Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Veggie. Burgers. Two words that bring to mind summertime, barbecues, and maybe THE most broadly accepted form of meatless eating. Every restaurant seems to carry a veggie burger on their menu, even if it is their only vegetarian option, and there are so many varieties and brands of veggie burgers in grocery stores now that it can get overwhelming. I’ve tried so many flavors of burgers, like Chipotle, California, Black Bean, Mushroom, Chickpea Patties, etc. etc., that I’m convinced normal burgers must be super boring. Imagine – if aliens visiting Earth for the first time had a choice of vegetable-packed protein patties in a wide variety of flavors, or just a hunk of ground meat formed into a circle and thrown on a grill, why on earth would they choose the meat option? I know people have a strange attachment to beef and grilling, but honestly, I think there is a very strong case for supporting the veggie burger.

One strange setback is that many veggie burgers are made with eggs to help bind the ingredients together. This fact means that vegans must be very vigilant and often can’t enjoy the basic freedom of eating veggie burgers out at restaurants and partaking in summer barbecue/picnic/cookout activities! I wanted to take a stab at a delicious and dynamic veggie burger that is 100% free of animal products, and I came up with a sweet potato black bean patty flavored with smoky spices and barbecue sauce. It was super easy to make (only took 30min from start to finish!) and tasted great, and it felt like the perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend and the start of summer.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic
1 can black beans
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsps barbecue sauce
Palmful of Paprika
Generous sprinkle of cayenne
Dash of garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, meanwhile peeling and dicing the sweet potato. Boil the sweet potato for about 5 minutes or until the pieces are fork tender. Dice up the yellow onion, green pepper, and garlic clove and saute in olive oil on medium high or until the vegetables are very soft and slightly browned. Meanwhile, rinse the black beans in a colander, transfer to a bowl, and mash with a fork or potato masher. Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the bowl, and mash the sweet potatoes into the black bean mixture. Add the sauteed vegetables, bread crumbs, spices, and barbecue sauce and mix until evenly combined. Form the mixture into patties (about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 1/2-1 inch thick). Heat up 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet and cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned and firm. Serve on buns with any fixings you’d like. We served with tomatoes, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and barbecue sauce. Mangia!

Makes 6 patties

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