Black Bean, Quinoa, Kale and Sweet Potato Burgers... or lets just call it The Superfood Burger!!!

My carnivore family never ceases to surprise me. While they salivate at the mere mention of meat or fish, they are equally happy chomping down veggies. Surprisingly, when it comes to burgers, both the dad and  his son prefers veggie burgers as opposed to meaty ones. Specially,when it's homemade. It might also stem from the fact that I invariably overcook my meat patties, making them dry and flavorless. But the bottom line is all three of us love... love... love a good veggie burger.

And we also love the word 'LOVE'. We say it often.

Our love affair with veggie burgers stated by sampling at Costco. We have had horrid experience with veggie burgers in the past. I am taking about the soy variety, where they try too hard to mimic the meat texture, resulting in a funny tasting junk, which does no good to your body, despite having the word 'Soy' listed as a key ingredient. I once had a black bean burger at Chilies which was too dry. I literally had to sip my drink after every bite to swallow. So honestly, I had my reservations about veggie burgers. But of late, the market is swamped with some really good choices. Personally, I love Dr. Praegers brand of veggie burger. And this particular recipe was inspired by my favorite Kale Veggie Burgers from Dr. Praegers.

Technically, this burger should be called Black Bean, Quinoa, Kale and Sweet Potato Burger. But just look at the ingredients. Protein rich black bean and quinoa. Complex carbohydrates too. Antioxidants and flavonoids and host of other vitamins and nutrients from kale and sweet potatoes.

Doesn't it deserve to be called The Superfood Burger!!!

My pet peeve with most veggie burger, especially those having beans as the base, is that they are tad dry. While researching for my Tofu Burgers, I found that if you sweat your veggies with seasonings before mixing, it provides the much needed moisture. So instead of simply adding the chopped kale, I sauteed it with garlic, before mixing with the mashed beans.

The black beans provides the structure for this burger, while quinoa acts as the binder. Kale along with garlic, cumin, smoked paprika are the flavor enhancers. Sweet potatoes brings in smoky sweetness and  softness to the burger, making it absolute melt in the mouth. I was worried, that like any other bean based burger, this one might turn out dry.

Oh-My-Gawd!!!... It was divine.

Soft, cheesy, melt-in-the-mouth.
Smoky sweet and strangely meaty.

Whats the next best thing that happened in the bread world, after sliced bread???
Sandwich Thins!
Especially for carb counting diabetic like me.

Now for a diabetic, a healthy, low carb - low calorie burger meal can quickly become a carb heavy because of the bun. Portabella mushroom, lettuce caps and even beefsteak tomatoes have often replaced traditional buns for a low carb, diabetic friendly, burger meal. And they work great and are delicious too, especially grilled Portabella caps. But I prefer these swaps for lunch. They do not make me feel heavy. But come dinner, I crave for comfort of the carbs. I just cannot eat a burger patty wrapped in lettuce anymore. I need my carb fix.

These low carbs buns is my new best friend. They satisfy my carb craving, with out letting me go overboard. I like this particular brand, but there are others available too like Aunt Millie’s SlimwichesPepperidge Farm Deli Flats, which are equally delicious.

This recipe makes quite a bit. You can halve the recipe but since it freezes beautifully, I suggest making the entire batch. And do not restrict yourself to just burgers. With the same mix, you can make veggie 'meat' balls. Toss it in marinara sauce, serve it over whole wheat spaghetti with a light dusting of Parmesan.... Delish!

Or make small patties and either serve with a dipping sauce as appetizer, or stuff it in a pita pocket with lettuce, tomatoes and onions for a quick lunch.

And since no burger dinner is complete without finger food, I made Oven Roasted Zucchini Spears and Popcorn Cauliflowers to munch on. Recipes for these will be on the blog soon....

Recipe Snapshot: Black Bean, Quinoa, Kale and Sweet Potato Burgers

Serves: 8 
(1 serving = 1 burger)

What I used:
For the patties:
Black Beans- 1 (14.5 oz) can, drained and rinsed well
or 1 cup of dry black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until soft. 

Quinoa (cooked) - 1.5 cup

Kale - 2 cup of frozen kale, thawed and squeezed out
or 3 cups of fresh chopped kale

Sweet potato - 1 largish sizes or 2 small ones

Garlic - 4 fat cloves, finely chopped
Cumin - 1 tsp
Smoked Paprika - 1 tsp (optional)
Red Chili Powder (Cayenne or Paprika) - 1 tsp

Shredded Cheese (of choice) - 1/2 cup (optional but recommended)

Olive oil - 2 tsp
Bread Crumbs - 1/4 cup (or more), optional
Oil Spray

For the Burgers:
Sandwich Thin Buns - 8
Fat Free Greek Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Coarse Ground Mustard - 1 tsp
Cucumber Slices, Tomato slices, Onion rings for topping and garnish.

What I did:

1. Cook 3/4 cup of quinoa to get one and half cup of cooked quinoa. To cook the quinoa, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. add the quinoa and cook till soft. 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 

2. Prick the sweet potato(es) all over with a fork. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Flip it and microwave on high for another 4 minutes. let it stand in the microwave for another couple of minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and keep aside.

3. Heat the 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and saute till golden. Dump the thawed out frozen kale. cook for 2 to 3 minutes till the moisture is all gone. In case, you are using fresh kale, cook for 6 to 8 minutes, till the kale is softened and there is no moisture. keep aside too cool.

4. Drain and rinse well a can of black beans. Dump it in the bowl of the fool processor. 

5. Add the cumin, red chili powder (or cayenne), smoked paprika and shredded cheese. Pulse till it a coarse mix.

6. Add the cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes and the garlic-kale mix. Make sure everything has cooled down. Pulse everything into a homogeneous mix. Be careful not to over process it, else it would be difficult to form patties. It should a coarse lumpy stuff. Taste it. There are no eggs. Adjust the salt as per your taste.

7.  Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray it.

8. Dump the content of the food processor into a large bowl. The beans and quinoa should act as a binder. But I had over processed it and it was difficult to form patties. I had to add about quarter cup of bread crumbs to bind. You can use rice flour or Panko crumbs too. 

9. Shape out thick patties. I got 8 thick ones.

10. Place the patties in a greased, foil wrapped cookie sheet. Spray a little cooking spray on top the patties too. Bake in a 400F oven for 20 minutes. Flip it carefully. They are little delicate. Bake for another 20 minutes. 

11. I serve these burgers on Sandwich Thins, topped with the usual burger fare of lettuce, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, with Oven Roasted Zucchini Spears on the sides.

For the Burgers:
1. Toast the Sandwich Thins.

2. Mix the Greek yogurt and the mustard and apply on the inner sides of the buns.

3. Arrange the cucumber slices (or lettuce if you prefer) on one bun. Place the Veggie-Bean Burger patty on top. Top it with a tomato slices and onion rings. Cover with the other bun and serve.

1. I used canned black beans for this recipe. But you can easily use a cup of dry beans, soak them overnight and then cook them on stove top or pressure cooker till soft. 

Diabetic Platter:
Black Beans
  • Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. 
  • We tend to think about brightly colored fruits and vegetables as our best source of phytonutrients, but recent research has recognized black beans as a strong contender in phytonutrient benefits. The seed coat of the black bean is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These three anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the rich black color that we see on the bean surface. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoids.
Read More:

  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. 
  • Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. 
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. 
Read More:

  • Quinoa has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide. 
  • Researchers have recently taken a close look at certain antioxidant phytonutrients in quinoa, and two flavonoid—quercetin and kaempferol—are now known to be provided by quinoa in especially concentrated amounts. 
  • Recent studies are providing us with a greatly expanded list of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in quinoa. 
  • In comparison to cereal grasses like wheat, quinoa is higher in fat content and can provide valuable amounts of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid). Quinoa can also provide small amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Read More:

Sweet Potatoes
  • Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene. 
  • It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes.
  • Some nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes simply may be easier to achieve if you use steaming or boiling as your cooking method. 
  • Most dry beans and tubers have their own unique storage proteins. While researchers have long been aware of sporamins—storage proteins in sweet potato—only recently has research shown some of their unique antioxidant properties. 
Read More:



  1. True loved the veggies burgers in US especially the one in a Farmer's market. Will try your version with millet soon.


Post a Comment

Your thoughts and comments is what keep "A Whiff of Spice" going

Popular Posts