A couple of years ago, My Vegan Friend Mike turned me onto this recipe for black bean burgers from Emily Malone over at Daily Garnish, effectively setting into motion two things: 1) my unhealthy hatred-via-jealously obsession with this decidedly superior Emily, who I had determined was put on this planet solely for my misery, and 2) my love of homemade black bean burgers.
Clearly, I have issues.
Happily, Emily and I have since resolved things in our relationship (if you count a long-winded email in which I confess to her by just how much she’s kicking my ass at Emilyness — and a reply email that begins with something along the lines of “well, this is not an email I get everyday…” — as resolved) leaving me to focus only on the latter, and far more enjoyable outcome of Mike’s fateful referral: the burgers.
(But before we go on, I do have to say that Emily seems to be a lovely young woman who, frustratingly at times, just happens to have it all together. If you’re a bigger person than me — and you’ve got to be, because come on, who else obsesses over a fellow food blogger with this much gusto? — you’ll adore following her daily musings on food, fitness and family life in the Pacific Northwest. She’s really quite a sweetheart, so please check her out.)
Ok, now where were we? Oh yes. The burgers.
I’ve been making a version of Emily’s stellar black bean burgers in pretty heavy rotation for the past year or so, swapping out nuts or spices as they’re available but keeping the same basic ratios. And they’re awesome. But last week, while I was pulling together a vegetarian spread for a little Stella & Dot soirée at my place, I decided to really push the envelope and invite a newbie to get friendly with my bean burger.
I’d draw out the drama a bit longer, but given the title of this post, you little smarties put two-and-two together long ago, so let’s just get on with the show.
It was sweet potatoes, ok? I added sweet potatoes.
Now I will say — adding sweet potatoes, which seem to be little moister, even, than black beans, does bump up the cooking time. Even for these little slider patties, they still took 25-30 mins per side in a 300-degree oven, and they’ll fight you a little while being flipped, I’ll admit. But do me a favor: don’t worry about it if they get a little mushed in the process. Just lightly tap them back into patty shape with your spatula or the back of a spoon and they’ll be just fine. I promise.
I’ll also tell you now (and in the notes, as well, since it seems that relevant) that while the buns I used here are certainly photogenic, I’d probably shoot for something a little softer the second time around. Perhaps a Hawaiian roll or mini brioche bun, if you’re so lucky. And Lordy, I hope you are.
Belated thanks to Ms. Malone for turning me on to the joy of the bean burger sensation — and, quite frankly, for making me face the green-eyed monster head-on. When it comes down to it, jealousy is such a bitter, draining emotion, it’s a wonder I ever used to make time for it.
Particularly when I can use that time to eat, instead.
Because that tastes so much better.
Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Sliders w/ Sweet-Tart Tzatziki
By Emily Stoffel (adapted from Emily at Daily Garnish)
Cook time: 1 hr 20 mins | Makes 20 sliders
Note: My favorite method for baking sweet potatoes is borrowed from She Wears Many Hats. It’s as easy as tossing halved sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt and baking them, cut side down, on a parchment lined sheet pan in a 350F oven for 35 minutes. As for the burgers, this recipe works just as well with full-sized patties, too; you’ll get about six from one recipe. Just increase baking time accordingly, up to 40 mins per side. Regardless of size, pre-baked burgers keep well in the fridge or freezer. Just warm them in a microwave, on the grill or in the oven until they’re heated through. Finally, the buns I used here are from Trader Joe’s. Perfect for presentation, a little lacking in the taste/texture department. Shoot for a Hawaiian roll, a soft pretzel bun or a baby brioche bun, if possible. Finally FINALLY, the burger patties are vegan. The sauce is not. Swap the tzatziki for regular ol’ ketchup and you’re good to go.
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup walnuts, raw or toasted
- 1 cup, packed, baked sweet potato, skin removed (about 2.5 small sweet potatoes – see note)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp Turkish oregano (Mexican will do, too, in a pinch)
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- dash nutmeg
- plenty of cracked black pepper
20 slider buns or small Hawaiian rolls
2 roasted red peppers, homemade or jarred, cut to slider size
sliced pickles, cut to slider size
Sweet-Tart Tzatziki Sauce (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 300F. To a large food processor, add breadcrumbs and walnuts. Pulse until nuts are finely ground into breadcrumbs. Add grated carrots and pulse again until mixture is coarsely ground. Add sweet potato, all spices and 1/2 of the rinsed and drained black beans and process until mixture is almost smooth. It will seem a little wet. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the remaining whole black beans.
With damp hands, if necessary, form mixture into 20 balls and arrange on a two baking sheets with room to spare. Gently press each ball into a patty no thicker than 1/2″. Bake patties until a substantial crust forms, about 30 minutes per side. (Note that insides will remain soft. As mentioned in the post above, don’t be discouraged if they get a little smooshed or misshapen while flipping — just gently push them back into patty shape with your spatula.)
Allow cooked patties to cool several minutes before transferring. Meanwhile, preheat broiler.
Lightly oil tops and bottoms of slider buns and broil until just toasted. Dollop bottom buns with tzatziki sauce, then layer each with a slider patty, baby greens, pickle, roasted pepper and more tzatziki. Add top bun and insert a toothpick or sandwich pick, if desired. Enjoy!
Sweet-Tart Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 2 Persian cucumbers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- handful mint leaves, finely chopped (about 15 leaves)
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp agave
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice to taste
- black pepper to taste
Add cucumbers and garlic to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to medium bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt to mixture and let sit for 10 minutes, drawing water out of cucumbers. After 10 minutes, tilt bowl and drain off water, pressing cucumbers to extract as much liquid as possible. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining 1/2 tsp salt, to bowl and stir to combine, seasoning to taste with lemon and pepper.