Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spicy Thai Mung Bean Burgers

What would be nice to warm up with on a chilly winter day? Spicy, hot peppers, ginger, and garlic! I created this vegetarian burger recipe to test for nightshades during Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet, though everyone can enjoy this flavor-packed recipe! When I first made them, Tom said "Wow Al, these are amazing!" I enticed him with a taste while he was working in the home office. Not soon after, he was in the kitchen scrambling around for more.

They are fantastic if placed into a "natural burger bun" such as Napa cabbage leaves or romaine lettuce leaves. Combined with sliced avocado, sprouts, and my spicy coconut cream, these burgers are a crowd pleaser. Though I have to admit my girls won't eat them. My twin toddler boys who will eat just about anything I put in front of them like these to a certain extent but they are not crazy about them. This is one of the few recipes I have posted on this site that is not super kid-friendly. I guess it is probably my liberal use of spicy ingredients!

Above Photo: Cooked Mung beans draining in a colander.

Our Elimination Diet Book states to test nightshades as a group. You can do this or choose to test each individually waiting 3 days in between each food. Tom usually varies the Elimination Diet for each person based on their case history. For those with various health conditions, it is better to test each food individually to be able to accurately identify the food that is causing problems. However, if you feel healthy already and would like to do the diet to give yourself more insight into the food you consume and its relation to your well-being, then the general plan in our book will be just fine.

Spicy Thai Mung Bean Burgers

If you are following our Elimination Diet then you may already have a container of cooked mung beans in your fridge. If not, refer to the bean cooking guide on page 180 of The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Mung beans take about 45 to 60 minutes to cook on the stovetop and about 10 minutes to cook in the pressure-cooker. Make sure you drain them very well before using in this recipe. The burgers won't work if there is too much liquid added. When cooking your quinoa cook 1 cup with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of water so it is on the drier side. This will help the burgers hold together. And lastly, be sure all of your ingredients are either cool or at room temp before making this recipe.

Yield: 6 burgers

small handful fresh cilantro
4 green onions, ends trimmed
2 hot peppers (1 cherry bomb, 1 jalapeno), seeded
3 cloves garlic
1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cooked mung beans, drained well
2 cups cooked quinoa

Burger Toppings:
sliced avocado
Spicy Pepper Coconut Cream (recipe to come soon)

Using a food processor fitted with the "s" blade process all ingredients except mung beans and quinoa until finely minced. Add mung beans and quinoa and process again until mixture comes together and forms a ball.

With slightly oiled hands, shape into six patties. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil. Cook patties for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Serve each burger inside two napa cabbage leaves with your favorite toppings. Source:

If you are looking for a healthy Elimination Diet, Phase 2-friendly dessert recipe then check out this awesome Apple Pie created by Iris of the Daily Diet Tribe!

Next Tuesday, the 16th, Tom will be giving a very informative Vitamin D talk at our local food co-op. Class info below:

Vitamin D
with Tom Malterre, MS, CN
Tuesday, February 16, 6-8 pm
Cordata Co-op /register at Co-op
$5 members,$6 non-members

More Yummy and Healthy Main Dish Recipes:
(not all Elimination Diet recipes)

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Okay, I"m going to be the first to comment, these look amazing! Everytime you post you make my mouth water. Mung beans are on the top of my list of favorite beans ever, and these burgers look like an incredible way to use them. I never think to make bean burgers, it doesn't happen very often in my kitchen for some reason. I really should more often. Starting with these. Can I come over for dinner please? :)

  2. Aww thanks for mentioning my apple pie, Ali!

    I had never had mung beans before this, and I have come to absolutely love them!

  3. These look so good! Would I have to start with whole mung beans? I have a bag full of split mung beans in my pantry.

  4. Hi Ali - first of all your blog is amazing and your cookbook is too! Recently found you and it's been fun. Question: are aduki, mung and other beans less prone to sensitivities than other beans/legumes (e.g. chickpeas, kidneys) and that is why you have them in many recipes and elim diet recipes? i came up w/ kidneys and lentils so wondering if these other beans might be okay to try thanks

  5. Wow, they look impressive and delicious! I might have to tone down the spices to be like the kids though. ;-) I would like to freeze some and have on hand for a quick meal or lunch!


  6. Wonderful looking. Now I've got to find some mung beans! I love the flavor combination in these!

  7. Thanks for the comments, as far as using whole or split mung beans, I honestly don't know. My bet is that the split beans would absorb more water and could make the burgers too mushy? We use adzuki and mung beans in in the elimination diet because they are the least allergenic. Surprisingly, pinto and kidney beans can cause problems in some people. Hope this helps! :)

  8. Wow, these look fabulous! I have had a jar of mung beans sitting in my pantry for too long waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. I think I know what to make now!
    I just found your site not too long ago and am loving it! Your style of cooking/baking is exactly what I aspire to, so thank you!

  9. I am quite excited about these! I am in the middle of trying it with adzuki beans, since I was reading mung and thinking adzuki (I cooked the adzuki before I realized my mistake!).
    I wonder if you have posted the spicy red pepper coconut cream yet? I am really looking forward to it...Jena

  10. Sounds tasty. Lime zest is a great addition. I think I would be tempted to add some Thai red curry paste, too, for even more flavour.

  11. Wow Ali, you have some fantastic looking recipes here, thanks for the mung bean recipe. I love mung beans and am looking for new ways to enjoy them. I usually just cook them w/ a crushed clove of garlic and add butter and salt. Sometimes I skip the garlic and eat them for breakfast.

  12. WOW! These are SO, SO, SO good!!! One of my new favorites, if not my favorite from Ali and Tom! Thanks guys! Keep up the awesome work!

  13. Just made these and they turned out mushy but good! They did thicken though as they cooled. I made my own coconut cream with the thick part of canned coconut milk, curry powder, and lime juice. Turned out well.

  14. I made these for dinner. They are super easy and VERY tasty! Thanks for the recipe ;)

  15. I have been thinking about these for a few weeks and looking forward to making them. They look so yummy. I am wondering if you are going to post the Spicy Pepper Coconut Cream Sauce? I'll look in your cookbook tonight to see if it's in there. Or just the ingredients and I can figure out portions.I started with the elimination in January 2011 and have adopted this eating lifestyle and we have never felt better. We love the cookbook and look forward to making more from it. Thank you! Bridget

  16. I love these burgers and make them all the time! We make a coconut cream sauce by adding red curry thai paste to coconut milk. Delicious!

  17. just made these last night. delicious!! i like my food spicy and could definitely add another jalapeno or some sriracha to the mix.

    i used split mung beans and it turned out fine- just be careful not to add too much water when you make them.

  18. These have become a staple for me to have. They are delicious right out of the pan and as left overs. They are healthy, delicious, creative and super easy to make. Thanks so much for all your recipe and inspired eats!

  19. Spicy Pepper Coconut Cream recipe please :)

  20. I e-mailed for the Spicy Pepper Coconut Cream recipe and have yet to receive a response/ I would love to make these burgers this week with that sauce.

    Could you please post the recipe?


    1. Here it is (sorry!):

      Spicy Pepper Coconut Cream

      The trick to making this recipe is to chill one can of coconut milk overnight. When you open the can, the cream will have hardened and separated at the top and the watery part is left behind on the bottom of the can.

      ½ cup coconut cream
      2 cherry bomb peppers, seeded
      1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
      ½ to 1 teaspoon lime zest
      sea salt or Herbamare to taste

      Chill one can of coconut milk overnight. The next day scoop out the coconut cream on top and measure about ½ cup, it doesn’t need to be exact, I usually just take what is there. It will be very hard and white.

      Place the coconut cream in a blender or mini food processor along with the cherry bomb peppers, garlic, lime zest, and salt.

      Blend until a smooth puree forms. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. You can also add a squeeze of lime juice of desired.

      Place the pepper-cream in a small, covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.

      Yield: ½ cup

      Ingredient Tip: Be sure to use a can of full fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk does not contain enough fat to create a layer of “cream” when refrigerated.

  21. Just delish! A couple hints though… We're a family of 2, so when I made the burger mix, I thought I could just form 2 patties, and refrigerate the mix for a later time. The later ones wouldn't hold together. Advice: make them all at once, and refrigerate the extra patties for later. Oh, and we have a wide-base vitamix. Tried making the spicy pepper coconut cream in it, and there wasn't enough volume for the blades to catch. For a wide-bottom vitamix, either double the recipe (I can think of plenty of uses for extras), or consider switching to an immersion blender for this one. Other than these minor details, the recipes are fantastic. Will definitely do this one again!

  22. Would this work with sprouted mung beans?


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to hear your feedback with my recipes. If you make any changes or substitutions then please share what you did so others can learn.

If you have a question about a recipe, please leave it here. I will do my best to answer it when I have time.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be only be visible here once I publish it.

Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)