1 medium zucchini, grated and excess moisture squeezed out
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15.25oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons of your favorite spice mix (I used BBQ, but cajun, creole, or Old Bay would be good)
For the Paprika Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to brown. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Mash the beans in a bowl with a potato masher to desired consistency (I mashed mine up pretty good for the kiddos, but you can leave it chunkier if you prefer). Add the vegetables and remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Taste mixture and add more salt, pepper or spice mix as needed.
Form 8 patties, about 1/2 cup each, or make smaller “sliders” if you’d like. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Meanwhile, make the paprika mayonnaise: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until smooth.
If you have made the burgers the day before take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking, otherwise, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering add burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes a side or until browned, crispy, and hot all the way through. Don’t crowd the pan, you may have to do this in batches. Serve with paprika mayonnaise or ketchup for the little ones.
Uncooked burgers can be laid out on a baking sheet in a single layer, uncovered, and placed in the freezer. Once completely frozen, pack in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, covered, in the refrigerator before cooking.