Black Bean Burgers on Pretzel Buns


It’s funny how much you can hide by zooming in on your camera’s subject. The small kitchen bursting at the seams with dirty dishes, the 2-year-old bouncing on the dining room chair chanting “Yummy, yummy! Mommy can I touch? Can I eat it? Mommy?! Mommmyyy!!”, the playful smirk on your husband’s face as he tries to humor yet another photography session slowing down his dinner, the melted popsicle drippings to the left of the table, and the photographer’s frizzy, showerless hair all escape the lens when focussed in on that one thing that’s caught her eye.

And perhaps you’re like me, you get lost in the details and forget that there’s more going on than you can see in someone’s photo. Perhaps you try and fill in their undocumented story left outside the camera’s scope, and you become discouraged, envious, inferior because all you see is perfection. For a while I couldn’t ever leave a pinterest browsing session without feeling a strange melancholy because of all I wasn’t doing, cooking, cleaning, being. 


But then God started broadening my scope, people started opening up their hearts about real life, and I began to admire beauty for what it is – even if it wasn’t mine.

Getting a glimpse of God’s big picture gave me freedom to dive back down into the ordinary, wonderful details of life and revel in them instead of being intimidated by them.

So don’t be fooled. My kitchen and I battled it out to produce this cuisine, and while I enjoyed the end result, the kitchen had the last laugh as I peeked at the disaster on my way to bed. It’s because of this “mess thing” that happens after certain cooking endeavors that we don’t eat like this very often. Cooking on Easy Street has become my goal, and will be the subject of a new blog series starting next month!

But for now we’re going to enjoy homemade, yeasty, salty, mess-making, taste-bud-approving, well-worth-the-mess pretzel buns. I hope you enjoy!



Salted Pretzel Rolls

{serves 8}



1 ½ cup warm water, {110°F}

1 package active dry yeast, {not instant rise yeast}

2 teaspoons sugar

4-½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, {or bread flour} 

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cups baking soda

1 whole egg, lightly beaten

Pretzel Salt, for sprinkling



Yeast. In a bowl or stand mixer, add the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and let rest 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Mix. Add the flour, salt, and melted butter and mix until combined well. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured clean surface.

Shape. Line 1 large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the dough into 8 pieces {4 1/2 – 5 ounces each}. To shape the dough take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.

Rest. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes until they rise & double.

Preheat. Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven rack in the middle position. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts {8 cups} of water to a low boil. Remove from heat, slowly add the baking soda, place back on heat, and lower to a simmer.

Poach. Place 2-3 of the rolls at a time into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds and then carefully turn the roll over and poach for another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Bake. Using a pastry brush, brush each roll with the beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely & then sprinkle each roll with a little pretzel salt. Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” shape in the top of each roll. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot!

{source: My Life as a Mrs.}


Perhaps you’ve got grilling on the menu this weekend. Give these a shot! All it takes is a little pre-meditated preparation. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, we enjoyed these black bean burgers as well.


Black Bean Burgers 

{serves 8-10}



6 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 red bell peppers, diced 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 large shallot, diced small 

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 can black beans, drained {or 1/2 cup dried beans pre-soaked and cooked}

3 cups cooked quinoa, a tri-color blend is nice

1 egg, beaten

2 cups bread crumbs

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt & pepper, to taste 



Saute. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add red peppers and saute until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and shallot and continue to saute until soft. remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and combine with black beans and cilantro; add to food processor and pulse until chunky. Blend mixture with quinoa, salt and pepper. Taste; adjust seasoning if needed. Add a beaten egg and mix well.

Form and Cook. Divide into 7 or 8 patties and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. {Mix in some of the bread crumbs if too soft to form patties.} Season bread crumbs with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Dredge patties in bread crumbs. Fry in remaining olive oil until browned, about 3 minutes each side.

{source: adapted from a Trader Joe’s quinoa serving suggestion}

These burgers were delicious! And very moist. We topped them with tomatoes, lettuce, and provolone cheese – because that’s what we had in the house. In my dream world they were topped with melted Monterrey jack cheese, avocados sprinkled in sea salt, and a fresh salsa blend. But dreams don’t always come true. Live mine for me? 😉


And if you’re trying to be really healthy, you’ll pair your meal with some Kettle sea salt and cracked pepper potato chips, and a lot of them! Am I right?! Perhaps the healthy part was also from my dream . . .


Happy weekending!



  1. Great recipes and photos. Making me hungry!!

    1. Bernice! Thank you SO much for stopping by! And for your sweet comment . . . does my wanna be photographer heart’s good. Let me know if you try ’em!

  2. BEAUTIFUL photographs…you GO girl! I will have to try the black bean burgers….I am a sucker for all things vegetarian. Yet I ate a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fila yesterday. Explain that.

    1. You will NOT be disappointed with them then! I mean, if you like black beans and quinoa, it’s kinda a win-win. And cooking the qunioa in veggie broth = awesome boost of flavor. And I too am loving the vegetarian side of things more and more, but the meat cravings come at me HARD sometimes, and I pretend I’m a viking for a day. Hearing you say that, and knowing you that mean it, makes me brave enough to try this photography thing out for a while. It really does. Thank you!

  3. aleandtere · · Reply

    WHAT?! these look amazing! I’ve never had a black bean burger but I’m sure they’re amazing. thanks for sharing this recipe it looks kid friendly too!!!

    1. We really enjoyed them! Our daughter even ate some too. She’s pretty picky but we count it a win since she didn’t spit it out 😉 Hope you love ’em!

  4. Oh my goodness!! I LOVE anything pretzel…I can’t wait to make these. I just can’t stand it!!

    Thank you for the recipe – Have a great day!!

    Love, Laurie.

    1. I know right?! I mean, I’ve got to think of other ways to introduce a little more pretzel into my life 😉 Let me know how they turn out!

  5. Oooh, I’ve been obsessed with pretzel buns! This looks awesome!!


    1. Oh good! Hope you l-o-v-e them! Thanks for stopping 😀

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