Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

These veggie burgers didn't quite come out the way I wanted them to. Taste got a 10. Texture got a 3. Something went wrong somewhere (I have a few ideas), or it's one of those recipes you have to fiddle around with. But again, as far as taste goes, these knocked it out of the park so I feel they are worth another try.

To make up for them being less than stellar, I'm including a brussel sprout-and-radish slaw that I shamelessly stole/copied from Mezon in Danbury, where we went with friends the other night for Tapas. I just made a little, thinking that only Jeeps and I would eat it.  But go figure, Panda kept dipping her spoon in and so did her friend who was over for dinner. These dang kids, you can never figure their tastes out.

Go Figure Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (I think I screwed up here because instead of measuring 3 cups of raw, cubed sweet potato and then steaming that amount, I measured 3 cups of steamed mashed sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I didn’t screw up here; cook the quinoa first, then measure 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Heaping 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour, or finely ground rolled oats, or almond flour (I had none of these things but I did have almond meal.  Maybe it contributed to the mushy texture, maybe it didn’t)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil on the stove.  Add the sweet potatoes and lower the heat to simmering.  Let the potatoes cook for about 20-30 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.  (You can also steam the potatoes in the microwave.)

While your potatoes are cooling preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non stick foil.

Once your potatoes have cooled use a fork to mash them.  You want them mashed but not creamy.

In a large mixing bowl add half of the black beans and mash them with a fork.

Add the rest of the beans and the remaining ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Form the mixture into 10 balls.  Each burger should be about 1/2″ thick.  Place each patty on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers over once halfway through baking.

Remove from the oven and serve.

I made the slaw by running 8 brussels sprouts and 4 radishes through the shredding disk on the food processor. Then I dressed it with lime juice, mayonnaise, and chopped cilantro. Raw brussies are bitter, so after combining all that, I started adding squeezes of honey and tasting until it was the perfect blend of sweet and sour. You'll know when you get it right.

Sauteed Sweet Potatoes (with those....things)

Lima beans called. They want you back.

I never had a good relationship with limas since I was a kid. I spent a lot of time picking them out of frozen mixed vegetable medley and lining them up around the rim of my plate. 

There was one memorable time I ate dinner over my best friend Frank's house, and her mother, my dear Aunt Susan, served baked ham and lima beans. And salad, thank God—I had to eat the beans out of politeness and I discovered drowning them in the salad dressing made them palatable.

I'm still not crazy about them yet there are so many delicious-sounding recipes for lima beans out there that make me think I need to give them another chance. I think the best chance I can give is to grow them in my garden, that way they will be super fresh and stand an extra fighting chance. Hold that thought until May.

This recipe is from Padma Lakshmi's cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet (as am I). 

Recipes from the book were featured in a magazine that I shamelessly swiped from the dentist's office. I tried the one for keralan crab cakes which were awesome. And I've made this sweet potato dish twice but I confess: I've never made it with limas. I use edamame instead. And I've made a host of other adaptions because I typically don't stock the spices called for (or my family doesn't care for them). Also my kids are more accepting of a mix of regular and sweet potatoes.

Sauteed Sweet Potatoes and (Lima Beans)

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (or half sweet, half regular potatoes like Yukon Gold or fingerling)
  • 1 pound frozen lima beans or edamame
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (which I have never found; I've either gone without or substituted 1 teaspoon of whole grain mustard)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (I use 1 tsp ground cumin)
  • 1 dried whole red chili (I substitute a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (reach for your trusty jar or grate it fresh)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

Boil the lima beans in enough water to just cover, 10-15 minutes. Drain. (Frozen, shelled edamame on the other hand will take only 5 minutes)

At the same time, boil the sweet potatoes in enough water to just cover them, until tender, about 25 minutes. Peel and dice once they are cool enough to touch.

Really, Padma? Really? Peel and dice after you boil them? Please. Swainma says peel and dice first, then steam the potatoes for the same amount of time. I will peel russet potatoes but for small ones like fingerlings I just scrub and dice them, skins and all.)

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds; when they pop and start to crackle out of the pan, add the cumin, red chili, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir well. Let the onion turn golden brown, then add the limas/edamame and stir. Add the sweet potatoes.

Mix all ingredients well and saute about 5 minutes more to let the tastes mingle. Salt to taste. Add lemon/lime juice and stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

I made this with roast chicken tonight and it was delicious.  But here's an interesting observation: I'm a slow eater, usually last at the table, with the result that my food often goes cold. I noticed the colder this dish got, the better it tasted. I started to envision it as a cold salad instead of a hot side dish. And while it was nice with the chicken, the spices made me think it would be even better on the side of barbecued ribs or grilled lamb.

Hold that thought until May...