DUBLIN, OHIO — The Wendy's Co. calls its new creation the spicy black bean burger, but the supporting cast is noteworthy as well.
“We were able to incorporate a ton of awesome ingredients into the patty itself,” said Eryn Bennett, manager, culinary and production innovation for Dublin-based Wendy’s, in a June 24 virtual presentation. “Of course, there are black beans in there. We have chickpeas. There is brown rice, carrots, corn, green and red bell peppers, you name it. It’s just chockful of awesome veggies.”
Toppings include onions, tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, jalapeños with chipotle seasoning and pepper jack cheese.
“I like to think of it as an approachable spice,” Bennett said of the burger, adding it was not “crazy hot” like scorpion peppers.
The spicy black bean burger will be available beginning June 28 for a limited time in the test markets of Columbus, Ohio, Jacksonville, Fla., and Pittsburgh. The burger, which sells for $5.79, may be purchased via Wendy’s drive-thru, contactless pickup via Wendy’s app with mobile order or through delivery with DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats.
Developing the burger took more than a year, said John Li, vice president of culinary innovation.
“We could have gone a lot of different routes,” he said. “A lot of our competitors have gone a different route than us. We wanted to make sure that we are not going to follow everybody. We’re going to do it in a way that makes sense for us based on what we know: How (Wendy’s customers) want their plant-based burgers, their plant-based proteins.”
Wendy’s also is introducing a ghost pepper ranch sauce, available nationwide July 12, that pairs well with spicy nuggets. While Bennett rated the spiciness of the black bean burger as a six, she said the ghost pepper ranch sauce is about an eight.
“It’s a little bit of choose-your-own adventure with how much sauce you apply to each bite,” she said.