Combining healthy sweet potato and bean patties with smokey southwestern spices, these vegetarian burgers are the perfect excuse to fire up the grill!
We’ve had our share of unmemorable vegetarian burgers in the past. Ones that are a little too dry in texture and a little too understated in flavor. Not bad, especially for a veggie burger, but definitely not great. We felt we could do better.
We wanted to make a veggie burger that wouldn’t need the qualifier “they’re good, for a veggie burger.” So we retooled one of our old recipes and revised the ratios until we got the taste and texture just right. After working on a couple of versions, we can now say with confidence these southwestern burgers are great burgers. Period.
In order to get the consistency right, we made them from shredded sweet potato, mashed white beans, and panko breadcrumbs, which produces a firm texture that has some chew to it. As for the flavor, we loaded them up with our favorite southwestern seasonings, like cumin, coriander, and smokey New Mexican chili powder to give the burgers some real character. Altogether they offer a satisfying burger experience that even the most reluctant vegetarians will enjoy.
Another thing that’s great about this recipe is it can be prepared ahead of time or made from scratch on location. If you’re making a lot of burgers for a large group, we might suggest getting little assistance from a food processor at home, but for 2-4 people it’s no big deal to make them at the campsite day-of.
We cooked this meal during our stay at The Holidays in San Clemente, CA. To read more about this amazing vintage trailer camp community, check out our article about it here.
Southwest Sweet Potato Bean Burger
1 medium sweet potato (peeled if desired)
15 oz can small white beans (drained)
1 tbsp egg (lightly beaten OR 1 flax egg (1 ground flax + 3 tbsp hot water))
1 cup panko
1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon oil
4 hamburger buns (toasted over the campfire if desired)
1 avocado (sliced)
Optional: (Sliced red onions, cheese (we used a Feta dip from Trader Joe’s and it was amazing), greens, spicy mayo, etc.)
SHRED THE POTATO: Using a hand held cheese grater, grate the potato using the small holes. If prepping at home, you can also do this using a grater attachment in your food processor.
CREATE A DOUGH: Once the potato is grated, place in a bowl or on a large plate and add the beans. Using the back of a fork, mash the beans and incorporate the grated sweet potato. Once you have a fairly smooth dough, mix in the egg and spices. If prepping at home, this can be done in your food processor as well. Mix in the panko (do this with a spoon, instead of using your food processor), and allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.
FORM THE PATTIES: To form patties, take 1/4 of the mixture and form a ball, squeezing it all together with your hands. Then, flatten the ball into a patty about 3/4 inch thick. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the mixture to form 4 patties total.
COOK THE BURGERS: These can be cooked on a grill or in a skillet, but we vastly prefer the skillet method. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the patties and cook 4-5 minutes on each side, until the outsides are crispy and the insides are cooked through but still slightly tender. Alternatively, you can cook them directly on your grill by brushing a bit of oil over each side to prevent sticking, though we do find that patties cooked this way are a little drier (but they do get that great campfire-smoked flavor!)
ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: Build your burger by assembling the bun, patties, avocado slices and any desired toppings. Enjoy!
Updated 5/11: Our friend KJ at Om Nom Herbivore tested this out using a flax egg to make the patties vegan-friendly and the substitution worked beautifully.