My local grocery store doesn't sell frozen veggie burgers. So if I want one, I have to make them from scratch. (Insert groan here.) Really, I hadn't craved them until recently. Who wants a veggie burger when you can have a warm carnitas taco? But then my pants starting getting a wee bit too tight. And I thought, well, maybe it'd be nice to have some more veggies in my life. (This from the girl who used to eat salads every day in the U.S., and whip up a frozen veggie burger at least twice a week. Sometimes I don't know who I am anymore.) I'd made homemade veggie burgers once before when I lived in Dallas, and I remember it being an intensive process, and one I didn't necessarily want to repeat again. Then, a few months ago, I was flipping through a copy of Cooking Light that my mom had sent me in the mail, and I saw a recipe for a quick black bean burger. It called for mixing beans with onions, spices, some egg and breadcrumbs. Sounded easy enough. A few days ago, I whipped some up for dinner, adding my own Mexican-ish tweaks -- bolillo roll for the breadcrumbs, a serrano pepper for spiciness, and a good slather of cilantro-chipotle mayo on top. (Cilantro-chipotle mayo tastes good on just about anything.) Paired the burgers with a gujarati grated-carrot salad, a warm, gingery, toasty side dish that comes together in a snap. Found the carrot recipe in a charming cookbook called Cooking Com Bigode, which my friend Jesica gave me a while back. The book, whose name is Brazilian Portuguese for "Cooking With Moustache," doesn't so much offer specific measurements as loose instructions designed to empower the home cook. It was written by Jesica's bohemian friend Ankur, an Indian guy who camped out in Brazil for awhile. If you don't have carrots, you can pair the burgers with any other salad you want. I think something mild might be best, as to not overpower the gooeyness of the cilantro/chipotle mayo and spicy black beans. Maybe tomatoes with queso fresco and black pepper. Or even jicama with a spot of lime juice. A quick note: These burgers don't have a typical "burger" consistency. They're soft and kind of creamy, but crunchy on the outside from a nice sizzle in the frying pan. Ergo, I wouldn't pair them with a traditional bun. I didn't use any bread at all and didn't miss it (I was too busy wow-ing over the mayo), but if you're dying for bread, I would try a thinly sliced, toasted white or wheat bread. Crayton, who loves a good carnitas taco, really liked these. Although he was a little alarmed by the mound of carrot salad I put on his plate. He said, "That's too much," and so I took some off. (I thought: How can one have too much carrots? They're carrots!) I know he's very excited for all the other vegetarian recipes I have planned in the future. Recipe below. Quick black bean burgers with cilantro-chipotle mayo and ginger-carrot slaw Adapted from Cooking Light and Cooking Com Bigode Serves 4-ish Some quick notes: I kind of abhor raw-onion pieces in my burger, so I sauteed everything with the spices beforehand and then added it to the black beans. Of course if you're on a time schedule, you could skip that step and add the raw veggies directly. Also, chipotle peppers in adobo freeze really well, so don't worry about just using one if you've opened up a new can. If you don't have a bolillo roll, you can use a hamburger bun, which is what the original recipe calls for. Don't worry if it's stale -- my bolillo roll had sat around for almost a week (!), and after I pulverized it in the food processor, it was fine. Lastly: The thought of grating carrots used to scare me -- I thought it would take forever -- but it is ridiculously easy, and it made me love my box grater all the more. Grating carrots is easier than chopping them, I think. Ingredients 1 bolillo roll 1 big garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon greated lime rind 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, or several grinds of black pepper 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (you're welcome to use ground cumin if you have some; I didn't) 1 large egg 1 large egg white 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion 1/2 of a serrano chile, minced, with seeds 1 560 gram-can (about 19 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed Tear bolillo roll into chunks, and place in the food processor. Pulse until you've got breadcrumbs. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add your black beans to the food processor bowl, but don't do anything with them yet. Heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and chile until the onions are translucent; then add the spices and garlic. Cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add this mixture to your waiting black beans, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Pulse to form a thick paste. (At this point you have the makings for a very nice bean dip.) Scrape into another bowl and add your breadcrumbs, lime rind, egg and egg white. Stir to combine, and shape into patties. Fry in a small amount of olive oil until evenly crisp. Gujarati Carrot Salad 2 carrots, grated 3/4 to 1 teaspoon mustard seed (basically a few sprinkles) pinch of turmeric grated ginger, to taste salt Heat a glug of canola oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and wait for them to pop; then add turmeric, grated ginger and salt to taste. Cook for a few seconds, and pour this mixture over the grated carrots. Taste to see if it needs more salt; adjust accordingly and serve.