Sweet Potato Burgers with Curry Pickled Onions

Sweet Potato Burgers

Makes 12, 4” patties


In my mind, veggie burgers are not a replacement for meat burgers, but a delicious meal on their own, right. I like to top them with the classic condiments or make something like the Curry Pickled Onions listed below. Often I cook for people with dietary restrictions and so I’m always on the search for a recipe that doesn’t contain dairy or gluten ingredients. The challenge for dairy and gluten-free burgers is to create a mixture that will hold together in a patty, without the help of eggs or bread crumbs. It turns out that sweet potatoes are the key! Not only do they add sweetness and color, but they also act as a great binder. The other “secret” ingredient is chickpea water, or aquafaba, which when whipped becomes a substance that looks and behaves much like egg whites. It is truly a magic trick. These burgers use chickpeas, but you could substitute any bean you like. If you are not concerned about using eggs, you can also substitute the aquafaba for one egg. (It does not need to be whipped)




3 cups cooked quinoa

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 roasted or steamed sweet potatoes

1 can chickpeas, water reserved (see below)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, cilantro or tarragon would be delicious!)

3/4 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)

½ cup ground oats (or panko bread crumbs, if you’re not worried about gluten)

¼ cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon salt

lots of fresh black pepper (to taste)


3 tablespoons aquafaba from 1 can of chickpeas (you will get more than you need when you drain the beans, reserve the rest for another use or throw away.)

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar


Safflower or other high heat oil, for pan-frying.





Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes. To roast: prick the potatoes with a fork and roast in foil in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until soft. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and put potatoes in a large bowl. You can also steam or boil the potatoes if you prefer.


Add the chopped onion, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and mix to combine. Add chickpeas and mash, with the back of a spoon or potato masher, until at least some of the beans are broken up.  Next add the ground oats or breadcrumbs, corn, and cornmeal, stir to combine. Whip the aquafaba (reserved from your chickpeas) with cream of tartar, using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. It should become foamy and hold medium peaks, like egg whites. Fold this into the burgers and let the mixture sit in the fridge for one hour.


 When you are ready to cook the burgers, heat the oven to 350. Prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper, set aside. Heat a cast-iron skillet or your favorite medium-sized frying pan with 1.5 tablespoons of oil. Make the patties, about 4” in diameter, and no more than ¾” thick, and sear in the hot pan, about 4-5 minutes per side. Place seared burgers on the prepared baking sheets. When all the mixture has been turned into burgers, put the baking sheets into the oven. Bake burgers at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until patties are cooked through. (I usually cut one in half to check, if it still feels “doughy” give it a few more minutes in the oven.)


Curried Pickled Onions

Makes about 1 cup


1 medium onion, yellow or white is fine

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon tumeric 

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

fresh ground pepper, to taste


Cut the onion in half and slice thin, in "1/2 moons". Put the remaining ingredients in a small pot and boil for 2 minutes or so. Put onions in the brine and let them sit for at least 2 hours, or up to one week. Eat on everything!





Sweet Potato Burger with Curry Pickled Onions
Curry Pickled Onions