Like The Newsman Himself, Anderson Cooper’s Favorite Veggie Burger Packs A Bite

When is Anderson Cooper not in the headlines? As primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, the accomplished journalist, author, and entertainer is constantly serving up biting commentary on contemporary events.

Take, for example, the recent debacle at Arizona State University. If you’ve had your television set to CBS since the start of awards season, allow us to get you up to speed. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, ASU’s chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity held a “MLK Blackout” party to commemorate the acclaimed African American leader. The festivities included drinking from watermelon cups while donning basketball jerseys.

As you can well imagine, Cooper had plenty to say about this unseemly display: “Now I know you don’t want to believe that something so racist and ignorant could actually happen in 2014. Frankly, it would be easier to pretend someone got the story wrong. After all, there’s no proof that this happened, right? There is. In fact they posted pictures of the party on Instagram with hash tags like ‘happy MLK day, homies’ and ‘blackout for MLK!’ To me it is terrifying, terrifying that these people made it into college without learning anything about what is appropriate human behavior and terrifying they’ve got such an astounding lack of awareness.” Cooper’s words are admittedly strong, but apt, given the circumstances.

That said, MLK wouldn’t want us dwelling on the ignorance of others, so let’s liven up the mood a bit, shall we? Let’s discuss another (lighter) subject on which we all couldn’t agree more: burgers. As you may have heard, Anderson Cooper has a thing for fast food. However, his most frequent haunt is none other than the New York City-born chain Bareburger, an organic eatery known for its wide selection of burger meats, eco-friendly mantra, and sinfully indulgent milkshakes. If you live within the tri-state area, the family-friendly restaurants are definitely worth a try.

Vegetarians, you’ll be happy to hear that the chain’s black bean burger is one of its most popular menu items. Diners, including Cooper, often opt for the veggie burger over exotic meats like bison, elk, and ostrich. No location near you? Don’t fret. Recreate Cooper’s favorite meat-free burgers at home using the recipe below. For the authentic Bareburger experience, cook the patties in grape seed oil. It’s rich with healthy fats, and helps bring out the favors of cumin, peppers, garlic, and chili that make this nutritious burger even more delicious than fast-food fare.

Black Bean Veggie Burger
Makes 6

1 bag (16 oz.) dried black beans
8 oz. vegan cheddar cheese, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 medium Spanish onion, diced finely
½ cup corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, diced finely
1 green bell pepper, diced finely
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup rice flour
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. sea salt
Grape seed oil
6 multigrain buns, toasted
1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 small tomato, sliced thinly
6 slices soy cheese (or regular cheese)

1. In a large bowl, soak beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse.

2. In a large pot, place beans in just enough water to cover 1-inch above the surface of the beans. Boil over high heat until tender. Cool beans and chop roughly.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine next 14 ingredients (vegan cheese through sea salt), mixing until all ingredients are evenly distributed. (You can also use a food processor.) Form mixture into 6 patties.

4. In a large skillet coated with grape seed oil, fry the patties over medium-high heat until crisp on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

5. Serve burgers on multigrain buns topped with lettuce, onions, tomato and cheese, if desired.