Because bean burgers are healthy without feeling dutiful, we eat them often. With a cold beer and a bowl of guac and chips, Mexican Black Bean burgers (from mom’s Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals) are about as fun as weeknight dinners get. But I recently made the quinoa cakes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday which inspired me to to use Mom’s bean burger formula to create a quinoa variation. It only took one try to get it right. To me these Chipotle Quinoa Burgers with Tomato-Avocado Salsa are pretty perfect.

The formed patties and the finished burger! Crispy & spicy.

To give the burgers extra flavor and a little heat, I added chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but you could add just about any herb, spice, or topping for a different flavor profile. (Think quinoa burgers with fresh basil, tomato, and melted mozzarella on top!) Together quinoa and beans make a complete protein. And with all the grain, who needs a bun? To quote our French friend Betty, “C’est pain et pain!” (bread and bread).  Instead Mom and I developed this fresh, flavorful salsa.

This recipe makes eight burgers. For dinner I’d probably eat two–especially with no bun–so this makes enough for four healthy dinner appetites.  But they also they also refrigerate and freeze well, so you can make extra and save some for later.

Chipotle Quinoa Burgers with Tomato-Avocado Salsa
Makes 8 burgers

*For 3 cups of cooked quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold running water. Drain and add to a medium saucepan along with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

3 cups cooked quinoa*
1 can (15 ounces) vegetarian refried beans
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound tomatoes (color and style, your choice!), diced (about 3 cups)
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/2 red medium red onion, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and ground black pepper
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix quinoa, refried beans, eggs, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons chipotles, and cumin in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide into eight portions and shape into patties.

Mix tomatoes, avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, remaining 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; toss to coat and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in each of 2 large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook, turning only once, until a crisp brown crust forms, about 6 minutes total.

Place a quinoa burger on each plate, top with a portion of salsa, and serve