Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers with grilled pineapple and corn on the cob, hits the spot after a day at the pool.

(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)

This morning at 5:30 am, Jared hopped out of bed and yelled “Rach, come on, we’ve gotta go!”

“Where? What? What’s going on?” I asked in a bit of a frantic haze.

“To the bathroom. We have to take cover.”

In seconds, I threw the comforter off of me, jumped out of bed and started heading to grab Jackson, when I thought to ask, “How do you know a tornado is coming?!”

“I hear the wind” he responded, “but I guess I should check the weather.”

I paused and quickly checked the local weatherman’s Facebook page to see that the storms were not severe.

“You mean to tell me, you woke me up from my deep sleep and asked me to go wake my soundly sleeping baby so we could take refuge from wind?”

“Sorry, the wind sounded like a freight train. I really thought it was a tornado. In hindsight, I guess it could have actually been the freight train that runs through town.”

To his credit, we did get the car into the garage before it was pelted with a hail storm that came through shortly after and we were scary close to a bad tornado not long ago, so his heightened awareness was not completely displaced.

Texas weather is just crazy! Just a couple of days ago, we were grilling up some corn on the cob and pineapple and I was whipping up a batch of these sweet potato black bean burgers to enjoy on the patio after an afternoon at the pool. Today, we were pelted with hail and are on alert for more severe weather this evening. Thankfully, we have leftovers and so even though it’s windy and rainy outside, it’s summer inside!

10-month old Jackson LOVED these burgers. In fact, he ate an entire patty with avocado. Here he is with just a few crumbs left. Baby approved.

I think Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers are this little man’s new favorite. He cleared his tray.

I think the key to a good veggie burger is getting them a little crispy on the outside and cooked until firm on the inside. I’ve found that if  I only cook them on the stove, they are too mushy on the inside unless the patty is very thin, but baking them alone doesn’t give them the outside crunch that I personally really like. If you don’t have time to do both, you can certainly just bake them, but I would probably skip the bread crumb coating if you do it that way.

I love the crispy outside and the moist, yet firm inside of these Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers. The key is coating them in bread crumbs, pan-frying, then finishing them off in the oven.

Rachel’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Makes 8-10 patties


1 sweet potato, chopped and boiled until fork-tender
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup oats, coarsely ground (see picture in directions)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (whole wheat if you can find it), divided in half
1/2 cup corn, fresh, frozen & thawed, or canned & drained
2 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. cayenne (if you like spice–omit for little eaters)
olive oil


Heat oven to 350 F. Either spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

In a large flat-bottomed skillet (cast irons are great), saute onions and carrots on medium-low heat with a little olive oil until onions have a nice golden color. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash one can of drained black beans (a fork, potato masher, or your hands will do the job), then add the other can of drained black beans and just lightly mash them, leaving some whole. Add the sauteed veggies and all the other ingredients, except for 1/2 of the bread crumbs, and mix well, mashing some of the sweet potatoes to help bind the mixture.

Put the remaining bread crumbs on a small plate or pie pan.

Pulse oats in a blender, food processor, or coffee bean grinder once or twice until they are coarsely ground like this.

The mixture should be thick and slightly sticky. This looks a little gross, but let’s be honest, ground raw meat doesn’t look much better! 🙂

Form the patties. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup, slightly over-filled, to measure out each patty. Patties should be about 1 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter.

In the same pan you cooked the veggies, add just enough oil to lightly coat the pan and turn the burner back to medium low. Dip the patties into the panko crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the patties. Add panko-crusted patties to the pan (2-4 at a time depending on the size of your pan), letting them get lightly golden brown, then flipping. The first side browns quicker.

Transfer the patties to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns with your choice of toppings. Avocado, tomato, roasted red pepper, lettuce, chipotle mayo (just blend a chipotle pepper with 1/2 cup of mayo), are all great with these.

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