Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recipe | Roasted Sweet Potato Burgers

I just realized that today is Tuesday. Perhaps this shouldn't be such a revelation but lately I can't seem to get my sleep schedule quite right and my mornings have been a bit foggy. Between the hours spent in front of my computer and the pile of books that I need to read for class, by the end of the day, my eyes ache and I want nothing more than to sleep. However, my brain seems to take an hour or two to catch up to my body and by the time I fall asleep, it feels like Trevor is getting up for work. All of that to say: I decided to skip Ten on Tuesday today because this recipe just couldn't wait.

Trevor and I have both agreed that our early nights during the week leave little time for dinner making. After all, we have more important things to do than eat.. things such as watching countless episodes of Twin Peaks or making it to the gym. While Trevor seems to eat a rather balanced lunch made up of fruit, granola, pickles and peanuts (I wish I was kidding, people), I don't seem to eat much of substance during the day. Though Trevor was happy to veto the idea of dinner all together, I got creative and spent Sunday making dinner for the whole week. The best part of these burgers is that they are healthy and filling without being heavy or guilt-inducing. Plus, they make a great excuse for eating extra avocados.

I had remembered reading this recipe for sweet potato burgers early in the fall and went back to it for some inspiration. That being said, my take on the recipe is both gluten-free and vegan. (Though the same cannot be said of the roasted garlic aioli I poured on top of mine. But if anyone has any ideas for egg-free sauces, do share!) The real key to these burgers lies in roasting the potatoes, though. You should know that I will not eat anything that is burnt. Lately I've been questioning my abilities to be an adult (case in point: I am terrified of having to get two fillings tomorrow.. yes, two baby cavities seem to have snuck up on me. The agony.) and I put my finicky refusal to eat charred things on that list. That being said, blackened sweet potatoes are the key to this recipe and achieving a deep smoky flavor. The finished patties must also be fried until nearly black on both sides to ensure that the burgers and hot and cooked all the way through. While they taste delicious, the child in me tends not to look at the crispy blackened parts while I eat. Now that we've got those interesting facts out of the way, let's make burgers.

2 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Garlic Gloves, minced
2 Tablespoons of Nut Butter (I used Justin's Maple Almond Butter)
1/3 Cup of Corn Meal
1/3 Cup of Gluten-free Bisquick (any all-purpose flour or rice flour can be substituted)
1 Flax Egg (Combine 1 tbsp flax meal with 3 tbsp of water and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or more)
2 Teaspoons  Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
Olive Oil
(You will also need extra salt, pepper and paprika for seasoning the sweet potatoes prior to roasting.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven heats, dice two large sweet potatoes into 1 inch chunks.

Drizzle olive oil over potatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with an even mixture of salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. We use this seasoning mix for everything and keep a bowl of it handy next to our stove. You will also want to sprinkle approximately a teaspoon of white sugar on the potatoes to help them caramelize and blacken in the oven. Spread potatoes evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes or until tender and blackened on some sides. Make sure to check the potatoes and flip them every 10 to 15 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, drain and rinse a can of cannellini beans. Mash one cup of beans lightly - I prefer to do this with a whisk but a fork or potato masher can also be used. You can also use this time to dice two cloves of garlic.

When the potatoes are finished roasting, dump them into the bowl with your beans. Mash together and then season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and minced garlic. You will then want to add 2 tablespoons of nut butter and your flax egg - these ingredients help keep the burgers together but also add another deep flavor to the already smoky potatoes.

After the mixture is mashed and mixed thoroughly, add corn meal and flour and combine thoroughly. Then, allow the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes.

While my mixture cooled, I took the time to make roasted garlic aioli (Trevor's mom was kind enough to get us a food processor for Christmas and we've been looking for every opportunity to use it).  I found it was the perfect sauce so if you'd like to make your own, I started with this tutorial and this recipe. Since Trevor isn't a fan of aioli, I cut the recipe in half and substituted sriracha for the cayenne pepper. Needless to say, I don't think we will ever buy store mayonnaise again.

Since I knew that I would be making my burgers slowly over the course of the week, I chose to make them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This recipe makes five reasonable sized burgers. You will want to work fairly quickly in shaping the burgers because the cold mixture stays together better but I really had no issues with the patties falling apart thanks to the nut butter I added. To store the burgers, I simply covered the cookie sheet and patties with plastic wrapped and placed it back in the fridge.

To cook your burger, you will want to use a pan over medium-high heat. I made the burgers two different ways - one plain, as is and the other coated in a mixture of corn meal, salt and pepper. Both versions were delicious so cook to your preference. Fill the pan with a thin layer of olive oil and heat thoroughly before placing your burger in the pan. The burgers should cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. The first time I fried the burger, I flipped it too early in order to keep it from blackening and found that it wasn't quite cooked throughly. That being said, don't be discouraged if your burger looks burnt on either side, it is important to fry each side for five minutes!

I chose to top my burger with avocado, caramelized onions and garlic aioli but the choices are endless. Perhaps some dijon mustard? Or sliced tomatoes? Even bacon would be delicious, though ironic. While I chose to put my burger on gluten-free focaccia bread, any bun will do. I've always enjoyed the burger on top of salad and last night, cooked, mashed and spread on toasted bread like hummus.

What can I say? I can't get enough sweet potatoes and these burgers are no exception.


  1. Shut up, can I hire you as my personal chef? I'm going to save this recipe for when I'm feeling ambitious.... lately I've been so low maintenance in terms of eating though.

    One of my fave toppings for everything is Goddess dressing, which you could totally make yourself but I am lazy. http://www.soap.com/p/annies-homegrown-goddess-dressing-169679

    1. It's definitely an "ambitious" recipe since I decided to roast the potatoes first. It's really easy, though. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon - then you have burgers for the week or you can freeze them, too! I didn't know that goddess dressing was vegan - I never had it until I moved to Montana but was served it at a chapter dinner for work, delish! May have to add that to my fridge!