This healthy, flavor-dense burger recipe features quinoa, adjuki beans, and sweet potato with Mexican (cuisine) flavors. You can pair it with your favorite burger bun (preferably gluten-free) or add to a salad (my favorite) to create a satisfying meal. You can also use these burger patties as a snack.
The great thing about homemade burgers is that you can make multiple batches and freeze for later use--a healthier and cheaper option to buying frozen burgers from grocery stores. This quinoa & adjuki bean burger with sweet potato recipe is kids-, teens-friendly as well.
(Most) Frozen or fast-food burgers are not a good piece of news for your health
Start by reflecting for a moment on the source of your burgers--frozen from grocery stores, pre-prepared from a fast food joint or restaurant, or homemade. In the light of the fact that McDonald's claims to sell about 75 burgers every second, many of us are probably saving time by sourcing burgers from any of the numerous fast food chains. However, there is a high cost associated with eating cheap and quick burger from a fast food chain--YOUR HEALTH. The meat in most fast-food burger brands is highly processed. In fact, an unintended experiment by Mr David Whipple shows that a hamburger from McDonald's can live without aging for 14 years. Yes, it has that many chemicals to preserve it. The processed meat is not only high in chemicals, it is also super high in salt.
This is likely why the processed meat consumption is linked with high incidence of cancer. In fact, The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat, especially red meat, as a carcinogen--a substance that can cause cancer.
If you regularly buy vegan or vegetarian frozen burgers--they also often (but not always) are made with highly processed ingredients. For example, soy protein isolate--a chemically-processed derivative of soy--forms the base of many vegan/vegetarian burgers. The frequent consumption of soy protein isolate is liked with digestive issues. Additionally, most commercially-available frozen burger brands are very high in salt--an ingredient better to eat in moderation, especially if you are over 40.
While the consistent consumption of unhealthy ingredients such as processed meat and too much salt may pose high risk of getting diseases like cancer (over a long period of time), on a day-to-day basis highly processed foods are great energy thieves.
Let's make the Quinoa & Adjuki Bean Burger with Sweet Potato: Step-by-Step
These quinoa and adjuki bean burgers with sweet potato offer a hint of Mexican flavors, plenty of fiber, and benefits of vitamin A-loaded sweet potatoes.
Step 1: Wash the sweet potato and pierce with a knife at a couple of places. Add to an oven-safe dish with 1/4 cup of water and bake at 400°F for about an hour. You can also steam or cook over stove top with just enough water till it becomes mushy. You can also do this step a day ahead of making the burgers and store the baked sweet potato in an air-tight container in refrigerator. Soak the adjuki beans a night before (at least 12-14 hours). (Total Active Time: 7 minutes; Total Inactive Time: 1 Hour for sweet potato and overnight for adjuki beans).
Step 2: Get all the ingredients together. Rinse and cook adjuki beans and quinoa in parallel (see the recipe for cooking the adjuki beans). You can find the detailed method for cooking quinoa HERE (also in the recipe card). While the beans and quinoa are cooking, roughly chop onion and garlic. Cook in small pan over medium heat in small amount of oil (or use the Ditch-the-Oil Cooking Method) till soft and translucent. This last step is completely optional, but I have found that cooking onions and garlic helps other flavors shine in the recipe.
It takes about 30-35 minutes to cook adjuki beans. Cover once the water comes to a boil and then let it cook. Check frequently. Once cooked, the beans should be firm but completely cooked through. The water would evaporate. If any water is left, you can sieve it out. You should be able to mash the kernel of a bean with your fingers--the test for doneness for beans. It is important that both the beans and quinoa are somewhat dry (without any additional water) before mixing with rest of the ingredients. If you find the business of soaking and cooking bean a bit daunting, use one cup of canned red kidney beans (rinsed). It takes about 30-35 minutes to cook the beans, 20 minutes to cook the quinoa, and 10 minutes to cook the onion and garlic. (Active Time: 15 minutes; Inactive Time: 35 minutes)
Step 3: Mix everything together. Bring the cooked quinoa and adjuki beans to room temperature before adding to food processor with cooked (or uncooked) onions, garlic, lime juice, chipotle chili pepper powder, roughly chopped jalapeño pepper, lime zest (optional), salt, flax meal, baked sweet potato, apple cider vinegar, and ground cumin. (Active Time: 5 minutes)
Step 4: Shape the dough into burgers. You can either use the nifty burger press shown in the pic above (and the link below) or use your hands to press the dough. (Active time: 7 minutes, considering you made one batch. more time for multiple batches).
Step 5: Cook the burgers. Add 1/2 tsp of oil per burger to a heavy-bottom (iron) skillet and cook the burger each side for 2-3 minutes. Serve with your favorite burger bun and condiments or over a bed of large salad. (Total time: 7-10 minutes)
Meal plan the quinoa and adjuki bean burger with sweet potato for dinner or lunch
Homemade burgers offer an easy meal solution as they freeze well without losing much nutrition and taste. These burgers offer an easy take-to-work lunch solution and quick dinner on a busy weeknight. Here are some guidelines to meal plan this recipe for quick meals.
- Make multiple batches and freeze what you would not use in five days. These burgers will be fine in your refrigerator for up to five days and for about 4 weeks in your freezer.
- To freeze, arrange the freshly-formed burgers on a cookie tray lined with wax or parchment paper and stick the tray in your freezer for about 1 hours. This step ensures that the burgers hold the shape and are easy to freeze in either a Ziploc freezer bag or a freezer-safe container.
- Take out of freezer a night before and thaw in refrigerator overnight for quick lunch or dinner the next day.
Quinoa & Adjuki Bean Burger with Sweet Potato
- 1/2 cup quinoa (dry) (white variety, can sub with equal amount millet)
- 1/2 cup adjuki beans (dry) (can sub with equal about dry red kidney beans or 1 cup canned)
- 2-1/4 cups water
- 5 tsp avocado oil (divided 1tsp+4 tsp)
- 1 medium onion (~ 1 cup, roughly chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (roughly minced)
- 8 oz sweet potato (~1 medium, baked and peeled)
- 1 jalapeño (seeded and roughly chopped, or to taste)
- 1 tsp chipotle chili pepper powder (or to taste, can sub with red chili powder)
- 1 tsp homemade roasted ground cumin (or sub with store-bought cumin powder)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or sub with white vinegar)
- 1 tbsp flax meal* ( can sub with equal amount ground chia seeds)
- 1-1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lime juice (~1/2 lime)
- 1/2 tsp lime zest (~1/2 lime, use the same lime before juicing, optional)
Cook the Quinoa**
- Rinse quinoa under running water (or pre-soak for at least 1 hour) and add with 1 cup of water to a heavy-bottom pan with 1/8 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat. (About 15 minutes).
Cook the Adjuki Beans
- Soak adjuki beans overnight and rinse before adding to a pan with water and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook till soft, but still hold their shape (about 35 minutes.)
Make the burgers
- Cook the chopped onions and garlic over medium heat till the onion is translucent and cooked through (do this step while quinoa and beans are cooking). This step is optional. You can skip this step and add raw onion and garlic to the burger mix when processing.
- Add cooked quinoa, adjuki beans, cooked onions with rest of the ingredients to a food processor and process till well mixed.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and press into burger shape.
- To cook, heat (not smoke)1/2 tsp of oil on an iron skillet and add the burger patty. Cook about 2-3 minutes each side over medium heat. Serve with your favorite burger bun or over a bed of salad. ENJOY!
- Reduce salt to 1 tsp. It still tastes pretty good.
- I have not tried it yet, but try baking burger patties at 350°F for about 25 minutes to bake instead of cooking with oil.