Are Black Bean Burgers Healthy?

Are Black Bean Burgers Healthy?
5/5 - (1 vote)

When it comes to the world of plant-based alternatives, discussions about health often arise. One such debate centers around “fake meat” products. But, let’s be precise in our inquiries. Today, we’re focusing on black bean burgers—are they healthy?


It seems like everyone today wants to debate whether “fake meat” is healthy. But the actual truth is that some of it is, and some of it isn’t. We need to be more precise with our questions. So today we’re looking closer at black bean burgers. Are they healthy?

Black bean burgers are lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol than beef burgers, while being higher in fiber. However, they also have less protein and more sodium in some cases. The healthiest black bean burgers would be homemade, using a recipe without processed oil or flour.

In this article, we will analyze the nutrition of black bean burgers to help you determine if they align with your specific health goals. We will explore their ingredients, protein content, carbohydrate levels, fiber, sodium, suitability for weight loss, processing level, and vegan status.

What Are Black Bean Burgers Made Of?

Let’s start by looking at what actually goes into black bean burgers (besides just black beans). Obviously, this can vary a lot between frozen, homemade, and restaurant black bean burgers.

For simplicity, I’ve collected the ingredients for three popular frozen black bean burgers here. I’ll analyze them and share my comments below the table:

Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

  • Ingredients: Water, Cooked Black Beans, Black Beans, Water, Cooked Brown Rice, Canola Oil, Black Bean Powder, Onions, Corn, Textured Soy Protein Concentrate, Tomato Paste, Bell Peppers, 2% or less of: Potato Starch, Sugar, Methylcellulose, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Spices, Yeast Extract, Chipotle Chili Powder, Citric Acid, Tomato Powder, Natural Flavors, Lactic Acid, Molasses.

MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers

  • Ingredients: Water, Cooked Black Beans (Black Beans, Water), Cooked Brown Rice (Water, Brown Rice), Onions, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola And/Or Sunflower Oil), Corn, Soy Flour, Tomatoes, Onion Powder, Wheat Gluten, Egg Whites, Bulgur Wheat, Green Chiles, Calcium Caseinate (Milk), Cornstarch. Contains 2% or less of Spices, Tomato Powder, Tomato Juice, Salt, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavor, Soy Sauce Powder (Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Jalapeno Peppers, Gum Arabic, Cooked Onion And Carrot Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum.

Don Lee Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers (Costco)

  • Ingredients: Organic Black Beans Cooked in Water, Organic Vegetables (Organic Sweet Corn, Organic Onions, Organic Tomatoes In Juice), Organic Brown Rice Cooked In Water, Organic Brown Rice Flour, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Cornstarch, 2% or less of: Organic Chili and Chipotle Peppers, Organic Spices, Organic Red Bell Pepper Powder, Organic Garlic, Organic Sugar, Sea Salt.

Here’s what we notice about these ingredients:

  • The main ingredient in black bean burgers is—no surprise—black beans. Black beans are high in fiber, plant protein, and powerful antioxidants.
  • Black bean burgers usually contain other vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, and onions, which are low in calories and high in nutrients.
  • Black bean burgers often have added plant protein, like textured soy protein concentrate or pea protein, which can be viewed as either a positive or a negative depending on your protein goals.
  • Black bean burgers often contain processed vegetable oil, such as canola or soybean oil, which adds empty calories and is not very healthy.
  • Some black bean burgers contain processed carbohydrates like sugar, cornstarch, potato starch, and brown rice flour, which are high on the glycemic index and add empty calories.

In summary, black bean burgers contain a mix of whole foods like beans and veggies, but they also often have added processed ingredients, making homemade versions a healthier choice.

Are Black Bean Burgers High in Protein?

Black bean burgers are typically lower in protein than beef burgers and some other plant-based burgers. They generally have 5g to 12g of protein per patty. The primary reason for their lower protein content is the presence of complex carbohydrates from beans, vegetables, and grains.

For comparison, here’s a breakdown of the protein content in black bean burgers and other burger options:

BurgerProtein Per BurgerProtein Per 100 Calories
Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger5g3.3g
Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger9g8.2g
Don Lee Farms Black Bean Burger11g4.4g
Beyond Burger20g8.7g
Boca Vegan Burger13g18.6g
Angus Bubba Burger26g6.0g

Black bean burgers are closer in protein content to garden veggie burgers, as they are made with vegetables, resulting in more complex carbohydrates and less protein compared to soy or pea protein-based burgers. The protein per 100 calories is a valuable metric to consider for efficient protein intake.

Are Black Bean Burgers High in Carbs?

Black bean burgers are relatively high in carbohydrates compared to most other burger options. The carbohydrate content in black bean burgers typically ranges from 13g to 36g per patty. These carbs primarily come from beans, vegetables, and grains, making them unsuitable for a keto diet.

To provide a clearer picture, here’s a breakdown of carbohydrate content in various burger options:

BurgerTotal Carbs (Per Burger)Sugar
Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger18g3g
Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger13g1g
Don Lee Farms Black Bean Burger36g3g
Beyond Burger7g0g
Boca Vegan Burger6g0g
Angus Bubba Burger0g0g

Black bean burgers fall into the category of burgers with the highest carbohydrate content, primarily due to their natural bean and vegetable components.

Are Black Bean Burgers High in Fiber?

Black bean burgers typically contain around 4 to 5 grams of fiber per patty, making them a better source of fiber compared to most plant-based and meat-based burgers. Beef burgers, for example, contain no fiber.

Fiber content in black bean burgers is a valuable nutritional aspect. Adding whole wheat buns and vegetable toppings can further increase the overall fiber intake of a burger meal.

Are Black Bean Burgers High in Sodium?

Black bean burgers contain around 300mg to 500mg of sodium per patty on average, which is in line with the average sodium content of most burgers, whether plant-based or meat-based. For context, the average fast food hamburger patty contains approximately 378mg of sodium.

Here’s a breakdown of sodium content in various black bean burger brands:

BurgerSodium (Per Burger)
Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger380mg
Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger320mg
Don Lee Farms Black Bean Burger450mg
Beyond Burger390mg
Boca Vegan Burger450mg
Angus Bubba Burger90mg

In terms of sodium content, black bean burgers are comparable to other burger options. It’s worth noting that the recommended daily limit for sodium intake is typically cited as 2,300mg, but the American Heart Association is “moving toward an ideal limit” of 1,500 mg per day.

Are Black Bean Burgers Good for Weight Loss?

Black bean burgers can be a favorable choice for weight loss due to their lower calorie content compared to beef burgers. While a typical meat burger contains around 375 calories for a 4-ounce patty, black bean burgers generally have 250 calories or less per patty. Some even fall in the 100 to 150 calorie range.

While black bean burgers may not be as filling as meat burgers, choosing lower-calorie options, especially those rich in fiber like black bean burgers, can support weight loss efforts.

Are Black Bean Burgers Processed?

Black bean burgers are considered moderately processed when purchased from a supermarket or restaurant. They contain whole foods like beans and vegetables but also include added processed ingredients such as vegetable oil, salt, and processed starch.

On the spectrum of food processing, black bean burgers fall somewhere in the middle. When prepared at home, they can be made with less processing, especially if the recipe excludes oil and flour. Therefore, homemade black bean burgers tend to be less processed than their store-bought counterparts.

Are Black Bean Burgers Vegan?

Most black bean burgers are vegan, including popular brands like Gardein, Amy’s, Dr. Praeger’s, and Don Lee Farms (Costco). However, it’s essential to check the ingredients as some black bean burgers may contain egg or milk ingredients, making them non-vegan.

In summary, while black bean burgers can be a healthy choice due to their lower calorie and saturated fat content, higher fiber, and overall nutritional value, it’s important to consider your specific dietary goals and preferences. Homemade black bean burgers, with carefully chosen ingredients, tend to be the healthiest option. Moreover, they are a suitable choice for individuals following a vegan lifestyle.

For more information on plant-based products and a plant-based lifestyle, visit PlantBasedPty.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *