I have fallen into the black hole that is Instagram. While this space is pretty intentional, I like being able to share snapshots of everyday food and life. The people on there, they are hungry. Hungry for recipes. And while I just want that to be for fun, not for recipe sharing, a few eager voices requesting the recipe from the day I was experimenting with black beans and pumpkin in vegetarian burger form, seemed desperate. I didn't need too hard of a push to make them again. So here we are with a gluten free, dairy free, fiber packed, super easy meal idea.

A veggie burger salad is my go-to lunch, so it seemed appropriate to share a version here. I love food in bowls - my entire meal made easy to eat in one vessel with one utensil. Primarily greens, something crunchy, avocado if there is a ripe one or a bit of cheese if not (both if I can't help myself), with hints of a dried or fresh fruit, a protein and maybe a bit of a grain if both aren't going to be present in veggie burger form. There is a science to this bowl-food habit. While against all things theme-y to post a recipe with pumpkin AFTER Thanksgiving, as we usher in December, I figured now is as good a time as any to give you a fiber packed meal idea. Treats will follow either way, no? Yes.

If you want to peek over to our Facebook page, we are giving away a holiday box from Crustic Bread! Madelaine is a super sweet, hard working, small business owner and she is offering one of her holiday gift boxes (which you can order until Dec. 10th!) to a lucky reader on our Facebook page!


I use canned pumpkin here because it has less water content then when you make it fresh, and I needed that for these to stay together. If you prefer to use fresh, you may need to add another tablespoon of oat flour or breadcrumbs to compensate. The salad is not a "recipe". I just chop the greens pretty small and add oil and vinegar to lighty dress. Nothing fussy, but I listed the components below in case you were interested.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 15 oz. can (about 2 cups) black beans
  • 2 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • scant 1/3 cup panko or coarse oat flour (can be made by blending whole oats)
  • coconut oil for cooking

// salad // 

  • lacinato kale, stemmed and well chopped
  • romaine
  • bit of grated parmesan
  • extra virgin olive oil (I used the lemon one from Nudo;- very subtle)
  • rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt + pepper


In a food processor, combine the garlic, scallions, pumpkin, olive oil, chili powder, salt and cumin. Run to combine. Add the rice and half of the beans and pulse ONLY a few times to just mix (we want minimal mixing here so it doesn't become a paste). Add the flaxmeal, oat flour and pulse them in. Add the rest of the beans and give it one or two more pulses (I add the beans in parts because I like the flecks of them in the patties). The mixture should be pretty tacky with texture to it. Not smooth. The mixture can be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Form the dough into four patties, about 1/2'' thick. Heat a thin layer of coconut oil over medium high heat in a large (non stick preferable) pan, working in batches if you need to. Once the oil is hot, gently add the patties to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until you get a golden crust, flip and cook another 2 minutes.

Prepare your salad or bun, top with you patty and garnish with cilantro and avocado if you wish.

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Reader Comments (50)

I say yes to post-thanksgiving pumpkin! This recipe is one after my own heart... topped onto a salad and all :)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanine

A welcome addition to any cafe menu I'm sure. Thanks for the recipe!

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthecitygourmand

These patties sound so dope and I'm SO with you on the chop and top bowl maneuver. Patties rarely see the crust of bread around here and I couldn't be happier as long as there's some good greens and a slice or two of avocado around. I haven't given into pumpkin fever yet, but I think I could handle this with some SERIOUS enthusiasm.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

oh I would love this as my lunch!

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Life

so not to add another "___ free" need, but someone in my life has just recently turned to the "specific carbohydrate diet" and i've been on the lookout for yummy things for her. this seems like something she'd like, and i suspect she always has leftover squash that she could throw in. there's a couple things that aren't allowed, most of which i can think of subs for, but what about the rice? does it just add bulk? could one maybe sub some nuts?

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterh

great minds think alike! I recently made some similar burgers with winter squash & black beans. Varying water content in different varieties of winter squash definitely something you have to watch out for, so I'd probably used canned pumpkin next time too! :) here are our pics if you are interested. Love your blog, as always! ;)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah @ two tarts

Wow going on my "to try" list

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

Hi Sara, I just wanted to clarify that this recipe isn't exactly gluten-free. Regular oat flour and oats can be contaminated with wheat, so you have to purchase gluten-free oats (or oat flour) to be sure. It would be quite easy, however, to sub in another type of GF flour in this recipe. Looks yummy!

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIsabelle

this looks and sounds completely amazing...cannot wait to try this.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermary @ B&Gjournals

You know how I feel about bowl foods, so I don't have to elaborate on THAT. (: But I am always into a tried-and-true veggie burger idea, too. I think those are harder to make than it seems...and I love the pumpkin addition here! (And now, yes: bring on the treats!)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Every time I come here I am always stunned by how good you guys are. I always gush about the photography [of course], but really, your recipes are so fantastic. I think I could just cook from your site for years and be fine.

This sounds so good - I've been trying to get more salad in my life. Another one for our weekly meal plan, yeah! ;)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

@Isabelle - oats, before processing are gluten free, so I am going to leave it labeled as such. People with allergies likely know the processing caveat.

November 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterSara

@h - hm. I use beans and rice because it's a complete vegetarian protein. I wouldn't substitute nuts for rice as they aren't nearly as absorbent, an they would just be...heavier? I think you could try some sauteed and cooled mushrooms, but I would halve the pumpkin cause you'll end up with too much moisture. Let me know if you have success experimenting!

November 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterSara

I am too a big big fan of the one-bowl-whole-meal thing. Makes life easier and testier in all respects
Plus, if you manage - as you brilliantly did - to get all macros covered (protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, etc) I say there's really science behind.
Maybe we should start a movement to promote it: the one-bowl-meal movement. With you leading it. What about that? ;)

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

these sound absolutely fabulous... and i say yes to pumpkin after thanksgiving! beautiful pictures.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlittle kitchie

Aww yeah! Totall awesomeness. Love the look of this patty!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I also love a good veggie patty over a salad, so easy and simple!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbby@The Frosted Vegan

This is soooo stinkin' pretty!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

Oh, I eat pumpkin well into December...and January...and February...this lunch sounds wonderful, Sara!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

Amazing!! Your photos are gorgeous as always! What kind of lens does Hugh use?!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimber

Your pictures are exquisite and this looks Delish!
My type of a healthy heartwarming dinner! Than you:)

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Looks yum! Thanks for this post. Martha

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha Perry

These look really delicious! I am excited to try them.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Pumpkin & black bean veggie patties??!! You are totally speaking my language. Oh, and I totally am a food in bowls person too. Leftovers over greens = lunch.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

definitely my kind of meal, too! I rarely have flax meal on hand and I don't own a grinder (yet). Could I sub it with , say, chia seeds? Or wheat germ (I don't have gluten intolerances). Thanks for sharing.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterValeria

I made something very similar to these patties, using leftover mashed butternut squash in place of the pumpkin! There is something so satisfying about a good black bean patty, and the autumnal twist is always welcome.

Girl! You are too good. I am always looking to add something more to my salads to make my "meat loving" husband happy although I could live on greens/avo/cheese alone, I try to cook without meat as much as possible. He will love this and so will I. Thanks for feeding us hungry Instagramers....we all just want to know what your brain is cooking up, because you are never to disappoint :) xoxo- mrs_winnie

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Winrich

Sara, these look delicious! I love the idea of adding pumpkin to keep the patties together. And I agree about the Instagram black hole -- but it's one I haven't felt too bad falling into either :)

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

These look amazing, especially on that beautiful bed of greens. I want to put pumpkin in everything this time of year, Thank you for sharing!

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Yes! to food in bowls. I want this right now, please. Then I could justify eating ANOTHER cookie. oy.

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

What a gorgeous blog. I'm here from Kelly over at Inspired Edibles. I just love the photography. Off to explore some more.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I love your twist on the typical black bean patty...

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTender B.

We had this for dinner the last two nights, topped with avocado and micro good, thank you for this recipe!

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

Sara, these look so tasty!

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColette @ JFF!

Looks delicious! I love pumpkin, I love one bowl cooking and I've recently started making my own veggie patties. Totally gonna give this a try.

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Sounds great! Do you think quinoa would work instead of rice?

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I'm totally with you on the subject of bowl food. I eat most meals alone so no-fuss meals with minimal dishes to clean up afterward are preferred. These pumpkin burgers à la bowl look great. ;) Hope you two had a terrific Thanksgiving with your family.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

Well, I don't like pumpkin but after reading this recipe, I am looking forward to give it a try.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSydney Kitchens

Just got your book for my DIL for xmas gift. Excellent!!! Love the recipes, the layout, the photography.... and so....... I just ordered one for myself!

Anyone wondering, the book is defintely worth getting! Definitely....

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGena

These photos are gorgeous and those patties look amazing! Thanks for sharing.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ Tasty Yummies

A healthy dish to start the day. Looks so good!

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwakanetwork

Just made these. I had a hard time forming the first patty so I decided to cook the rest in the oven in cupcake pan . They turned out great thank you for the recipe :D

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

Love love love this recipe! I made a slightyl different version and they went over fab with everyone - thank you! Beautiful photos as always!

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

These are amazing!!! I used this recipe as a base for veggie burgers, the only thing I added was ground blackened tempeh to the mix. Served with avocado cream and carmalized onions on toasted buns.

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Hi, just to clarify oats re gluten free - even though they are technically gluten free, 1/5 people with gluten intolerance also have oat intolerance and so they should be avoided :)

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHi

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. I make multiple batches at a time, and they freeze wonderfully. Try substituting curry powder for the chili powder--it's a delicious twist.

March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAP

Univ extension, THE authority, uses a third can pumpkin. Works better.

September 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

These are delicious! I substituted quinoa for rice and they came out great.

October 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I want to try this out tonight. I have everything except the flaxmeal. Is there something else I can substitute that with?

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKearstan

@Kearstan - you just need something absorbent to help bind. Oat flour may do the trick if you need it gluten free (you can blitz some oats in a food processor or blender). Or breadcrumbs will do otherwise!

January 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterSara

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