This sweet potato black bean veggie burger recipe is a hit with vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The leftovers are fantastic and it’s also great for meal prepping since the burgers freeze well too!
When Local 27101 opened up in Winston-Salem a few years ago, I was probably one of the first customers in the door – ready to taste test the entire menu. In fact, I walked out of that restaurant a raving fan and it was always on my top recommendations for friends and family visiting the area.
They especially had great beef burgers, amazing salads, fantastic sweet potato fries, and, surprisingly, a really really great veggie burger. While most restaurants in town offer a veggie burger, it’s usually some national brand freezer burger that is pretty crappy. But after I heard Local makes their veggie burgers in-house, I gave it a try. And it quickly became my go-to.
Since I don’t head to Local as often these days now that I’m a mom, I attempted to created a version at home and I think it’s pretty darn close. This is the perfect meal to cook for your plant-based friends or family because these burgers are vegetarian and gluten-free. There is also a vegan option below and notes about gluten-free adjustments noted as well! In fact, even meat eaters, my husband included, love these. The burgers also freeze beautifully which makes weekday lunches or dinners a breeze.
So let’s hop to the recipe, shall we?
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
Not only is this Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burgers Recipe delicious but it’s super healthy for you, too. In addition, there is just something about the combination of black beans and sweet potatoes that make a really yummy meal.
This recipe makes 7-8 burgers, depending on the patty size you form. But if you want to make veggie sliders, just form them to about half the size you would a regular-sized burger patty.
Here’s what you need:
Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers
Makes 4 large patties
1 cup cooked black beans (drained and rinsed well if using canned)
1 medium baked sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, ground to a coarse flour (you could also use bread crumbs if you wanted)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 red onion, shredded on a cheese grater or in a food processor
2–3 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is great too!)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup feta
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Let’s quickly talk about the nutrition and health benefits of some of these ingredients:
Black Beans are packed with soluble (and insoluble) fiber, folate, potassium, and protein. Not to mention the magnesium levels which provide protection for your bones and the resistant starch that can act as a prebiotic. In fact these beans are a powerhouse of nutrition.
Sweet Potatoes are just the best. Not only are they delicious but they are filled with minerals, fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients. They contain a high amount of Vitamin A which helps with our eyesight, immunity, and also cellular growth. They’re my favorite form of carbs too.
Oats are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants – including manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin B1. They also contain a soluble fiber that reduces blood sugar levels, increases fullness, and maintains good bacteria in the gut.
Red Onions are more beneficial than you think for such a staple food item. Onions contain antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory effects, and also have sulfur-containing compounds that protect against cancers. FYI, red and yellow onions are richer in antioxidants compared to other onions.
Turmeric is a little superpower of a spice. If you can sneak it your recipes, then you definitely should! It’s so amazing. It has powerful medicinal properties with strong antioxidants and high anti-inflammatory effects. This is largely due to an important compound known as curcumin.
Feta cheese provides a sharp, saltiness that pairs beautifully with the sweet potatoes. It’s made from Sheep’s milk, which many people tolerate better than cow’s milk cheeses.
Nutritional Yeast is as nutritious as its name suggests. This yeast is actually a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids that we need. It also is packed with plenty of B Vitamins to keep you going and contains anywhere from 30–180% of the RDI depending on the quality. You’ll use this in place of the feta if you want to make them vegan!
Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, paprika, turmeric and oregano in a small bowl. all the spices in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, use a potato masher to mash one cup cooked beans until you have a thick paste with some whole beans (or larger pieces) left.
Add the spices, ground oats, egg, onion, and hot sauce to the bowl with the mashed black beans then combine well.
Add the diced sweet potato and feta then gently fold in. Also careful not to mash the sweet potato.
Using a measuring cup, scoop a heaping ½ cup of the mixture then place into your hand. Flatten and form into a large patty. You should have 4 large patties. But if you have extra mixture, just make an extra 5th small burger!
Preheat a large skillet over medium/medium high heat with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. You want enough to coat the bottom of the pan (but not in a thick layer). (I recommend a cast iron skillet.) Note that cooking spray generally isn’t enough to prevent these from sticking if you’re using cast iron! And, it also doesn’t give the burgers the crispy texture I love.
Using a large spatula, gently move the patties to the pre-heated pan. Allow burgers to cook undisturbed for 3-5 minutes until a crust starts to form on the bottom. Carefully flip the burgers to cook on the other side, 2-4 minutes. Then add more oil to help cook on the other side if needed.
When cooked through, serve immediately. Wait 30 minutes and they’re just not as great!
Variations and Tips
Cooking your Sweet Potato
I bake sweet potatoes or cook a big batch of whole sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot at the beginning of each week since I use them so often. But if you don’t have any cooked sweet potatoes on hand, you could also boil them, dice and roast them or even microwave them whole (don’t forget to stab a few holes in it!) to make them more quickly. Then just peel and dice. Perfection isn’t important here – just tenderness!
Feel free to add 1-2 teaspoons of minced fresh garlic to the mixture in Step 3. I’m not a huge garlic lover but many people love the combination of onions and garlic in burgers, so of course, add it if you like it!
I don’t recommend using onion powder in place of the fresh onion since it changes the texture (and the flavor) that can cause crumbliness. Carefully flipping is also very important, after letting them cook undisturbed on the first side. You want to create a crust that helps them hold together before flipping.
Leftover Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
If I want to save the burger patty mix to cook them at a later date, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. When I am ready to use them, I try and let them thaw in the fridge if I have that much foresight to remember to take them out of the freezer and reheat in a pan. Otherwise, I just microwave them straight from the freezer and they’re just as tasty.
Make them vegan and gluten free
You can substitute Nutritional Yeast for the feta. It will dry the mixture a little so you may just need to add a little water.
To make them gluten free, make sure you buy certified gluten-free oats. Most oats are processed on the same machines as wheat, so you’ll need to get certified gluten-free, particularly if you’re celiac. And to serve, use gluten-free buns (Trader Joe’s often has them in the summer) or a lettuce wrap. And of course, they’re nut free too.
I love eating these Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers over a salad, but they’re also great in a pita, lettuce wrap or on a good ol’ burger bun, too. Or if you want to take pretty photos, some parchment paper makes them look really official ;).
This sweet potato and black bean veggie burger recipe is a hit with vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The leftovers are fantastic and it’s great for meal prepping since the burgers freeze well too!
- 1 cup cooked black beans (drained and rinsed well if using canned)
- 1 medium baked sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, ground to a coarse flour in a food processor or blender
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 red onion, shredded on a cheese grater or in a food processor
- 2–3 dashes hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/3 cup feta
- 2–3 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, paprika, turmeric and oregano in a small bowl. all the spices in a small bowl.
2. In a large bowl, use a potato masher to mash one cup cooked beans until you have a thick paste with some whole beans (or larger pieces) left.
3. Add the spices, ground oats, egg, onion, and hot sauce to the bowl with the mashed black beans and combine well.
4. Add the diced sweet potato and feta and gently fold in, careful not to mash the sweet potato.
5. Using a measuring cup, scoop a heaping ½ cup of the mixture and place into your hand. Flatten and form into a large patty. You should have 4 large patties.
6. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. You want enough to coat the bottom of the pan (but not in a thick layer). (I recommend a cast iron skillet)
7. Using a large spatula, gently move the patties to the pre-heated pan. Allow burgers to cook undisturbed for 3-5 minutes until a crust starts to form on the bottom. Carefully flip the burgers to cook on the other side, 2-4 minutes. Add more oil to help cook on the other side if needed.
8. When cooked through, serve immediately.
If you try these, leave a comment and let me know what you think and also any tweaks you made. It also helps others who try the recipe!
This recipe was originally published in 2016! I tweaked a few things in the recipe to make it even better and the photos also got a major upgrade! Enjoy these old school photos. 😉
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