Dining At The Parks: High Desert Black Bean Burger With Sunflower Sauce

Black beans and sunflower seeds are some of the unusual ingredients that go into this burger served on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Forever Resorts photo.

Stroll into a dining room just about anywhere in the Southwest and you'll find some entree that includes black beans. At the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of the canyon they've found a way to get black beans into a burger.

Here, thanks to Scott Heckner, the lodge's food and beverage manager, is the recipe for the High Desert Black Bean Burger with Sunflower Sauce.

Black Bean Burgers
1-15oz can Black Beans
1C Plain Bread Crumbs
1/3C Red Bell Pepper, Fine Diced
1/3C Red Onion, Fine Diced
1Tbsp. Cilantro, Chopped
2 Large Eggs
¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Ground Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Hot Sauce, Mexican
1 Garlic Clove, Large, Minced

1/4C Olive Oil, for Cooking

Thoroughly rinse, drain, and dry the black beans. In a bowl, or mixer, smash half of the beans. Add the remaining beans and all other ingredients.

Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together, and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Mold bean mixture into 4 equally sized patties. Moistening your hands between patty forming will prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Patties may be sautéed in a skillet on medium heat. Place oil in skillet and allow to heat up. Carefully place patties in skillet and brown on both sides, until center is hot (165F). They may be baked in the oven on 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until hot (165F). However, they tend to lose moisture during this cooking process.

Sunflower Sauce
¼ C Sunflower Seeds
¼ C Sour Cream
¼ tsp. Lime Juice

In a small mixing bowl, crush half of the sunflower seeds. Add the remaining sunflower seeds, sour cream, and lime juice, and mix thoroughly.

It is recommended this zesty black bean burger and sunflower sauce be served on a toasted or grilled gourmet hamburger bun, and topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and pico de gallo.

This black bean mixture may also be used to make a unique appetizer. Simply mold the mixture to the desired size (this batch makes 8-2” cakes), follow either preparation method, and the sunflower sauce makes the perfect dip.