Southwest Sweet Potato Bean Burger

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Two sweet potato bean burgers topped with avocado on blue plates
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.

Two burgers on blue plates and a potted cactus
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.

Michael using a cheese grater to shred a sweet potato
Megan mixing the ingredients for sweet potato and black bean burgers on a plate
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.

Megan slicing buns in half for burgers
Two sweet potato and bean burgers in a cast iron skillet over a campfire
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.

Two burgers on blue plates and a potted cactus

Sweet potato and bean burger on a plate

Southwest Sweet Potato Bean Burger

Author: Fresh Off the Grid
4.41 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
4 burgers



  • 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
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ 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.

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 300kcal
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Main Course
Camping, Grilled

Cast iron skillet
Bowl or large plate
Sharp knife
Cutting board

Sweet potato and bean burger on a plate

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Tis’ the season!

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a camper, hiker, or outdoors-loving person on your list, you’ve hit the jackpot! We have a gift guide for everyone, so take a look and find the perfect gift.

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    1. Good question! We drained the beans before adding them – I’ll update the recipe to clarify. Thanks Ellen!

  1. This might be a stupid question but are you grating a uncooked sweet potato or one that has already been cooked?

    1. Thanks for asking! It’s an uncooked sweet potato. Since it contains so much moisture on it’s own, it sort of steam cooks while the burger is on the grill.

  2. Ooohh! I had never thought about grating the potato instead of just mashing it!! I’ll swap out the egg for a vegan flax version and this will be killer! 😀

    1. I was wondering how this would do with a flax egg – please report back if you end up trying it! I’d love to hear how it turns out.

  3. These looks so good! I will have to give them a try soon 😀
    Do you think I could use bread crumbs instead of panko? (I can’t seem to find them here in Berlin)

    1. Thanks Kortney! I’d bet that bread crumbs would work instead of panko, as long as they aren’t super fine – though you might need to tweak the measurements. Or, if you make your own (whir some slightly stale bread in a food processor to make the crumbs and then bake for a few minutes to crisp them up) and I think those you could swap out without any tweaks. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

  4. These burgers look incredible, will have to get these on the BBQ once the sun comes out 🙂


  5. I love your blog! Gorgeous photos and great recipes as you travel. My husband and I love camping and I always looked forward to whipping up something for meal time. It’s been too long 🙁 Thank you for sharing your journey, can’t wait to see what is next!

    1. Cooking is definitely one of our favorite things about camping. Is it just me, or does everything taste just a little bit better when eaten outdoors?!

      1. i think everything taste better when you are having fun and with people who make you HAPPY 🙂

  6. These sweet potato burgers looks super delish! I love how much flavor you packed into each one!

    Seeing the inside of the Shasta trailer with the vintage S magazine holder reminds me of the cutest little ’67, 15 foot Shasta trailer I used to have! Kicking myself for selling it when we moved! At least I know see there is a place I can stay the night in one for fun. xx

    1. Oh man… that is the exact type of trailer we’re now keeping an eye out for! We’d been thinking of it before staying here, but this really sealed the deal. Perfect combo of camping & a few conveniences 🙂

  7. 52 years old, and this is my first blog comment. I just have to say we have tried EVERY burger alternative out there and this is BY FAR the BEST one we’ve ever had. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. Karen, thank you so much for your comment, we really appreciate hearing from you! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this recipe! 🙂 Cheers.

  8. I made these for dinner tonight. They were delicious! I will definitely make these again.

  9. Jaime Robinson says:

    Do you know how long these would keep if made ahead of time?

    1. We haven’t tried it, but we would assume if they were refrigerated (or kept in a cooler) they would last for about 2-3 days.

  10. Sandy Perez says:

    Very tasty though not firm enough on inside of burger. Has anyone tried freezing the patties (raw) and grilling them later. I do that with beef burgers.3 stars

    1. Thanks for the feedback. We’re sorry these weren’t what you were hoping for. We’ve never been able to get any bean burger to be truly firm on the inside, so we’ve just embraced the tender insides. But we’ll keep at it.