Kidney bean and peanut butter burger, 22p (VG/V/DF/GF*)

One of my most clicked-on, photographed, and tweeted-about recipes is ‘the 9p burger’, a carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger born of a toddler nagging for burgers and an empty storecupboard and a handful of change. Mashed and shallow fried, they looked like burgers, and he wasn’t any the wiser – though I’m sure he can tell the difference three years later, he still eats the bean versions as well as the occasional beef ones.

This morning, I opened a can of Basics kidney beans for brunch and only used a third of them. I knew as I put them back in the fridge that it would be bean burgers for dinner, and that excited me, as I haven’t had them for ages and people keep tweeting me pics of theirs, and I’ve been getting a Hankering.
The first hurdle was a lack of carrots in the fridge. Luxuriating in its place was a Deathbed Leek, so dry around the edges that the first three layers were stripped back for the guinea pig. I can’t remember the last time I even bought leeks – or how I hadn’t spotted it before. 

If you’ve read today’s Evening Standard article, you’ll know I have worked a few shifts at Blackfoot, in Exmouth Market. One of my favourite things to cook there was a Mega Nut Burger (not on the revamped Spring menu, I’m afraid), with a base of leeks and chestnuts and roasted nuts. I looked at my leek. I looked at my kidney beans. I looked for some nuts. I had no nuts. In all manner of contexts. No nuts. I did, however, have a tub of peanut butter (I use Sun Pat as it’s the lowest price brand that doesn’t use palm oil, and I don’t know enough about palm oil to be able to advise anyone else on it but there have been news stories of deforestation and sad looking orangutans and it just doesn’t sit well with me so one day I sat on the floor of Sainsburys and turned over all the jars of peanut butter scrutinising the ingredients for ones that didn’t have palm oil in and then compared the price per g and ended up at Sun Pat. Short soliliquy to peanut butter ends.)
And so, this was born. And today I am grateful for my disparate fridge and lack of nuts and my health-binge, because I can say quite frankly that this will be one of my favourite ever recipes. It tastes like it’s bad for me. And I like that in a healthy dinner. The peanut butter adds extra protein (I sense the next few days will be protein-tastic), and to finish it off I dusted it in gram flour to keep it gluten free (and more protein), and fried it in coconut oil. I know these are both new additions to the pantry but gram flour will feature heavily over the next few weeks as a lot of readers have asked for gluten free recipes, so bear with me. If you aren’t gluten free then feel free to use ordinary flour. And coconut oil has been a fancy health fad for so long now that it’s finally available at affordable prices. I found mine in the world foods aisle, it’s KTC, and was just over £2 for a large jar. I use less of it than I would sunflower oil, as I spoon it out of the jar rather than slosh it in, and think although it won’t go as far as a 4l bottle of sunflower oil at the same price, it’s still not the £17 it once was in Holland & Barrett. If you don’t think it’s worth it, hey, don’t buy it. I’m just doing my thing, and you do yours too.

Makes 4 generous adult burgers or 6 kiddy ones or a gazillion canape-sized ones at 22p each
(As ever prices are costed at Sainsburys because that’s where I do my shopping and no I’m not doing any more ad campaigns with them, they’re just local and I like the staff):

400g can of Basics kidney beans (240g drained weight), 30p
50g leek, finely sliced, 10p (£2/kg loose)

50g onion, finely sliced, 3p (Basics 80p/1.5kg)

2 tbsp coconut oil, 13p (KTC £2.25/500ml)

pinch of salt, <1p (Basics table salt 25p/750g)

½ tsp paprika (or cumin would be nice instead), 2p (£1/42g)

50g peanut butter, 27p (£1.80/340g)

1 tbsp gram flour, 1p (KTC superfine gram flour £1.30/kg)

First drain your kidney beans and give them a thorough rinse with cold water, and tip into a shallow frying pan.

Peel and finely slice your onion (50g is about half a small onion, a quarter of a massive one) and add to the pan. Ditto the leek, I chopped from the bottom of mine as I just want the white bits for this recipe, the green bits will be used somewhere else in the week. Add your salt and oil, paprika and peanut butter, and cook all together on a low heat to saute (soften) the vegetables and the kidney beans. Stir well to disturb your ingredients and stop them from sticking to the pan. Cook low and slow for around 10 minutes until everything is combined and the veg has softened, and the beans start to split. Mash them to a pulp, mixing with the other ingredients – it doesn’t matter if some of the beans are left whole, in fact it gives them a quite pleasant knobbly texture.
Tip the mixture into a bowl and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool and set – an hour or more is better, overnight even more so, but if you’re in a rush 30 minutes will do the job. This step is important – as the mixture firms up and thus the burgers don’t fall to a mush in the pan when you cook them. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cooked the original bean burgers on film and rushed this step and then had to re-shoot the whole thing as I’ve ended up with Scrambled Bean Mush instead of burgers!
When the mixture has firmed up, remove it from the fridge and heat a little oil in the pan. Shape the burger mixture into four or six balls with a little gram flour to stop them sticking to the pan, and flatten gently to make your burger shapes. The thinner they are, the better they cook through, although as all of the ingredients are already cooked, it’s a taste thing rather than a health and safety one. Cook for a few minutes on one side on a high heat to seal and crisp, then carefully turn them over and repeat for the other side. Turn once more, turn the heat down to a low-medium, and cook for a few more minutes to warm right through. And serve – I had mine straight from the pan in a fit of gluttony, but they would be delicious with some kind of grain and some greens. I just didn’t get that far tonight!

Jack Monroe.



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  1. Coconut oil also works as an excellent substitute for butter in baking: Ruby Tandoh in the Guardian once suggested using it in a coconut, ricotta, and lime cake; I didn’t want to use ricotta and there didn’t seem to be enough coconut/lime in the cake for my liking, so I used another coconut/lime drizzle cake and replaced the butter with 80% coconut butter (i.e. 80g coconut rather than 100g butter), and made the cake as usual (coconut, obviously, is solid at room temperature, so can be creamed with sugar like butter). It made a very nice, moist, light cake; I think it would work very well in a chocolate cake as well, but I’ve yet to experiment with that. I don’t know how economic it is (coconut being more expensive weight for weight, but less being required than butter/margarine), but it tastes nice.

  2. ohh, looks good. I think I’ll be trying this, though if my peanut free son is going to be eating them too I’ll substitute the peanut butter with no-where near as cheap pumpkin seed butter from the wholefood shop (between the pair of us we are a nut free zone, hey ho).

    • Can he have sunflower seeds? They’re often cheap if you buy them in bulk (£1.63 for 500g at my local wholefood shop) and can be made into a butter which works out cheaper than Sunpat if you have a food processor.

      I’m pleased to see Jack’s PB comparison work though, I’ve either been waiting for Meridian to go on sale or turning a blind eye and buying the Basics range and feeling a bit guilty.

  3. I don’t like to have Palm oil either, for all kinds of reasons. I looked on all the jars in my local supermarket, and every single one had Palm oil in. BUT, I found an ethnic shop in Bexhill (where my daughter lives), run by an African chap, and they have huge jars of peanut butter with just 2 ingredients. Peanuts, and oil. Not even any salt. £2.85 for a kilo. Result. And it’s super delicious

      • It’s called Africa’s Finest. I’ve texted my DD to ask her what the shop is called, or what road it’s in

      • I found some in Leicester, thanks! £2.15 for 500g, which certainly beats the Sunpat price, even if it doesn’t compete with the Basics ones. Cheers! 🙂

    • What’s the peanut butter called? Also what’s the shop called? Sounds like my kind of place!

      • Aha! I’ve found the extremely faintly printed receipt! The shop is called Spice Buddha, 01424 225414, 6 Sackville Road
        Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, TN39 3JA
        The chap who runs it has a full time job and is only open 6-8pm and all day weekends and bank holidays

  4. If you’re going gf, potato flakes make a good binder in place of bread crumbs, etc. I’m a celiac, and I use them all the time.

  5. I use the KTC Coconut Oil as an overnight hair treatment as it’s now finally affordable. 🙂

  6. I love that you too make a virtue out of using up tired old veg from the bottom of the fridge. Your tips for the feeding of guinea pigs are useful too. Maybe there’s an idea for your next book?!

  7. Thanks for this. I am on a low fodmap diet but can tinker with your receipes. However as it is just me and I can only eat small amounts of some of these foods eg kidney beans it would really help me and perhaps some of your other readers if you tell us if the receipe will freeze. Have both books – love them.

  8. I’m sure these are absolutely delicious, they look great in the photo. I just have a blind spot about peanut butter though, dunno what it is, I just avoid it. I love peanuts (all nuts in fact) and I don’t really have a problem with the taste of peanut butter, it’s just one of those weird things. I guess I could try using some chopped peanuts in it, though I suspect they wouldn’t hold together nearly so well in the pan. Perhaps I’ll just stick with the 9p burger! (inflation allowing) 🙂

    Peanut butter weirdness aside, I’m a huge fan of all you do Jack, keep up the good work!!


  9. Ha…Im a label reading freak too Jack but I struggle to read the small print on labels anymore …poor old girl!…. now I shop online and its much easier to check the ingredients…..Ive been using Sainsburys Organic Peanut Butter(50p/100g) …it does contain Palm Oil but organic so I thought that was ok presuming no oranatangs /forests would be under threat but who knows?……. the SunPat has E numbers in it as a stabiliser(?) which I didn’t like the sound of either!…..that got me thinking though as the mega expensive almond butter I sometimes buy is just almonds and seasalt…so Im sure you could just use peanuts and blitz in a processor and add a little olive or coconut oil if you need to…so I will be experimenting with that soon!

  10. I haven’t bought peanut butter for a while now…. it’s so easy to make your own! I buy a kilo bag of shelled and peeled peanuts from the Asian store for £2.99, give them a quick roast to get a bit of colour on them (be careful – they burn easily!), then just process process process them in my machine, until they turn to peanut butter! You might have to add a tablespoon or so of oil, and you have to keep scraping down the sides of the processor, but that is it! If you take some of the nuts out just they are chopped (before they turn smooth), you can add them back in at the end for crunchy butter. You can add salt to taste at this stage, or just sprinkle a bit when you spread it… Pack into jars and store in the fridge – although when using a jar, I leave it at room temperature as it is easier to spread. It tastes better than store bought 🙂

  11. I would love to hear thoughts on using psyillium husk as a binder – everything I add it to ends up either like jelly (shepherds pie, ,added to put some more fibre in) or really solid and gloopy – meatballs. it’s meant to be possible to use it as an egg replacer, but am not sure about this jelly texture!

  12. I can’t wait to try these!

    “It tastes like it’s bad for me. And I like that in a healthy dinner. ”

    My philosophy exactly, you can’t bet a good healthy dinner that tastes like you shouldn’t really be indulging in it!

  13. I am not sure how it works out cost wise (one would think it’d be cheaper as it’s a raw ingredient rather than a packaged one, but there are economies of mass production to consider) but it is possible to just get peanuts and blitz them in a food processor.

    I haven’t tried it yet — I am told the noise is horrendous but if you can get past that, you’re good to go. You can add salt/sugar etc. to taste, but don’t have to. Then you know exactly what is going in there. I’m not even sure without Googling it what the palm oil is for. Either making the butter more spreadable, or maybe a bit shiny? But it’s not essential (as is proved by being able to buy commercial stuff without it in).

  14. I totally did this today.
    I did it as balls and was cooking to little ones at a time (to see how it came out) I added and egg and crushed up crackers to help it bind but they were amazing. I now have a big freezer bag full of them. I did them for my son as he doesn’t like meat (he won’t say he’s veggie yet) so this is an amazing choice to give him.
    Oh and I baked them in the over for 15 minutes (ish) at 180°c

  15. I made them today and love them. Would they still work without leek, or with a substitute?

  16. Good, I can make them again soon then as I always have loads of onions. One small boy liked them and the other didn’t. Oh well, more for me! I assume spring onions would be ok too.

  17. Can’t wait to try this out. However as I would be making just for me and I don’t intend to make one or two at a time, can this be frozen? If so, at what stage would you freeze the burger mix?

    Thank you


    • I ‘open freeze’ them – so if you have room lay them uncooked on a baking tray in burger patties for a night to freeze through, then they can be stored in a freezer bag without sticking together 🙂

  18. Hi. Have been thinking of trying to make some kind of “bean burger”, so came to check out your posts (of course).

    Wondering if there is a reason not to “smash” them (beans) straight off in a Electric Blender, or even a Hand Crank Meat Grinder? The electric blender, I thought, might make the beans to smooth and mushy (?), but I thought a Hand Crank Meat Grinder might give it all a nice texture?

    What I had in mind, was to throw all ingredients into the electric blender/hand crank.

    What do you think?

    • hi i use a hand blend and just give it a quick go. so that you still have lumps here and there. my son i have to blend all his food and he loves them.

  19. Hi Jack

    Thanks so much for all the lovely gram flour/vegan/gluten free recipes 👍🏻 I’m not vegan/veggie/gluten intolerant but do want to try eating healthier and I’m really loving these recipes 🙂

    I had the kidney bean & peanut butter burgers on Tuesday for my tea and the carrot, cumin & kidney bean burgers last night (I ate 2 😱) and they were just lovely.

    My mum can’t believe I’m eating kidney beans voluntarily 😄

    I just popped in to sainsburys and the Sunpat was £1.80 and the jar was quite small so my face did something like this 😈 and I thought I’ll hold off and see how much it is in Asda and Tesco before committing (was previously using the ridiculously expensive organic one but upon checking that also has palm oil in it!). Anyway I popped into Poindland on my way back from sainsburys and what did I tnearly trip over? A massive dump bin full of Sunpat crunchy and smooth for £1! So I bought two, one for work and one to take home 🙂 SCORE! Nom nom 👊🏻

  20. Reblogged this on trumbleymadlydeeply and commented:
    Friday Food – Peanut Butter Passion – Well as I say in The Trailer one of my blogging missions is to scour the internet for peanut butter recipes. As I’ve mentioned before, Jack Monroe is a hero of mine so it seems appropriate to repost one of her recipes as my first Friday Food post.

  21. made these for my partner and I as we are both massive vegan burger lovers. really tasty! love the taste of the peanut butter in them and it was a great way to use up a brand that I wasn’t that fond of on toast. I might try freezing the mixture into some metal egg-rings and try cooking them from frozen in an attempt to be able to cook them really flat (like store-bought burgers).

    thanks for the recipe!

  22. Hello, I love these, I wanted to know if they can be frozen or how long can they be in the fridge, as i’m the only one in my house that eats meat free meals. Thanks

  23. Looks yummy, anything with peanut butter in goes down well (ever tried a palaver?), and I love your chilling tip to get them to stick together!

  24. Why do you think guinea pigs should eat salad leaves you judge as unfit for consumption for yourself? That is a recipe for illness and malnutrition. Please consider the animal’s welfare – in the way that you did your own. I used to have a friend who put all the old and rancid food in a bowl for the dog and what was worse store it in the fridge and keep topping it up. Why do you think an animal’s stomach can by-pass food poisoning? At the very least a guinea pig requires vitamins and minerals from its food – which should be found in the food you give it. Rotten or decaying leaves will not provide these very basic requirements and will not have benefited your guinea pig any more than the human members of your family.

  25. Just FYI, I am pretty sure leeks are not good for Guinea pigs – same with onions and crocuses.

  26. Soon I will figure out how to convert your recipes into American measurements (there should be an app!) But this one I sort of get since my can of black beans has 439g in parentheses. I’ll just do the other ingredients proportion-wise. Thank you for your inventive recipes!

  27. Hiya! Just discovered your page, it’s fantastic! Just wondering, do these burgers cook straight from frozen or do you have to leave them to defrost? Thanks! : )

  28. hey Jack – this is a brilliant recipe – my 7-year old loved it! I only found it whilst looking for something to do with leftover kidney beans and what a gem of a recipe this is!!! i’m will now trawl your recipe, obsessively. cheers, Jack

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