooked them in the pan.

    1. CJ =)

      Wow, Sarah. Great improvements. Now you’re making me hungry! =)
      – CJ =)

  9. candace

    I know this is an old thread but i thought i would share… Tony (the P90x guy) went vegan, they have updated the meal plan, and nutritional guidelines. Cheese was my hardest thing, but I found if I could have oily, salty mixtures in my food, I didnt crave the cheese (olive oil and garlic salt on pizza as opposed to chese). Also being “vegan” means no dairy… so anyone who says “im vegan but i still drink milk,eat chicken..ect”…is an idiot who just likes to be attached to a label instead of embracing who they are. Sorry, I know its harsh but its such a pet peeve of mine. I think its awesome you chose to cut out the majority of unhealthy animal products from your life. Im doing P90x on a vegan diet and its pretty awesome! Im assuming by now your already through the program so how did it go?

  10. AK

    Great recipe. Every diet needs balance. Its damn near impossible to eat properly for this program on a strict vegan diet. Don’t believe everything you read. Lean meats are, in fact, healthy for you. It’s very difficult to conduct a comprehensive study on food consumption over a long period of time. You can’t keep track of everything a person consumes over that long a period and several other factors besides animal protein can be to blame. Follow the link below for a more unbiased look at the China Study. Eating a diet void of animal protein could lead to several other health issues as well, specifically having a diet low in B12. Enjoy your lean meats, but eat a variety and stay away from fatty cuts.


    1. AK

      More importantly, click through the links pf the rebuttals and sister articles in the above link.

      I also found the following link interesting:

      1. CJ =)

        Hey AK –
        Thanks for these links! I actually found the first one you shared right after I read The China Study (as I desperately researched online for a reason not to change my diet! lol). I didn’t find anything in that initial link that refuted the overall validity of the book (and while it brought up good points, given the fact that it is on a pro-cholesterol website, it didn’t strike me as unbiased). However, since I read it, the author has added links to some newer critiques which hold a bit more weight with me. Specifically this one: http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

        I do disagree with the statement that P90x is nearly impossible for a strict vegan, especially given the fact that Beachbody has published a vegan P90x nutrition plan and has a whole newsletter devoted to the subject! It’s true that you have to be careful to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients, and Steve Edwards, the nutritionist for Beachbody, has stated that trying to keep to the recommended P90x protein/carb/fat ratios does not work for vegans – they’ll need to modify it. However the teambeachbody message boards testify to the fact that many people do very successfully complete the program without including meat or dairy!

        All this said, to be honest I am the wrong advocate for veganism, given the fact that I am not thrilled about it to begin with, and am not really currently practicing during my pregnancy! LOL.
        Thanks again for your comments!
        – CJ =)

  11. Wen

    I’m really excited to try this! I’ve never done much with beans, other than stick them in enchiladas. 😉 I think I will have to use the cheese though. I too can live without meat, but find it difficult to live without cheesy goodness in my life!

    I’m not a vegetarian, but one of my favorite veggie dishes is mushroom tacos. I take large portabella bells, cut them in strips about 1/2 in wide, and saute them in olive oil along with red pepper strips, onion strips, and asparagus spears. I usually season with garlic salt, and a little taco seasoning. I top them with homemade spanish rice and guacamole, and you guessed it, cheese. 🙂 I’ve tried them with various tortillas, and liked them all, but my favorite was a wheat tortilla that I folded and browned in a pan (no buttering necessary) with the cheese inside, quesadilla style. Then I just pile everything inside.

    1. CJ =)

      Wow Wen, those portabella tacos sound SO GOOD! I’m going to have to try that out!!! =)
      – CJ =)

  12. Kimberlee


    I’m so excited to find someone else trying to eat veg and work out! I’ve been vegetarian for about 8 years and trying to exercise can be murder. Either I cannot get enough calories to get me through the day or I’m eating all the wrong foods… like cheese 😉 I have tons of books on it, especially for triathlons and the like, but I was concerned about the 3 tiers of p90x. Are you still confused? Because I totally am! LOL

    Anyway, so my mister and I are starting p90x this coming week and I’m researching foods. He’s a meat eater… er, well, he just informed me that he’s going to try to eat what I eat. LOL! So now the pressures on! I’ve not only gotta find vegetarian/vegan recipes that I want to make and eat, but one’s he’ll be excited to eat too! I’ve been emailing him a few recipes I found on your site, so it’s been very helpful, and I wanted you to know how much I appreciating you at this very moment!

    Much <3,

    1. CJ =)

      Thanks, Kimmy!
      I’m so glad you’re finding some stuff on the site to get you started! I am very new to this whole vegetarian/vegan thing, and still trying to figure it out as far as P90x is concerned, and also for myself as far as pregnancy is concerned.

      Check out Appifanie’s blog for inspiration – she’s a long-time vegan and also a P90xer! I also recently got an email from a guy who is planning to do a raw vegan P90x, and plans to submit some recipes here – keep tuned for those! =)

      Oh, and eventually I’ll get my butt in gear and get the vegan P90x food journal up!
      – CJ =)

  13. maiven

    no way!im gonna haven to put chicken in it or something lol.even the bible says “Eat the chicken””Eat the cow”

    1. CJ =)

      LOL, Maiven! Well good – if you do put chicken in it, be sure to comment on here about how you did it so that other meat-eating Xers know if it turns out yummy or not!! =)
      – CJ =)

  14. Jen

    Made this last night for the family and it was delicious! I couldn’t live without cheese either and it only enhanced teh flavor!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Jen! So glad that you guys liked it. Did you think that same that I did, that the bean burger had a surprisingly “hamburger-ish” flavor and texture? I was impressed by how much it really did feel like eating a burger. But maybe I just didn’t expect much. =)
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      – CJ =)

  15. Amber

    Try this cheez sauce! It can be used for many recipes! Completely vegan! Super easy to make too!


    The main ingredient is nutritional yeast, and it gives your the saltiness of cheese, plus a little nuttiness. You’d be amazed!

  16. Artyi

    I have a friend you is totally vegan, but he didn’t cut out diary. I think staying out of the meat is OK, because these foods are really hard to digest and takes longer time for your stomach to feel light. I’m trying to eat more fish instead of meat and it works for me. Thought about cutting out meat too, but I like one a week to eat a small steak.

    Today I’m gonna do tuna melts and will put it on my blog. Hope it will be delicious. I’d try your burger, but don;t have beans right now 🙂

  17. Mandee

    Hi! I found your blog through Appifanie’s vegan blog.

    Going vegan is easy if you think about it differently. Don’t “I’m not allowed to eat *this*” think “I choose not to eat it for *this* reason”. It’s like people who go on diets, they spend all their time thinking about the food they are not allowing themselves rather than focusing on the amazing range of fresh fruit, veggies, nuts & legumes they can enjoy eating 🙂

    Your burger recipe sounds good!

    1. CJ =)

      Good call, Mandee! I’m starting to get used to the idea. I actually found the P90x nutrition plan restrictive at first too, but then discovered that the “restrictions” were freeing in a way and ended up bringing out my creativity. I can slowly see the same process happening here, especially now that I’ve decided to forgive myself a bit of cheese now and then! =D
      Thanks for your comment. Please do try out the bean burger recipe and let me know what you think, and if you’d make any additions!
      – CJ =)

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