The Vegetarian Pantry Meal I Can’t Stop Cooking

A spare can of beans goes a long way.

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Photo by: Lauren Volo

Lauren Volo

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Like Amanda Freitag, I consider myself a “closet vegetarian.” I will definitely eat meat when I’m dining out or cooking for someone else, but I prefer to go without it when I have the chance. For the past few weeks, that means I’m relying on ingredients I already have at home, like eggs, beans and whatever condiments I find hanging out in the fridge or pantry.

When I watched Amanda Freitag’s Black Bean Burgers with Tomato-Lime Mayo class on the Food Network Kitchen app, I realized it was the perfect recipe to make the most of my kitchen staples. She forms hearty patties out of canned beans, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion and garlic — and whips up a garlicky mayo with sundried tomatoes to slather on top. Don’t have black beans? Amanda says it’s perfectly OK to use a red or white bean in its place.

Even better? Amanda’s burgers freeze like a dream, which means I can make a batch of six and store ‘em for lunches or dinners throughout the week. If you want a larger meal, you can serve the burgers with fries or serve the patties over rice. Trust me when I say that both options are equally delicious.

What I like most, however, is that Amanda’s class is full of cooking tips that I never thought about before. In addition to walking you through ingredient prep, she explains that you need to use all five senses when you cook to really make a delicious meal. She uses touch to ensure that the burger patties are the right texture (refrigerating them for an hour helps), smell to ensure that her onions and garlic are fresh, sight to tell if her oil is hot enough (it should move around in the pan), sound to hear the sizzle of her burgers and taste to ensure that her mayo is properly seasoned.

Thanks to Amanda, it’s been incredibly easy to make a pantry meal that’s both delicious and resourceful. Check out her class on the Food Network Kitchen app to see for yourself! Want to show off your amazing dish? Use #WeCook when you post it on Instagram and the Food Network team might share it!

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