Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekly Recipe: Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers

I think I've finally found a good dinnertime routine that allows me to escape the overwhelmed feeling.  I'm not sure if it's because I've learned to only select recipes that are fairly quick, if it's because I shaved a good 15-20 minutes off my commute, or if I've just gotten more immune to it, but I'm totally digging it!  Hello?  It only took me 5 years.  Better late than never!
In our continuing quest towards a vegan diet, I'm always looking for entree selections.  The side dishes are a dime a dozen but my family still desires a traditional main dish, 2 side plate (or maybe that's just me!).  Veggie burgers are everywhere in the blogosphere but I'm partial to the ones containing sweet potatoes for some reason.  I think it's because Shaun T told Doctor Oz that he thought people should eat sweet potatoes 3 times a day and now that is ingrained in my brain!  I also love the taste of them and the burgers are easy to prepare ahead of time, as are most veggie burgers.
This recipe did not disappoint.  I love that there are so many nutrients packed in each patty.  I was able to sneak in kale without Sawyer protesting but Colin is in the investigative stage and picks apart everything on his plate before eating it.  Never fear, he generally still eats it all but he's not crazy about things he can't separate, including this burger.  
I do wish they got a little more firm upon baking but having had lots of experience with this type of burger, I know there probably wasn't enough dry ingredients to soak up all the moisture from the sweet potatoes.  I'm not one to add a bunch of filler for the sake of adding it but maybe some wheat germ or flax meal would help the cause.  I also made these up the day before, baked them first, and then finished them in the skillet.  Again, a lot of practice has proved this to be the best way for me.  And don't skip the onion topping, they really take it to the next level and give that little crunch.  
Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers
from: The Tolerant Vegan
  • 2 cups peeled, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or another vegan butter substitute
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus a sprinkle for the onion topping)
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 buns of your choice

  1. To make the burgers, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Since sweet potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, I opted to include a measurement of the potatoes already cooked and mashed rather than a total number of sweet potatoes to use. I ended up using three small potatoes for this recipe. I microwaved them until soft, then removed the skin and mashed them with a fork in a large bowl.
  3. While your potatoes are cooking, bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan.
  4. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover the saucepan, allowing the quinoa to cook for 8-10 minutes. Check the quinoa every couple of minutes since stove temperatures vary. It may cook faster or slower than expected. You’ll know it’s done when the water is almost gone from the pan and the quinoa appears to be nearly transparent instead of its original whitish color.
  5. Remove the quinoa from the stove and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  6. In a separate saucepan, or in a microwave, melt 1 tablespoon of the vegan butter.
  7. Stir in 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and the cayenne pepper.
  8. Stir the maple syrup sauce in with the mashed sweet potatoes
  9. Then stir in the the cooked quinoa, pecans, kale and sea salt.
  10. Form the mixture into four patties and place on a baking sheet.  (I refrigerated mine overnight.)
  11. Bake for 45 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.  (I then quickly pan fried them for about 5 minutes on each side to try to give them a little more texture.)
  12. When the burgers have around 15 minutes left to cook, make the onion topping by first roughly chopping the Vidalia onion.
  13. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegan butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
  14. Add the onion to the melted butter
  15. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  16. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  17. Turn the heat down to low and pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
  18. Stir continuously as the onions continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
  19. Remove the onion mixture from the heat and spoon over the tops of the burgers once they have finished baking.

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