Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe: Vegan Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers

When I tell people that I'm a vegetarian, most of them ask me if I made the switch for health reasons. Honestly, I don't always make the best dietary decisions. I eat a lot of pasta, sugars, and "meat substitutes" that are often filled with more bad than good. That's why recently I've been making more of an effort to get protein from REAL food. And, that's also why these black bean and sweet potato burgers couldn't be more perfect. 
1 and 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (two or three depending on the size)
1/3 cup cooked brown rice (I used instant rice, and left it slightly under cooked)
 1 cup of oats (I used quick-cooking)
1 15 ounce can of black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt
olive oil

Slice your sweet potatoes in half, lay them cut-side down on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender. While those bake, grind the oats in a food processor. You don't want a powdery texture, so just pulse them until they're fine. Once the potatoes have cooked and cooled, scoop the insides out of the skins and into a mixing bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, and combine them together. I found it easiest to use my hands, but an electric mixer or wooden spoon would also do the trick. Form patties from the mixture and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place the patties in the refrigerator for 1520 minutes before cooking. You could also place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to save time! The cooling process is important, as it keeps the burgers from falling apart while cooking since there are no eggs to act as a binder. Once the patties have cooled in the fridge or freezer you can cook them in a pan with olive oil over medium heat until they are golden brown to just-slightly-charred, and warmed all the way through. Voila!
I added cheese to some of the patties, and a mountain of toppings. I also served my burgers with zucchini fries (that I need to perfect before sharing the recipe) and an ice cold wheat ale. These burgers were so filling and flavorful, and made an even better "round two meal" on a big chopped salad. I can imagine these would also be wonderful in a wrap, or ground up for tacos. I'm thinking about just making them in bulk to freeze, and have on hand for an easy dose of protein. Hooray for good, healthy food!

P.S.- If any fellow vegetarians would be interested in swapping recipes or giving me some tips on how to achieve a more balanced, wholesome meat-free diet, please feel free to comment below! I feel that after seven years of vegetarianism, it's about time to do it right. Thanks! 

(Recipe adapted from this.)

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