The veggie burger has become ubiquitous as the vegetarian option of choice for many bars and low-key restaurants. As a sports fan, I appreciate a place where I can watch a game and enjoy a “non-meat” meal. Enter the veggie burger. Here’s what I don’t understand though, why do so many restaurants serve these mushy patties filled with peas and carrots that don’t even come close to resembling a burger? I love peas and carrots, quite a bit actually, but in a burger? Absolutely not. Why not just serve a vegetable sandwich…
I made my ideal sports bar fare the other night – a veggie burger that tastes and feels like I’m eating a real burger (smoky, hearty, solid texture, spicy and definitely without green or orange things falling out). I added some sweet potato fries and sautéed spinach because in a perfect world, this is what every low-key restaurant and bar would serve.
Black Bean Veggie Burger with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
**I served the burger on grilled whole grain toast with a roasted red pepper hummus, grilled onions and romaine lettuce.
- 1 15oz. can of no-salt-added black beans, rinsed well and drained
- ½ white onion
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 350. Mash beans in a bowl, you want it pretty smooth but not completely. Set aside. Place onion and red pepper in a processor and pulse until smooth (if you do not have a processor, skip this step and just finely chop the peppers and onions). Combine the vegetables, hot sauce, cayenne and egg with the beans. Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Form mixture into 4 patties. Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray lightly with a cooking spray or oil. Place patties on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes; flipping once. Remove from oven. In a skillet, heat sunflower oil. Place patties in pan and brown each side, about 2 minutes total.
* To make this gluten free you could easily replace the breadcrumbs with a gluten free flour such as brown rice or chickpea.
Sweet Potato Fries
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 8 wedges. In a large bowl, combine the cut potatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Toss until potatoes are evenly coated. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through – about 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds spinach, trimmed, well washed, and dried
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a sauté pan, heat oil over high heat until very hot. Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 to 2 minutes; the spinach should turn bright green and wilt slightly. Remove spinach from heat, sprinkle with black pepper.
- Black Beans: Extremely high in fiber, protein and antioxidants.
- Sweet Potatoes: Rich in Vitamin A and C. Both Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to remove free radicals (free radicals are chemicals that damage cells).
- Spinach: An excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.