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• 413.528.5244 • 10 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230 • info@castlestreetcafe.com


A Hill of Beans

One of the more common idioms in English to express contempt or derision is to say that something doesn't amount to a hill of beans, as if a hill of beans isn't worth very much. On the contrary, in many parts of the world a hill of beans is the staple of life, and the major source of protein. So many Americans regard meat as the major source of protein, when in fact beans provide a plentiful amount.

I have been pleased and surprised to see that the new Southwestern Black Bean burger we have been serving in the Café has been so popular. Of course we have been serving locally raised grass fed beef burgers from Ioka Valley farm for years, but there are increasing numbers of diners who want a vegetarian burger. Only a few years ago we put a vegetarian burger on the menu, but soon removed it because so few people ordered it. What a difference a few years make!

In addition to being vegetarian, this black bean burger is vegan and what free, and there has been an enormous increase in diners who vegan, and avoid gluten. The entire dish is Southwestern in style, and rather than serve the burger on a roll, it is served on a crispy corn tortilla, with both a green Tomatillo sauce, and a more traditional tomato salsa with cilantro, and topped with guacamole

The sauces are key, because they provide both moisture and sharply contrasting flavors, and the combination of the two creates a flavor sensation greater then the sauces separately. Even though sour cream would seem to be a natural component of this dish, I omit it from the serving, just to keep the whole dish vegan though one could easily add it.

Over time I think that more and more people will chose to reduce the quantity of meat they eat, for a variety of different reasons, and that increasing numbers of people will be choosing to eat gluten free. Vegetarian burgers are here to stay. Fortunately, this one is tasty, and easy to make.



South Western Bean Burger



Makes 10-12



3/4 cup dry mushroom-save liquid

6 cup cooked Black bean

3 T chopped garlic

2 3/4 C Oats

6 t chili powder

3 t cumin

3 Tablespoon soy Sauce

1 bunch cilantro



1. Soak Mushrooms in hot water, drain, save liquid

2. Puree everything in food processor, add mushroom liquid as needed

3. Form into Burgers

4. Bake for 10 minutes at 325°




Castle Street Cafe, 10 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230 413.528.5244

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