Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat a burger and fries every day? Well, with this recipe, you might just be able to get away with it.
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you need to put burger season behind you. With sweet potatoes in peak season between now and December, it’s a great time to make these superfoods the focal point of some of your entrees. In this recipe, sweet potatoes are the main ingredient for both the burger and the “fries.”
Why veggie burgers?
Some meat products can be a healthy part of a whole foods diet, offering a great source of protein, iron, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6, among other things.
But here’s the rub: most of the factory-farmed meat choices in America — burgers included — are a far cry from healthy. Apart from the inhumane, unhygienic treatment of cows and environmental degradation, your conventional burger probably contains growth hormones and antibiotics that go straight into your system.
It should come as no surprise to you that prolonged consumption of these processed meats can lead to a number of health issues, including antibiotic resistance, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome and heart failure. And yes, we already know that processed meats are carcinogenic and cause cancer, thanks to an official announcement by the World Health Organization last year.
So how can you reduce your risk? Two ways. First, choose meat sourced reliably. That means organic, free-range, grass-fed and antibiotic-free options. Second, lessen your dependence on meat products in general. This recipe will help you do just that.
Health benefits of sweet potatoes
Just like lean meat products, sweet potatoes contain iron and vitamin B6, so they make a great base for this homemade veggie burger recipe. As an added boost, sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium and potassium, keeping your major organs functioning properly.
And that’s not all. Sweet potatoes come with a generous dose of carotenoids like beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. Just one single-cup serving provides more than 200 percent of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin A is important in the role of disease prevention, especially for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and several types of cancer.
In a 2015 study, researchers found that vitamin A activated the HOXA5 gene, which blocks the progress of existing colorectal cancer tumors. In a 2016 study, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that retinoic acid (a compound derived from vitamin A) played an essential role in the suppression of colorectal cancer — on both mice and humans. More research is needed, but so far the results on cancer prevention look promising.
More cancer-fighting ingredients
Now that we’ve gotten our star ingredient out of the way, let’s talk about a few others. You can help keep your cells healthy and prevent oxidative stress with these health-boosting ingredients:
- Broccoli: this is known for being a good source of protein and fiber, which is key for preventing colon cancer and maintaining a happy digestive tract. Broccoli has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
- Onions: these are nothing to cry about — daily consumption of onions has been shown to help reduce the risk of several common cancers, including oral and prostate cancers.
- Black beans: researchers have linked black bean consumption with a reduced risk of mortality from breast, prostate and colon cancers.
- Brown rice: in addition to fiber, brown rice also contains selenium, which has been associated with lowered incidences of colon cancer.
- Turmeric — Research into the preventative power of curcumin (turmeric’s active compound) against cancer is ongoing, but it’s already been shown to kill tumor cells.
Sweet Potato Burgers And ‘Fries’ Recipe
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous, this recipe has something for everyone. This vegetable-based burger is a lighter option to sink your teeth into, but don’t worry, you’ll still get your burger fix. It ticks the boxes in all the right places — gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, paleo, keto, what have you.
This recipe is also a great way to get rid of any unused vegetables at the end of the week. Leftover mushrooms? Toss them in. Extra cauliflower? Sure, the more the merrier. You get the idea.
As always, make sure to source organic ingredients to get the most bang for your buck in the health department. This recipe requires a lot of prep cooking — brown rice, black beans, broccoli and sweet potato. But trust me, it’ll all be worth it.
Time: 1.25 hours
Serves: 3 to 4 (with leftovers)
Makes: 12 to 14 patties
Sweet Potato Burger Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato, mashed
- 1 cup cooked black beans (I prefer unmashed)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice (sub cooked quinoa)
- 1/2 cup washed broccoli
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/4 zucchini, chopped
- 1 garlic bulb, minced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Other spices to taste
- 1 tbs coconut oil
Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients
- 6 sweet potatoes
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Other spices of choice (cajun is amazing!)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Wash and peel sweet potatoes.
3. Cut sweet potatoes into “fry” shapes.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, toss fries with a light layer of coconut oil, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and other spices of choice.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for another 15 minutes until crispy.
6 While fries are cooking, add a light layer of coconut oil to a new baking sheet.
7. Chop vegetables for veggie burgers.
8. Mix burger ingredients in a bowl.
9. Form small balls (about 1/4 cup) and press them into patty shapes onto greased baking sheet. The smaller and thinner the patties are, the faster they will cook.
10. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, then bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.
When ready to serve, go for whole wheat buns, a lettuce wrap or no buns at all. I’ve even seen two portabello mushrooms in place of burger buns, if you’re looking for a low-carb or gluten-free option. These would also taste great with this homemade maple barbecue sauce recipe. Now dig in!
— Hilary Lebow