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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Gluten Free Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

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Gluten Free Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Try these plant-based mini-burgers that have great eye appeal, taste delicious, and can be a big hit with the kids.

This recipe is packed with healthy plant-based proteins that kids often don’t get enough of every day. Plus it has herbs and spices like cilantro and other seasonings which add anti-viral, anti-bacterial and disease-fighting properties to your kids’ diet.

Whether you’re gluten-free or not –these can serve as a center stage or a tasty accompaniment to any meal.  This tasty recipe is from Trader Joe’s and is only one of their great recipes. Be sure to browse through their other recipes on their healthy whole grain products for tasty inspiration.

Ask your children to help prepare the meal

Get your children involved in preparing this meal with a few of these tasks:

  • washing the cilantro
  • draining the beans
  • measuring ingredients
  • assisting with turning the food processor on and off
  • ask them for input on how to serve the burgers, with or without cilantro garnish, cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish or the works
  • have them help dish out the food and decorate their toppings.


  • 6 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¾ cup red bell peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large shallot, diced small
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 3 cups of Trader Joes’ quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs (made using Udi’s whole grain gluten-free bread)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of  TJ’s Everyday Seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste
  • For a flavor boost, double garlic and increase cilantro to ¾ cup


  1. Toast gluten-free bread, cool, put in a mini-food processor to chop into breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, add red pepper and sauté until slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and shallot and continue to sauté until soft.
  4. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and combine with black beans and cilantro; add to food processor and pulse until chunky.
  5. Blend mixture with quinoa, salt, and pepper.
  6. Taste – adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Add a beaten egg and mix well.
  8. Divide into 7 or 8 patties and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Season bread crumbs with Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning (or TJ’s 21 herb spice salute), salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Dredge patties in breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry in remaining olive oil until browned about 3 minutes on each side.

Credit: Recipe from Trader Joe’s Tricolor Quinoa Recipe on Package.

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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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