Greg and I pulled out the grill for the third time this year this past weekend. We’re on a roll.
I remember when we first got our grill, and the very first times we attempted using it. I say attempted, because that’s really what it was. Neither of us had worked a charcoal grill before without other adults (our parents). The first couple of times we grilled, we used way too much or not enough charcoal and lighter fluid, disagreed on whether to keep the lid on or off while it heated up, and once, after several hours of trying to get the thing to work, we completely gave up. Well, we’ve come a long way in less than a year since having our grill, and I’m proud to say I think we now have it down. With nice weather here, we’ve been pulling the grill out on Saturdays after I work. It’s no longer a task that takes hours of planning and preparation, rather, it’s now a way for us to unwind – a way to spend a relaxing evening. And we’ve been doing just that.
We recently had a conversation about veggie burgers that is very similar to the grill story. At one point, we were scared and intimidated to make them. And admittedly, that wasn’t too long ago. Looking back, the beginnings of our veggie burger making were rough, just like the beginnings of our grilling. There was much preparation and planning put into making a veggie burger, and unfortunately, a lot of failed attempts. I wouldn’t say that we are now experts or even close, but we’ve come a long way. This Thanksgiving burger (one of my all-time favorites) is definitely a testament to that. And now, today’s burger.
I shared with you a sweet potato + black bean burger on May 1, 2013, almost exactly one year ago. I think it’s more than a coincidence that making this burger and getting the post together for another sweet potato black bean burger happened, without thinking about it, exactly one year later. It has given me a chance to see how far I’ve come. To see how I’ve improved in one year. My photos, my recipes, my blog. A part of me wants to delete the first sweet potato black bean burger post. The photos are hard to look at, there are things I’d change about the recipe and post. But luckily there is a little something telling me not to. I think I’d regret it. I’m proud of today’s recipe and post, but I need to remember, one year ago I was proud of that post. Makes me wonder how I’ll feel one year from today.
S0 yes, today, a new and improved sweet potato black bean burger. And it is darn good. A burger with a simple list of ingredients, wonderful texture and addicting taste. We made the burgers big, grilled them, and served them on brioche rolls topped with Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato and gouda cheese, and I suggest you do the same. Serve the burgers with some homemade fries (more on those next week) and a crunchy pickle. Too good to be true, really.
These burgers really hold up well. That is definitely a thing to feel good about when it comes to veggie burgers. They stayed together on the grill, so I feel confident that they’d do wonderfully baked in the oven or fried in some olive oil on the stove, as well. They also stay together when eating them – even better. I don’t know how much more I can say about these other than please try them! And if you do, let me know! Tell me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment on this post.
Cheers to making improvements, slowly but surely, and to gosh darn good sweet potato black bean burgers!
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- Vegetable broth or water, to cook rice
- 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Large handful fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- Serving suggestion: hearty buns, Dijon mustard, gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato
- Preheat oven to 400*.
- Peel, wash and dice the sweet potatoes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, along with three cloves of peeled garlic, and drizzle with olive oil, just to coat. Roast sweet potatoes and garlic in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
- While sweet potatoes are roasting, cook one cup of dry brown rice according to package instructions. I use vegetable broth to cook mine.
- Once sweet potatoes are roasted and rice is done cooking and slightly cooled, place the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic in a food processor along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin. Process for about 30 seconds, or until sweet potatoes become mostly smooth.
- Add the rice to processor and pulse several time to incorporate. You may need to use a spoon to move the rice along.
- Add the black beans, walnuts and fresh cilantro to the processor and process for another 30 seconds or so to incorporate well.
- Add the burger mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the flax, panko and rolled oats. Alternatively, you can use all panko (1 cup) or all oats, rather than a mixture of the two - just as long as there is 1 cup total. Stir the flax, panko breadcrumbs and oats into the burger mixture.
- Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- When ready to cook, form mixture into patties. The number of patties you get will depend on the size you make them. We made them fairly large and got seven patties.
- We grilled our burgers on a charcoal grill, but I feel confident these will bake well in the oven or fried in olive oil on the stove due to their sturdy texture.
- I suggest serving them on hearty, slightly toasted buns with Dijon mustard, melted smoked gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato.
- Instead of using 1/2 cup panko and 1/2 cup oats, you could use 1 full cup of panko and no oats or 1 full cup oats and no panko.
- I mixed the flax, panko and oats into the burger mixture in a large mixing bowl because my food processor was too full to process anything else.
- Refrigerating the mixture before cooking will help the burgers stay together.
- I did not bake or fry these, but I feel confident that both would work if you follow the instructions. The burgers are very hearty and sturdy, so I feel that would stay together no matter what the cooking method.