Grilled Black Bean Burgers with Garlic Aioli and Leeks

Let’s get this over with right away. Full disclosure. This was not a perfect Tuesday Night Grilling adventure. Grilling with your mind on other things leads to certain mishaps, like forgetting to oil the foil, or not paying attention to the leeks until they’re burnt. It wasn’t a total loss – conceptually excellent, in practice still tasty, if not necessarily aesthetically pleasing. Nevertheless, the meal must be served!

These black bean burgers contain the kitchen sink – leftover quinoa, diced jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, and leeks, some salsa for some added flavor and moisture, salt and pepper, and egg and bread crumbs to bind them. Not convinced that they’d hold up if tossed on the open grill, I placed them with a bit of foil underneath. However – and here’s the rub – I neglected to oil said foil, and the burgers stuck, requiring the extraction of their bulk from their crusty crunchy outer layer.

Slathering on a healthy dose of garlic basil aoili – made from leftover garlic cloves roasted inside a chicken – helped salvage the meal, along with the usual burger trinity of tomatoes, onions (sweet), and pickles.

The grilled leeks, drizzled with olive oil and salted before placing on the barbecue, weren’t too bad either – after peeling away the charred outer husks.

The lesson here: if you’re grilling, focus on that alone. A distracted mind leads to sub-par execution.

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