Vegan Burgers Sweet Potato & Black Beans

Vegan Burgers Sweet Potato & Black Beans



At Leafy Souls, we believe in animal rights.

This means that we avoid using animals for clothing and also eating.

This is ethical and, generally speaking, very healthy.

But it can also be really, really hard! It is important that we support each other to be the best possible beings on earth.

One of the more difficult carnivorous meals to make vegan are burgers.

There are a number of soy- or other alternative-protein based repacked vegan patties on the market, but if you are health-conscious, you may prefer to avoid processed food.

Although processed vegan burgers are better for you than meat burgers, they're not as healthy as whole food options.

And when it comes to health, nothing beats controlling what goes into your burgers yourself, by cooking them from scratch.

With barbecue season coming up soon, we're here to discuss some of the challenges and pitfalls involved in making veggie burgers from scratch, link to a few creative recipes to showcase the wide range of ingredients you can use to make outstanding plant-based burgers, and provide our own recipe for delicious and healthy sweet potato black bean patties at the end of the post.

We're also providing a bonus recipe for an amazing all-purpose condiment that no vegan should be without: 2-ingredient marinated onions.

Read on for the recipes!


AVOIDING MEAT WHEN COOKING

Avoiding meat in recipes is actually quite easy once you get a good rotation of ingredients circulating in your kitchen.

You can never go wrong buying loads of fruit and veggies.

The more you experiment, the better you will get at creating the perfect combination, like our sweet potato black bean version which is made even better with our bonus marinated onion recipe.

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BBQ SEASON IS ALMOST HERE

The more you cook vegan, the more you will learn about mixing and matching your leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit and veg.

One of the biggest challenges people face closer to summer is being invited to barbecues where the hosts haven't thought of creative vegan grill options, or have resorted to a tasteless frozen pre-made option.

The smell of food cooking - whatever the product - is mouth watering and hard to say no to especially if there are no vegetarian options!

There are lots of vegetables and fruits that are delicious grilled - there are the classic marinated and skewered mushrooms, onions and peppers, but you can also make pineapple and peach kebabs, grilled marinated chicken of the woods mushrooms or grilled tempeh.

You can even grill slices of sweet potato.

Sometimes, though, you just want a juicy black bean veggie burger on a carb-dense bun with all the fixings.

Lucky for you, there are so many creative recipes you can try.

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BEST INGREDIENTS FOR VEGGIE BURGERS

In addition to our favorite sweet potato black bean patty recipe, we have some other veggie burger ingredient ideas for you.

You can choose to just use vegetables and nuts, or you can add grains as binding ingredients.

Cooked quinoa and rice, or uncooked oatmeal make excellent binders when working with soft ingredients like cooked, mashed vegetables (in 1 or 2 cup amounts).

Both sweet potato and regular potato, as well as steamed cauliflower, are good options to mix with the binding ingredients to create your own recipe.

If you want your burgers to have a bit more protein, try lentils, chickpeas, white, pinto, kidney or black bean, walnuts, cashews, almonds or almond meal, and tofu.

For color, flavor and freshness add finally chopped and sautéed carrots and peppers.

And for brightness, fresh parsley, chives, dill or cilantro are excellent additions.

A bit of nutritional yeast and liquid amino acid adds flavor and nutrition as well.

Garlic, roasted garlic, lemon or lime juice are also good additions. Some coconut or olive oil adds richness.

Mix and match these combinations to create an infinite variety of veggie burger recipes.

You'll never get bored when making your own veggie burgers.

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CREATIVE INGREDIENT COMBINATIONS

After you've tried our sweet potato black bean recipe, we've got a few other combinations to suggest.

  • Regular potato, ground cashew, oatmeal, carrot, onions and parsley.
  • Mashed cauliflower, lentils, turmeric, coriander, cilantro, onion and walnut curry burgers.
  • Quinoa, smoked paprika, white or black beans, mashed carrot, parsley burgers.
  • Mashed sweet potato and carrots mixed with cooked quinoa, maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
  • Roasted garlic burgers with chickpeas, a range of herbs and spices.

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SERVING IDEAS FOR VEGGIE BURGERS

Most burger aficionados know that the key to burger nirvana is in the toppings.

Luckily, there are a million amazing vegan toppings to put on your sweet potato black bean veggie burger.

Try classic avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion. If you want to get crazy, marinate that onion ahead of time (see our recipe below for marinated onions), and add pickles or capers.

Make a zesty cashew cream aioli, or a vegan chipotle mayo to grace the bun. Onion straws and curly fries are indulgent, but festive topping ideas for a veggie burger.

Any greens make a great stand-in for regular lettuce - try spinach, arugula, beet greens or even a handful of cilantro or dill to grace the top of your sweet potato black bean veggie burgers.

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HOW TO COOK VEGGIE BURGER RECIPES

The most common complaint about veggie burger recipes is that they can be mushy.

In our opinion, this pitfall is most commonly fixed in the mixing stage. If the batter is wet, you're going to end up with a mushy burger.

Piling your burger high with crunchy toppings like our balsamic marinated onions, pickles, and crisp lettuce, can help mitigate this problem.

But if you really despise soft burgers, you'll want to add some ingredients with teeth, like nuts. Beans (black bean or otherwise) and lentils are great choices, just make sure that you don't cook them too long or they will become too soft for this application.

Sweet potato burgers are often a little mushy, but you can balance this out by adding other ingredients (like black beans, as in the recipe below).

Once you've got your ingredients chosen to avoid mushiness, the next decision is how to cook the sweet potato black bean burgers for maximum crunch.

There are two options.

One is to bread the outside of the burger with classic breading, or something like almond meal, and then fry in oil (regular vegetable oil or coconut oil are good choices for this application; olive oil is not as good for frying).

The other option is to bake the burgers to try to dry them out a bit.

This works best on a lower heat (like 325) for a longer time (30-40 minutes).

You can brush your patties with olive oil before they go in the oven.

You can also fry the burgers after they come out of the oven to finish them off.

This approach takes some time but might be worth the time if you really want your sweet potato black bean patties to be a little more toothy.

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SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN BURGERS

These sweet and spicy veggie burgers from Cookie & Kate are both vegan and gluten free. For best results, prepare the burger mixture in advance and let it chill in the refrigerator (you can let it chill overnight or longer if you’d like).

We here are Leafy Souls have added a bonus recipe for 2-ingredient marinated onions at the bottom.

These onions are delicious on the veggie burgers, by themselves, or as a condiment that can be added to curries, soups, stews and sandwiches.

Once you've gotten used to having a jar of these onions in your fridge, you'll never want to be without them again.

These sweet potato black bean veggie burgers don’t have to be served as traditional burgers—the sweet potato black bean patties are good on their own with toppings like guacamole.

Try serving them with corn on the cob in the summer (they grill well, too). Recipe yields 8 patties.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (this works out to about 2 cup, and smaller potatoes cook faster)
  • ⅓ cup uncooked millet or quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you are avoiding gluten)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon serving of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • High quality vegetable oil for cooking burgers (or coconut oil, if you don’t mind the coconut taste, olive oil may burn)
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)
  • Your favorite burger fixings (avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on the baking sheet until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Cook the millet: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Stir in the millet, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool. OR cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander, then combine with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Then drain off any excess water and set aside to cool.
  3. Grind the oats: Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
  4. Mix the burgers: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and millet, black beans, onion, cilantro, 2 teaspoon cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne (optional, add to taste for spicier burgers) and salt. Use a potato masher, big mixing spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It’s ok if the black beans get smashed in the process.
  5. Mix in the oats: Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).
  6. Shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3 ½ inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.
  7. Pan fry the burgers: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry.
  8. Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

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BONUS RECIPE: EASY MARINATED ONIONS

INGREDIENTS

  • One large onion - I like regular Spanish onions, but you can do this with sweet onions, white onions, red onions or even shallots.
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (do not sub for another vinegar - you can marinate onions in any vinegar and make them taste good by adding other ingredients to the marinade, but for this 2-ingredient recipe, it has to be balsamic).

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the onion. Cut off the ends, then cut the onion in half horizontally. Then slice each half crosswise to get long, thin slices. Put the slices in a glass dish with a lid, or a jar.
  2. Pour balsamic vinegar over the onion slices. Close the dish or jar and shake to distribute the vinegar over the onions. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
This will keep in the fridge for a week, but they never last that long in my house.

If I think of it, I will give the jar a shake every time I open the fridge to distribute the balsamic vinegar better.

I hope you enjoy these recipes! The veggie burger is a great summer staple - and they also freeze really well! If you like batch cooking, you can make a large batch of them and freeze them for easy meals later on.

The balsamic onions are a great topping for the sweet potato black bean patties as well as for a variety of other dishes.

I love them on a bowl of hot curry in the winter, on top of salads, or in a hummus or faux turkey sandwich.

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Sara Phillipps
A vegan freelance web designer and blog writer based out of Austin, Texas USA.


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