Getting a last-minute, super-nourishing and complete dinner out of pantry staples isn’t necessarily easy.
In my house the need for this kind of meal typically arises at the end of the week. In a way it’s a good problem to have, because it means that my left-overs from earlier in the week have been eaten. That always makes me happy.
On the other hand, by the end of the week I’m pretty sick of cooking. I just want something easy, low effort, low mess. But still substantial and nourishing. After all, I’m trying to grow a couple of healthy kids here. They need high-quality protein, omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA, and an array of vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients. So I’ll suck it up and cook, but I want it to be under a 30 min effort.
Enter the canned goods: black beans and salmon – both excellent pantry staples. While I usually make my beans from dried, I keep a few containers of canned or tetra-packed beans for last-minute recipes like this.
For the salmon, I like Alaskan sockeye salmon, which is wild and contains the highest levels of those beneficial omega-3 fats. If you can handle it with the bones, it’s actually better for you – the bones add great calcium and they’re soft enough to easily mash up.
Now I’ve made black beans burgers, and I’ve made salmon burgers. This time I thought, why not mix it up a little and make them together, along with some mutually beneficial seasonings like cumin, lime, and green onions?
Well, it worked out pretty great. Mashing a few of the black beans helps the burgers stick together. In fact, if you don’t eat eggs you could probably mash all of the beans and omit the eggs altogether. But if you’re cool with eggs, I like the texture that the in-tact beans lent to the final burger. Don’t be afraid to play around with the seasonings either. Use lemon if you don’t have lime, parsley if you don’t have cilantro, etc. These are versatile.
Pair these burgers with some easy veggies from your freezer and some nice slices of the season’s last tomatoes. For more great recipes, and the accompanying shopping list and weekly meal planner, check out Eat Happy Meal Plan.
Salmon and Black Bean Burgers with Cumin and Lime Dressing
Total Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
16 ounces canned wild Alaskan salmon
1 ½ cups cooked black beans, from 1 can or ½ cup dried
1/2 cup minced green onion, or 1/3 cup regular onion
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
3 limes, juice and zest
1/3 cup instant oats, or 1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
½ tsp minced garlic, from 1 small clove
5 ounces salad greens or lettuce
2 large heirloom tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), high-heat oil (canola or grapeseed), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the canned salmon in a medium mixing bowl. Using a fork, break up the salmon and mash any large bones into the mixture.
- Mash ½ of the black beans with the back of a fork then add them to the salmon along with the remaining beans, minced onion, 1 tsp cumin, juice and zest of 1 lime, oats or breadcrumbs, egg, cilantro, about ½ tsp salt, and some black pepper. Mix everything together well and set aside for a couple of minutes.
- Whisk together ¼ cup EVOO, juice from the remaining 2 limes, the minced garlic, pinches of salt and pepper, and the remaining ¼ tsp cumin.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of high-heat oil. Pack the salmon and black bean burgers into a 1/3 cup measure and drop them onto the skillet. Flatten them out to about ¾ inch thick and cook until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side. If the burgers aren’t holding together well you can always add a little more oats or breadcrumbs, if too wet, or another egg, if dry. They may be a little fragile until they begin to cook through, so be sure to cook them well on the first side so that they begin to set up.
- Serve the salmon burgers over a bed of lettuce and sliced tomatoss, drizzled with the dressing