Black Bean Burgers and Murky Middles


One of my favorite things to get at one of our local restaurants has always been a black bean burger that they made on site.

It fell apart.

It was huge.

It was delicious heaven of black bean awesomeness and it was THE THING I always ordered whenever I got take-out. I looked forward to it SO MUCH.

So… yeah….

The restaurant stopped making it and replaced it with a quinoa burger.

I get it. Quinoa is trendy. It is happy. It is hipper than the black bean. These things happen and I could not buy enough black bean burgers to validate the restaurant keeping it on the menu. A woman can only eat so many black bean burgers.

But… but… it made a bit of a panic.

Because something I loved was just… it was just gone. And I don’t know about you all, but I tend to make the meals that everyone else around me like so much so that I almost have forgotten what food it is that I really like, you know? This black bean burger was the one thing that I would always order and love and enjoy for me.

And it was forever gone.

But the man is cool and he wanted to fix my despair because he is nice like that.

And the man now makes me black bean burgers. And he even doesn’t even complain that there is no meat inside them, which is really saying something, honestly.

Cooking with a Writer Black Bean Burger Recipe

Black Bean Burgers of Structure

  • 1 16-oz black beans (DRAIN THEM AND RINSE THEM)
  • 1/2 green pepper (ALL CUT IT UP 2-INCH PIECES)
  • 1/2 onion (ALL CUT INTO WEDGES)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 2 TSP hot sauce, Thai sauce, wing sauce, whatever you like or have
  • 2 slices bread all crumbled
  • 1 /2 cup flour
  1. Be proud that you’ve cut the onion, pepper, and opened the black beans and have not harmed yourself with the sharp knives or can opener. 

    Wish that everyone would celebrate this success with you. 

    Get wine.  

  2. Oil a big piece of aluminum foil and put that on a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit/190 Celsius if you are going to cook these in the oven

    Be proud that you know the word Celsius. Writers need to know a lot of words. Celebrate your knowledge of words. 

  3. Dump those black beans into a bowl. Ponder the black beans. Think about how German poet Sarah Kirsch wrote an ode to black beans. Hate her for a second because you’re jealous. Then remember she’s dead and hate yourself instead. 

    Repeat the mantra: I celebrate other writers’ successes. I celebrate other writers’ successes. 

  4. Take a fork and mash those black beans up until they are sort of ‘thick and pasty.‘ Realize that this is a good character description – ‘thick and pasty.’ Go write that down so you don’t forget it! 

  5. Saute the onions in a little oil until soft. Watch them loose their structure just like your middle grade fantasy novel when you tried to write it in the point of view of the wizard’s toilet paper. 

    Realize that you sometimes make bad choices. Get more wine.

  6. Add onions, spices, green peppers, bread crumbs, and spices and sauce to the beans. Mix it up. Think it’s ugly. Feel badly about this. 

  7. This is the hard part. You know there’s always a hard part, right? Like the murky middle of every book where the end is in sight, but you aren’t sure how to get there. Yep. Hold on that’s where we are now, little writer friend.  

  8. Add the flour –  just a couple tablespoons at a time. You want to mix it each time. You want this ugly thing to look super thick. You will probably have to use your hands and get messy. I am so sorry.  The murky middle is an icky place. You get dirty. You dig deep. Blah. Blah. Blah. 

  9. Buddy! You did it!!! Shape it into a burger shape just like you shape your story into a story shape. 

  10. You have a choice here. I know! It’s like you’re in a love triangle and you have to choose between the cold vampire and the hot werewolf. 

    You can put the burgers on the sheet of aluminum foil and back 10 minutes per side in the oven. 

    You can grill on a real grill. Place the patties on foil first. Grill 8 minutes each side.

    You can fry it in the pan you used for the onions. Just put down a bit of oil, turn on the heat to medium-low, and cook for 3-4 minutes each side. 

  11. You are probably going to want burger rolls and condiments. That isn’t in the calorie count, but go for it, writer! You did this. You rock star. 

Dogs’ Verdict: We can only eat the bun because — flatulence.

Man Verdict: Can we put bacon on this?

Carrie Verdict: This is the best food ever created other than stuffing and sushi. The end.


Everyone always talks about writing being like cooking.

Clarification: By everyone, I mean writers. Writers like to talk about themselves.

Anyways, there are a million blogs about how writing is like cooking, but not really anything about cooking like a writer. So, our new Thursday segment is now COOKING LIKE A WRITER.


Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.

I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.

So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links are all up there in the header on top of the page.  There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.


I’ll be at Book Expo America in NYC on June 1 at 11:30 – 12 at the Lerner booth signing copies of the Spy Who Played Baseball. A week before that,

I’ll also be in NYC presenting to the Jewish Book Council . Come hang out with me!

I’ll be at Sherman’s Bookstore in Bar Harbor on April 28 from 1-2.

To find out more about my books, there are links in the header. And if you buy one? Thank you so much. Let me know if you want me to send you a bookplate.


The podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along with over 3,000 listens.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can.



The awesome six-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money. We’ll be having a Zoom class to learn more about it and I’ll share the details as soon as they are official.

Write Submit Support

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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