Just about every vegan blogger (and restaurant) has their own version of the sweet potato black bean burger (SPBBB). I have yet to meet a SPBBB (with fries, of course) that wasn’t delicious, but sometimes I want to enjoy my burger and my waistline too! This SPBBB Salad can be made oil free, and with the exception of some avocado in the dressing, is naturally very low in fat. If you are avoiding all fats including avocado, you can certainly try leaving out the avocado and making your own dressing. If you do, please comment below with your substitutions!
With that being said, I want my burger salad to be healthy, satisfying and nutritionally dense, something most restaurant salads can’t promise. Heaps of plant-based fiber and protein will keep you feeling full despite the lack of meat or bread in this dish, and you definitely won’t feel guilty for having seconds. Lets take a look at the nutritional components of this meal:
- Sweet potatoes are a healthy starch, and a great source of Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium, and are naturally low in fat and calories.
- Black beans are also naturally low in fat, and loaded with fiber (29g in 1 cup), protein (39g in 1 cup), iron, potassium, and magnesium.
- Brown rice is rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins.
- Lime juice is naturally high in vitamin C, which aids the absorption of iron in the gut.
- Spinach is high in vitamin A, K, B2, B6, E, and C, and contains good amounts of manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and folate.
- In comparison, 8 ounces of ground beef (70/30) contains 64 grams of fat, 25 grams of saturated fat, 176 grams of cholesterol, 32 grams of protein (remember 1 cup of black beans contains 39g), and ZERO grams of fiber, the nutrient that most Americans are actually deficient in.
As you can see, it’s nearly impossible to become nutrient deficient on a calorie-adequate, varied plant-based diet. In fact, you are more likely to become nutrient deficient on the meat-based Standard American Diet. Yes, vegans and vegetarians will need to supplement vitamin B12, which in modern times only exists in animal based foods because of the dirt and micro-organisms consumed by livestock. This is a simple yet important nutrient to supplement while following a plant-based lifestyle, but there is usually no need to take multi-vitamins or supplement other micronutrients if you are eating a healthy array of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. We’ll talk supplements in my next blog post :o)
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Burger Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (Prep: 25-30 minutes, Baking: 45 minutes)
***You will need – two pots (one for rice, another for sweet potato), a small skillet, baking sheet, spatula, mashing device (hand mixer will also work)
For the Burger
- 1 large sweet potato (or two small), peeled and chopped into uniform chunks
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded, de-veined, and diced
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup quick cook brown rice or brown/wild rice mix
- Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable stock (for sautéing veggies). Use stock for “no oil” version.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 10-oz bag mixed baby greens, baby spinach, or baby kale
- **Optional garnish: Quick Pickled Carrots
- 1-2 carrots, shredded and tossed in 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (sub 1/3 cup almond milk for a “no oil” version)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- juice of 4 limes
- water to thin, if needed (will need less water if using almond milk instead of oil)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Boil water in a medium-sized pot, chop sweet potato and add to water, cooking until a fork goes through easily
- Cook the rice according to package instructions (using rice cooker or a pot)
- In a small pan or skillet, sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeño in a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock
- Add drained and rinsed black beans to a large mixing bowl. Then add the cooked sweet potato, sautéed veggies, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mash until mostly smooth.
- With a spatula, fold in the rice 1/2 cup at a time. We are looking for a meat-loaf or meatball texture.
- Using your hands, form small burger patties, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or cooking spray. Gently flatten the patties out with your fingers to ensure even cooking
- Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. The longer your bake them, the firmer and drier they will get, so it’s all about preference.
- While burgers are in the oven, make your dressing! Add all ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth.
- Serve burgers on a bed of greens, a side of quick-picked carrots, and drizzle with cilantro lime dressing. I dare you to eat just one!