2 cups or 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
About 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus olive oil spray
Whole wheat buns
Mash the beans with a fork in a mixing bowl. You don’t want to puree them; just get them mashed so that no whole beans are left, but leave some half-beans.
Add the wheat gluten, bread crumbs, chile powder, cumin, water and tomato paste (and cilantro) but don’t mix yet. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic in. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the onion.
Mix everything together with a fork and then proceed to mix with your hands until the mixture is firm and uniformly mixed (about a minute).
Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a firm ball. Use your palm to press the ball down on a clean surface to form a patty that is about 1-1/2 inch thick. Press so that the patty is flat on both sides. Make six patties.
Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan. Cook the patties three at a time for 5 minutes on each side, gently but firmly pressing down on them with a spatula. Spray with olive oil before turning them over, for uniform browning. Once cooked, the patties should be very firm when you press down on them.
Serve warm on burger buns.