If you guys have been with me here for more that 10 seconds, you know that I am a huge, huge, huge sports fan. And the #1 sports love-of-my-life is college basketball. I went to my first college basketball game at five months old, and man, did that obsession ever stick.
If you are a basketball fan, you know that today starts the NCAA tournament (aka: March Madness, The Big Dance, the most nerve-racking three weeks of the year). In this area of the country, pretty much everything revolves around the tournament. Basketball is religion in these parts. And March is our holiest of months.
My team doesn’t play until Friday afternoon, but the first few games of the tournament are today, and I can promise you, I’ll be tuning in. In fact, I pretty much rearranged my schedule this week to make sure I was inside, near a TV during game time.
March Madness isn’t necessarily about your specific team (although, of course, I’d love to see my Hoosiers win a sixth national championship). It’s about the love of the game. Even the years we didn’t make the tournament, I watched as many games as I could. I love March Madness. All of it. Every second of it. Magic happens during the tournament, my friends. Magic.
Of course, I had to pay homage to my favorite time of year with a perfect game time black bean sliders. I absolutely love sliders. And I think they are a perfect option for a game day party. Sure, there is something really nice about a big, juicy burger, but I love the control you have with sliders. Since they are so small, portable and easy-to-eat, you can really craft a perfect, flavorful bite. Plus, everything tastes better when it’s mini, right?
The black bean patties are an incredible, flavorful base for a burger, but the Sriracha mayo is the real superstar of this sandwich. If you’ve never had Sriracha, it’s a type of hot sauce that’s I personally think is pretty special. Honestly, I’m not a big spicy food fan. I like a little touch of spice, but I’m definitely not one of those folks who carries hot sauce in her purse. The great thing about Sriracha is that it has the spice, but it also has a lot of really intense, interesting flavor under the spice. I love Sriracha!
You can pick up Sriracha in the international foods sections of most major grocery stores. You won’t be sorry.
I know these burgers are technically veggie burgers, but I promise, carnivores and veg-heads alike will love them. I’ve been perfecting my black bean burger recipe for years, and the result is a flavorful patty that is almost the texture of a beef burger—no mushiness here! These burgers freeze beautifully and are a great option for a speedy lunch. I like to make up a double-sized batch of them, freeze them flat, and then stash them in big zip-top bags for easy eating.
Oh, and did I mention that even in mini form, these guys pack a serious protein punch? Each slider clocks in at 11 grams of protein! That’ll help you grow up big and strong, and maybe even help you land that crazy 360° dunk you’ve been working on.
Happy March Madness, friends! May your team of choice make it as far as possible in the dance. That is, until they play Indiana, and then may they cower in sheer terror at our overwhelming amount of talent. Nothing personal.
Black Bean Sliders with Sriracha Mayo
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12 sliders
For the burgers
- Cooking spray
- 1-15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium green pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 12 lettuce leaves
- 12 red onion slices
- 12 whole wheat slider buns
For the sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- Salt and pepper, to tasted
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- In the basin of a food processor, pulse together the black beans, green pepper, onion, garlic cloves, egg, chili powder, salt, pepper and Sriracha sauce until well-mixed. The mixture will be pretty liquid-y.
- Transfer the black bean mixture into a medium mixing bowl, and stir in the breadcrumbs. Form mixture into 12 slider-sized patties and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking. Or until the burgers have begun to dry out and turn golden brown.
- While the burgers are in the oven, mix together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- To assemble sliders, place a leaf of lettuce, one slider patty, some red onion rings and a dollop of the sauce onto each slider bun.
Serving size: 1 slider. Servings per recipe: 12.