This Black Bean, Corn, and Farro Veggie Patty is a Burger Game Changer

  • By Jess Dang
  • June 13, 2012

Black Bean, Corn, Farro Vegetarian Burger | 3 Ingredients / 3 Ways | Cook Smarts by Jess Dang

Part of our “3 Ingredients / 3 Ways” Series, featuring: BLACK BEANS + CORN + FARRO

I am a carnivore, and I love a juicy, meaty burger, but I get just as excited to sink my teeth into its vegetarian cousin. They’re related but definitely exhibit very different characteristics. You can’t really expect a vegetarian burger to taste like the classic beef version. It’s not supposed to. Instead every veggie burger becomes a surprise in texture, ingredients, and taste. While I know beef will still be king on the grill as summer arrives, I constantly get requests for veggie burger ideas from my clients looking for healthier alternatives. While I’ve got a variety of options, one of my favorites features a trio of ingredients that are often cast together in my kitchen – BLACK BEANS + CORN + FARRO (check out other ways to combine these ingredients in our “3 Ingredients / 3 Ways” feature). The farro and beans bind together giving this patty a meaty, satisfying bite, and the corn lends just the right amount of sweetness and texture. Married with a blend of seasonings (which of course can always be customized to your liking) and the right condiments, you’ve got yourself a whole new family member to add to your burger family.

1 4

Black Bean, Corn, and Farro Veggie Burger Recipe

Serves: 4


  • 1 14 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of cooked semi-pearled farro (= 1/3 cup of non-cooked farro grain)
  • 1 cup of frozen corn (Trader Joe's makes a great smoked version)
  • 2 tbs. of tomato paste (the tube version is great because it keeps so much longer)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 bunch of green onions / scallions
  • 4 buns (I've used whole wheat crumpets for variety)
  • Optional condiments: a few tablespoons of creme fraiche and about 2 cups of thinly sliced green cabbage with 1/2 tbs. olive oil



  1. Farro: If you haven’t already cooked the farro, prepare it like you would pasta. Farro absorbs a lot of water so use a 1:6 farro to water ratio (e.g., 1/3 cup of farro = 2 cups of water required). Bring water to a boil, salt heavily, add farro, and boil uncovered for about 25 minutes or until al dente (tender but with a bite). Drain
  2. Green onions / scallions: Chop both green and white parts into thin segments
  3. Cabbage: If you want to use this as a condiment, chop about 1/4 of a green cabbage into thin segments
  4. All of this can be prepped ahead of time and kept in airtight containers / bags for up to 4 days


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine black beans and eggs. Mash with a fork
  3. Add farro, frozen corn, tomato paste, kosher salt, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Let flavors sit and marinate (this can also be prepared ahead of time and stored for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container)
  4. In the meantime, heat a medium-sized frying or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tbs. of oil. When oil is warm (you can tell if it’s hot enough by tipping the pan. If you see striations and “legs”, like in a wine, it’s good to go) add chopped scallions, plus a dash of salt. Saute for about 1 minute and then add to your black bean + corn + farro mixture
  5. Form mixture into 4 round balls. If you find that it’s a bit sticky, wet your hands first which will keep the mixture from sticking too much to your hands
  6. Next heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When oil is warm, transfer the balls over to the skillet and gently press down with a spatula or a wooden spoon to form patties. Sear on both sides for about 2 to 3 minutes
  7. Transfer the skillet into heated oven and bake for 15 minutes
  8. While patties are baking, you can prepare the buns and cabbage if you’re planning on using cabbage as a topping. The buns can be toasted in a toaster oven or thrown into the oven with the patties for 10 minutes. For the cabbage, you can use the same pan as you used for the scallions. Return the pan to medium-high heat, adding another 1/2 tbs. of oil to warmed pan. Add cabbage and saute with a dash of salt for about 3 to 4 minutes, until cabbage has wilted but still has some crunch
  9. When the patties are done, assemble burgers by adding a dollop of creme fraiche and sauted cabbage to patty and nestling between your toasted buns
Serve / Substitutes / Supplements
Spice it up:
Add 1 tbs. of adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers or a 1 tsp. of cayenne or instead of creme fraiche combine adobo sauce with mayo/veganaise to make a spicy aioli
Double the fun:
Double the ingredients and form half into patties and freeze in an airtight container with patties separated by parchment paper (that way they won’t stick to each other when you go to use them)
Leftover herbs:
Are there leftover herbs in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with – cilantro, parsley, basil? Chop them up and throw them in


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