Monday Archive: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers

When I was sitting at my desk at work thinking about what recipe to highlight for today’s Monday Archive (because, I’ll be honest, I spend a decent amount of time using leftover brainpower at work to think about food), I knew I wanted to feature a favorite one, re-done, to see if I still liked it as much as I used to. And, given that I haven’t made a veggie burger in forever and given that this recipe is the one recipe even my mother made on her own (mom’s approval, what could be better?), I decided to go with the Sweet Potato and Black Bean burgers of January 2009.

But before I get to the burgers, how about a running interlude? Last March I was on the path to actually get in shape, with the birthday 5-miler and all, but life got a little crazy and I backed off on the training. Honestly, I think that was a good decision–as much as I hated losing the fitness level I was at, I really needed to regroup to finish writing my thesis, work full-time while in graduate school, and deal with the little bumps and fissures life makes. But, post-move, post-school, post-the-intense-craziness-I’ve-been-dealing-with, it’s time to get in shape, it’s time to get my act together.

Race start (photo credit: Mountain Junkies)

For the past month I’ve been running every other day, focusing on minutes and not mileage in order to get my legs used to the road (shin splints suck. So much.). And it’s been rough. The last time I ran, I ran on the Roanoke Greenway, a flat flat flat pedestrian/bicycle path that winds around Roanoke. Yup, a flat path in Roanoke for Pedestrians only–pretty nifty, no? But now that I live back in the nice, residential part of town (Grandin), I’m happier running on the roads. And guess what–the roads are a lot hillier than the Greenway. Huh. Who would have guessed. So running for 20 minutes on the road is a lot harder than running 20 minutes on the Greenway, and I lost sight of it ever getting better.

But thanks to the Mountain Junkies Fab 5K, I know it did get better–and I got better. I set a PR for a 5K (though I only have 2 other 5Ks to judge that off of) with a time of 33:09. For all you runners out there, ok, yeah, that’s incredibly slow for a flat race with an overall elevation gain of 40 feet (something like that–the organizers weren’t kidding when they advertised it as the flattest trail run in the area). Mostly on gravel roads, grass, or paths, the race looped around Green Hill Park, and although it avoided some of the great running/biking woodsy trails, the flatness gave me a good idea of how my time had improved over the last month and some change. On the roads, I’ve been averaging 11-13 minute miles. Slow, slower, slowest. In the race, I kept a solid pace of 10:45 and under and didn’t stop to walk once. Hallelujah, there’s some fitness in sight and I might just get there. And with a 19 out of 35 in my age category and 114 overall, I’m really darn happy with my middle of the road results. I really thought it’d go a lot worse and in the end I was pleasantly surprised.

But back to the burgers. Are they still amazing? Yes. Did I do much to change the recipe? Nope. Just some notes for how I did make the burgers: the sweet potatoes were scrubbed, poked with a fork, and microwaved until tender, then mixed with the cooked quinoa, black beans, and vegetable mixture. I added in a cup or so of panko break crumbs, stirred it all together, and formed the mixture into 1/2 c patties. Then I put them on a lined baking sheet and placed them in the freezer to freeze individually. After freezing them, I wrapped them individually in saran wrap, put them in a bag, and put them back in the freezer to enjoy when so desired. Served on an onion bun with some veganaise, lettuce, and homegrown Purple Cherokee tomato slices, they’re a little bit of late summer heaven.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers

Originally published January 2009

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 15 oz can black beans
2-3 cooked sweet potatoes, skin removed
1 c cooked quinoa
1 c panko break crumbs (or gluten-free substitute)

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add carrots and garlic, cook until soft (5-6 minutes). Add the spices and chipotle in adobo and stir to combine.

Place skillet mixture in large bowl with remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. If mixture is too moist, add more panko. Form into patties. Cook what you need on a George Forman Grill, in a skillet with a little oil, or in the oven at 350 degrees. Wrap the rest in saran wrap and freeze until needed.

7 Responses to “Monday Archive: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers”
  1. Black bean burgers any which way are always fine by me! These look exceptionally delicious. I love the color they get!

    And I also love reading about your running adventures. I am not a runner, but I admire those who are!

  2. Gina Gilbert says:

    Hi Jes. Thanks for sharing your race report! We are so glad you came out and played with us Saturday…nice work on the PR! Your Sweet Potato Black Bean burger recipe looks divine! I am going to have to try it. I will have to check out the rest of your recipes…everything looks so good! We hope to see you out the trails again…

    Gina Gilbert
    Mountain Junkies LLC

  3. Barbara says:

    I am so in a burger-frame-of-mind these days, Jes, and this recipe looks mouth-watering. I love the addition of sweet potatoes with the black beans – yum!

  4. Jessica says:

    Sweet potatoes and black beans are one of my favorite combos. I’ll have to try your recipe.

    Good work on the run! Your time sounds great to me. I’ve just started running and can’t quite run for 33 minutes at all… but I hear you on how much more difficult even a few little hills can be!

  5. Beth says:

    Wow, this burger looks really tasty—I’ll have to give it a try.

    Good for you getting back to running! I know the Grandin neighborhood quite well, as my husband grew up there and when his parents were still living, we used to visit and take long walks around there. Wonderful place to walk…and to run!

  6. This looks awesome! I am so glad you still do vegan recipes! 🙂

  7. chow vegan says:

    Yum, love the thickness of that burger! Congratulations on your PR! Slow and steady is fine as long as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself. I was always happy to just finish the fun run. 🙂

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