These vegetarian burgers are packed with black beans, sweet potatoes, and spices for a super flavorful and healthy veggie burger recipe perfect for camping trips, tailgating, or an easy weeknight meal at home.
Camping lunches can be tricky. Who wants to prepare another meal when you’ve barely finished cleaning up breakfast? That is why it’s nice to have a lunch that can (at least partially) be prepared ahead of time.
And for that, these Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers hit the spot!
We shredded the sweet potato, mashed the black beans, beat the egg, and mixed in the panko out at our campsite just to prove that it can be done. However, the smart move is to do all those steps at home, put the mix into a resealable container, and just take it out of your cooler when lunchtime rolls around. Form the patties, cook, and you’re done!
How to make Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
There are two tricks to getting this recipe – or any homemade veggie burger for that matter – to work properly.
The first is to reduce moisture in the raw ingredients. When heated, all that moisture is released, resulting in mushy patties. So after shredding the sweet potato, bundle it up in a cheesecloth and give it a squeeze to wring out any excess water. Or if, at a campsite, just ball it up into your palm of your hand and make a fist.
It’s also a good idea to thoroughly rinse and drain your black beans. This is most easily done with running water and a colander (i.e. at home) but can be accomplished at a campsite with a pot of water and a barely cracked open lid. The goal is for the beans to be as dry as possible.
The second trick is knowing that all panko is not created equally. We’ve tried a few different brands when making bean burgers and our results can vary quite a bit.
In the recipe below, we give measurements for the most common type of panko – Kikkoman panko, but your best bet is to go by feel.
These black bean burgers should have the texture and structure of a ground beef burger.
Firm without crumbling, moist but not wet. Add panko until you reach this ideal texture.
How to cook black bean burgers
While it is possible to grill these bean burgers over charcoals or embers, the abysmal state of most campfire grill grates definitely gives us pause. We prefer to sear them in a cast-iron skillet. This gives the patties more support, less chance of sticking, and the opportunity to be fried with a little bit of oil to form a delicious crunchy exterior.
Ingredients to make black bean burgers
Sweet Potato: Use a box grater to finely shred. Remove excess moisture.
Black Beans: Thoroughly rinse and drain. Remove excess moisture.
Egg: Do not skip this ingredient. This is your binder and it’s literally holding the whole burger together!
Panko: We made this recipe with Kikkoman panko, which can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. If you’re NOT using Kikkoman then add slowly until the desired texture is achieved.
Cast Iron Skillet: One of the most versatile pieces of camp cooking equipment you can own, there is no substitute for a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.
Box Grater: We use this collapsing box grater from OXO because it’s easy to pack along with the rest of our cooking gear.
Resealable Containers: As mentioned previously, making the burger mix at home is the smart play – as you can avoid a lot of cumbersome prep work. Transport the mix using a resealable container with a locking lid. This will prevent them from getting wet from the inevitable melting ice sloshing around in the bottom of your cooler.
→ Learn everything you need to know about how to pack a cooler!
More vegetarian grilling recipes
- Sweet Potato Fajitas
- Mexican Street Corn
- Halloumi Tacos
- Sweet & Savory Grilled Tempeh
- more vegetarian camping meals
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
- 6 burger buns
- Spicy mayo
- Using the small holes on a cheese grater, shred the sweet potato.
- Place the sweet potato in a bowl with the drained black beans. Using the back of a fork, mash the beans with the sweet potato.(If preparing at home, the above steps can be done in a food processor with a grater attachment).
- Once you have a fairly smooth mixture, add the egg and the spices and stir to incorporate.
- Add the panko and stir to combine with the bean and sweet potato mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- To form the patties, take about ¼ cup of the mixture and form a ball, pressing the mixture together with your hands. Flatten the ball into a patty about 3/4 inch thick. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the mixture to form 6 patties total.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the patties and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until the outside is crisp and the inside is cooked through but still tender. Grill the buns, if desired.
- To serve, spread spicy mayo on the buns, then layer in the burger patty, avocado, and any other toppings or condiments you enjoy.