Ordering from a kids’ menu used to be easy when my kids couldn’t read. But then 1st grade happened and my son learned to, so there’s no pulling the wool over his eyes anymore. Now he can plainly see the unhealthy options he has to choose from and he loves them all!
In general, I’m not a big fan of kids’ menus. No matter what style of restaurant you go to they don’t offer much in the way of variety. If you’re eating Italian, Asian or Indian the options are inevitably chicken fingers, mac & cheese, pizza, and maybe a hot dog. Most offer a selection of sides, the common ones being French fries, steamed tasteless broccoli, carrot sticks or, if you get lucky, fresh fruit.
Eating out is a chance for kids to try something novel. It’s a great opportunity to taste foods out of their comfort zone, experience a new flavor or cuisine. Instead, it has become standard practice for restaurants to homogenize what our kids eat. Personally I think we should give kids more credit, maybe they don’t want to eat chicken fingers and fries at every meal.
Once in a blue moon we stumble upon a restaurant that makes an attempt to offer interesting and unique menu options for children. Just recently we ate at a place that offered shrimp, cod, and black bean burgers (along with the usual suspects too) in a kid size portion and price. A black bean cheeseburger and a garden salad would not have been my prediction, but that’s what my son ordered. And my little guys ordered the shrimp. They were thrilled to have so many choices.
I’m not sure what they put in those black bean burgers but they were delicious! For once I was a little envious of the kids menu…
Bedlam Bean Burgers
1 can black beans
1 can chick peas
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lime
1 large shallot or 2 small, finely diced
1 small red pepper, finely diced
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs, plain
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
8 hamburger buns
8 slices American cheese (optional)
Rinse and drain beans and chick peas. Add both to a food processor with the lime juice and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Pulse until the beans are a chunky paste, scraping down sides of processor as needed. In a large mixing bowl combine the bean mixture with the shallots, pepper, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, cumin, and black pepper.
Divide the mixture into eight equal portions and form patties about ½ inch thick. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add four of the patties and cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining patties and oil.
For cheesy bean burgers, add a slice of cheese to the patties in the last 2 minutes of cooking so the cheese melts.
Add to bun and serve!
And the VERDICT is:
Matthew (age 7): “I like it better than the restaurant because it’s not falling apart!”
Dylan (age 5): “I only like the bread”
Liam (age 5): “I only like the cheese”
1 out of 3 ain’t bad!