Sweet potato and black bean burgers

It’s 4th July, so Happy Independence Day to all my American friends and blog readers.  4th July always makes me think of BBQs and parties outdoors, and as summer has truly hit Northern Europe, it seemed the perfect time to share this delicious veggie burger recipe.

Although, there may be a time soon that I can’t connect the word ‘burger’ with something that doesn’t contain meat. There is an on-going debate about how using something previously connected with meat might mislead consumers, even when prefaced with the word ‘veggie’, ‘vegan’ or as I have done above ‘sweet potato and black bean’. However, I give people more credit than that – it seems pretty obvious to me! I think that’s just an excuse for make it harder for veg-based alternatives to get to market. There’s such an increase in plant-based eating, some sectors of the market are feeling more than a little threatened…..!

Anyway, back to the recipe. I love this burger for two reasons. The first, and most important, is that it tastes absolutely delicious. In fact, when I served them at a BBQ recently, a friend declared it was the best veggie burger he had eaten. Praise indeed! The second thing is that they are packed full of healthy and satisfying rainbow nutrients and are packed with protein and fibre too. I love to cook with black beans as their skin contains power purple pigments (so they’re not really black) that have great anti-oxidant effects.

Up until now, I’ve always found cooking plant-based burgers on the BBQ a bit of a challenge – or more accurately, impossible – without them falling apart. That was until we discovered non-stick BBQ grill mesh. It’s genius! Just place over the BBQ grill (never direct on the coals), pop the veggie burgers on top and they cook away without disintegrating. The mat also makes it easy to turn them too. If you’ve not discovered these, check out this link on Amazon to find out more. It’s definitely going to make our plant-based summer BBQing easier!

One of the downsides of making your own veggie burgers is time. This recipe does have a few component parts that need to come together. If you have time, then do them all at once, but if not then plan ahead. Prepare the rice and sweet potato the day before and make sure you include enough chilling time. Alternatively, really plan ahead and make a batch for the freezer, or double the amount, popping the second lot in the freezer.  But don’t just stack them all together in one pot otherwise you’ll have to defrost the whole lot in one go. Rather, lay out the burgers on a baking tray and pop that in the freezer. When nice and hard, remove the tray and transfer them to a container, then pop back in the freezer. It will be much easier to remove one or two at a time.

As I don’t eat bread, I like to serve these burgers in a big lettuce leaf, just so I can eat it with my hands and all the normal toppings. If you’re ok with bread, then go for a burger bun of your choice, or just have it straight up on a plate with salad and potato wedges.

Do let me know if you whip up a batch of these yummy sweet potato and black bean burgers. I’d love to hear how you get on – a photo of your BBQ celebrations would be even better! Enjoy.

Sweet potato and black bean burgers

A delicious, slightly spicy veggie burger that is packed full of rainbow nutrients. Cooks well in the oven and on the BBQ. Freezes well.
Course Main Course
Servings 8 burgers


  • 50 grams wholegrain rice
  • 350 grams sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion red or white
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 400 grams tinned black beans rinsed and drained
  • 50 grams oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the rice in a pan with 375ml water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed. Put to one side to cool. (This can be done earlier or the day before and kept in the fridge).
  • Steam the sweet potato until soft. Put to one side to cool (this can be done earlier or the day before.
  • Finely chopped the onion then sauté in a small pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Finely grate the garlic then add to the pan once the onion starts to soften. Cook for another minute then turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Tip the cooked sweet potato, rice, onion, garlic, fresh coriander, black beans, spices and seasoning into a food processor and pulse a few times to mash it all up. Add the oats and blend again - don't over blend as you want to return a litlle texture.
  • Taste the mix and add more seasoning or spices as desired.
  • Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper or a silicon mat onto a large baking sheet. Take a heaped tablespoon of burger mix and form into a large round patty (I used a round mold to make it easier). Repeat until you have 8 burgers on the sheet. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn and bake again for another 10 or until the burgers are firm and lightly browned. Alternatively, cook on a prepared BBQ using a grill sheet as mentioned above.
Keyword BBQ, bean burger, summer, vegan burger, veggie burger

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