Veggie burgers. Most people either love them or they could care less about them. But I’ve got a recipe that will change anyone’s mind and turn everyone into a veggie burger eater!
Are you thinking that veggie burgers are “convenience” foods that should be bought in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store? I know that there are plenty of prepared meat-free burger options at the store, but have you ever looked at the ingredients in those burgers? The meat-free burgers (aka psuedo-meat or faux-meat burgers) are typically made from some pretty scary chemically-laden ingredients (soy-protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, natural and artificial flavor). These meat analogues are commonly suggested as the stepping stones for someone who is interested in eating less meat but fears missing-out on the burger experience.
Conversely, there are veggie burgers made from real food ingredients – like vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. For this type of burger, there are a variety of flavor and ingredients combinations – some delicious and others not so tasty. Sometimes, this type of veggie burger hides a bunch of deleterious ingredients, too, which makes label-reading imperative.
Recently, a friend of mine told me about the most delicious veggie burger she had ever eaten. Really? I think that was the first time that I recalled hearing someone rave about a veggie burger. I did a little snooping to find out more about this particular veggie burger, and I quickly decided that I could easily create a very similar (if not better) version myself! There’s nothing difficult about making a veggie burger, it only takes a handful of real food ingredients – many of which you probably have at home already – to make an easy make-ahead meal.
The base of my recipe is simple: a baked sweet potato and a can of beans. Bake the sweet potato while you’re preparing another meal, it takes zero effort to turn on the oven and bake for an hour. There are no fancy utensils needed to successfully make this recipe, just a fork is all you’ll need to turn a few ingredients into a delicious burger. I’ve given plenty of substitutions (in the notes of the recipe), which allows you to customize your burger and use the flavors that you prefer. Add some cayenne pepper if you like things spicy, or omit it and add some paprika for a hint of sweetness.
And when is the best time to eat a veggie burger? Anytime. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, these burgers are a wonderful nourishing meal. Served on a bun or on top of a salad, either way is delicious. Or roll the mixture into balls and serve as meatballs on top of your favorite pasta or risotto. Bake smaller burgers to serve as sliders. There are no rules here, this recipe is so easy to adapt.
Grain-Free Veggie-Full Burgers
Ingredients: (note – use organic whenever possible)
1 large sweet potato
1 can (14oz) pinto beans (or your favorite bean)
1/2 C Tigernut flour (or your favorite grain-free flour)
1 C parsley leaves, washed & chopped
2 scallions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t sea salt, or more, to taste
1/2-1 t spices (cumin, paprika, coriander)
dash of cayenne pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potato, prick with a fork (to keep it from exploding in the oven) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, until softened. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Re-line a baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.
Once the sweet potato has cooled, cut it in half and carefully scoop all of the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Keep the skins for another use (see notes below). Mash the sweet potato flesh with a fork into a chunky mixture. Rinse & drain the beans, add them to the bowl. Add the Tigernut flour, chopped parsley, sliced scallions and minced garlic. Use the back of the fork to mash the ingredients together into a rough mixture. Pour the olive oil into the bowl, combining it into the sweet potato mixture. Season the mixture with sea salt and spices, to taste.
Using damp hands, divide the mixture into 5 portions (or 4 for extra-large burgers) and gently press into burger shape. Place on the lined baking sheet.
Bake burgers for 20 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on the edges.
Cool slightly before serving, or serve later (see notes below). Serve on top of a salad, in a lettuce or kale wrap, or on a bun with your favorite toppings.
Recipe yields 4-5 servings
Sweet potato skins are nourishing and delicious! Spread them with some hummus or guacamole and eat alongside a salad.
Use any grain-free flour, such as almond flour, in place of the Tigernut flour
Substitute spinach, arugula or kale for the parsley, if desired
Make ahead option: bake the burgers, allow to cool to room temperature, and freeze on the sheet pan. Transfer frozen burgers to a storage container and freeze for up to 1 month. Easily remove as many burgers as needed and reheat in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Make mixture into smaller slider-size burgers or into meatballs. Adjust baking time accordingly (approximately 15 minutes per side).