Posted by Amy Andrews

Categories Beans & Lentils, Main

Comments 3 comments

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers


Do you ever make veggie burgers?  I posed this question, with a hint of knowing skepticism, to my “food people” over the past month.  My favorite response was from Wyatt, who said, “Ya.  But they’re a pain in the ass.”  Was I ever happy to find a respected peer to corroborate the opinion I formed after a squishy Round 1.


At that point, I had almost decided to bag the veggie burgers from the menu of my upcoming class at the Cancer Support Community.  On to Plan B.  I’d just make a skillet “melange” of the sweet potatoes and black beans and use it as enchilada filling or something.  But I couldn’t forget Kate’s post – her veggie burgers looked fantastic, and even got 5 stars from her readers!  On to Round 2.


And am I ever glad!   Our dinner the other night was a hit, and received an “8.37” from the panel.  Here’s a summary of what I learned:

1.  veggie burgers aren’t really burgers.  don’t think of them as hamburger substitutes, lose the bun entirely, and consider them for what they are:  the crispy, spicy, savory centerpiece of a vegetarian feast

2.  veggie burgers are fragile.  the smaller the better as you’re trying to cook and flip them in a frying pan.

3.  ya, you can bake them, but they are so much better when they have a crispy outside from pan-frying in a little oil.


Thanks to Cookie + Kate, a wonderful whole foods, vegetarian food blog.  Her “Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers is my original recipe.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Yield: 22 small, 3-inch patties


  • 3 or 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed with water and drained
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and lightly packed
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or smoked hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • olive oil for cooking the patties
  • serving accompaniments:
  • avocado or guacamole
  • tomato
  • greens
  • salsa
  • sour cream


  1. Roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice each sweet potato down the center, lengthwise. Smear a bit of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet pan and place the sweet potatoes cut-side down on the sheet pan. Roast 40 minutes, or until they give when you squeeze them. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Grind the oats. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse to break up the flakes.
  3. Mix the dough. Scrape the flesh from the sweet potato halves using a fork into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, black beans, cilantro, onion, spices, and salt. Mix gently using the fork or a wooden spoon. Mix in the ground oats. If you have the time, put the whole bowl of dough in the refrigerator to chill.
  4. Form the patties. On a wax paper-lined cutting board, gently shape about ¼ cup dough into round patties, approx. 2 - 3” diameter, ½” thick. I usually get 20 - 24 small patties from a batch.
  5. Cook the patties. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or other cooking oil, like canola) in a non-stick frying pan set over medium heat. Add 4 or 5 patties to the oil and cook until bottom side is golden brown and crispy, 3 or 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for an additional 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray and continue cooking all patties, adding an additional tablespoon of oil for each batch.


Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips:

  • Note:  The patties hold together best during cooking if the mixture is chilled.  Put the whole bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to several hours.
  • Cook quinoa in a rice-cooker or saucepan on the stovetop.  Ratio of water to quinoa 2:1.  Make in advance, cool and store in a bowl or baggie in the refrigerator.
  • Keep the cooked patties warm as you’re cooking the rest by transferring them to a baking sheet pan in a warm oven (300 degrees F).
  • I call these patties instead of burgers because I don’t like eating them burger-style on buns (too bready).  Think of them as the centerpiece to a whole meal.
  • Make it Mexican:  serve with avocado, tomato, greens, sour cream and salsa.
  • Up the protein:  top with a fried egg.  (Try it!  Sooooo good!)
  • Cook them all and freeze some for later.  Separate patties with waxed paper and slide into a freezer bag.

3 comments on “Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers”

  1. Victoria Anderson

    Gotta do this!

      • Victoria Anderson

        Made this today for Mark and Mom. Wonderful! I left out the salt for Mom’s super-low sodium diet but the rest gave it plenty of flavor. I served it with tomato salsa, mango salsa, and guacamole. Thank you Amy for this great inspiration!


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