Sweet Potato Burgers for the Win
Georgia born and bred, this gal is a Trisha Yearwood fan. A little "Georgia Rain" will have me all up in some feelings. Not only is she a country music institution, but Trisha is also known for one of my favorite food "genres," lighter Southern cooking. Her Unfried Chicken recipe is what inspired my Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Tender recipe that turned Cliff from a skeptic to a convert. Poor guy, I'm always testing non-traditional flavors and methods on traditional dishes that he would love. But, he always takes a bite (albeit, nervously) and then dives right in...so I think it's all good. 🙂
On days when I don't feel much like creating a new recipe from scratch, I love to try others that I can analyze for you and hopefully give you some new ideas for your arsenal. I'm happy to report that her Smashed Sweet Pea Burgers are a great addition to the recipe rotation. First, you get to smash ingredients and take pent-up frustration out on the sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Second, you feel good about making healthier choices. And, lastly, it tastes good...which is all that really matters, right? I'm not sure why Trisha calls them "Sweet Pea" burgers, but I prefer to imagine it represents the loving term of endearment that us Southern gals grew up hearing from Grandma.
Sweet Potato Health Benefits
Sit down and take a load off; this is gonna take a while. Kidding, of course. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Antioxidant-rich (helps combat free radicals)
- Great source of fiber, promoting a healthy gut
- Possible (fingers crossed) connection to anti-cancer properties due to the presence of anthocyanins
- Move over carrots. Beta-carotene is also found in sweet potatoes, which boosts eye health.
- The same anthocyanins that are viewed positively in the fight against cancer promote brain health a well. Mice have seen memory and learning improvement, so we certainly hope the same goes for humans, too!
My Sweet Potato Burgers Recipe Modifications
Before removing from the pan, I flipped the patties on their side and cooked them by slowly rolling around the edge of the skillet.
As a general rule, I don't think much modification is necessary. These are perfect as-is, or with a few of your own adornments. What I did add to the mix was about 1 tsp. of garlic powder (because I have a garlic obsession) and increased the amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Next time, I would like to try adding some dried minced onion and even get a little crazy with some Worcestershire sauce. Sure, that might make them taste like mini meat loaves, but is that really a bad thing?
Since there are a few carbs already in the dish, thanks to the sweet potato, chickpeas, and bread crumbs, we decided to forego actual burger buns. Instead, I chose to slice some red onion and place the burger and onion on a leaf of romaine lettuce (ultimately, topping with mustard). The red onion can be a bit difficult to cut when on top of a burger and I was concerned the softer nature of the sweet potato burger - since they are not bound by the gelatin found in traditional animal meat - would smash the burger and compromise its structure. I think it would have been fine on top, but still like the modification for some reason.
While cooking the burgers, I decided to firm them on both sides and get the desired crust. But, before removing them from the skillet, I decided to flip them on their side and rotate the burgers around the "walls" of the skillet, in order to make the edges a bit more crispy. Again, my goal was to make sure they didn't fall apart the moment we took our first bite.
Also, I added a little more salt and pepper to each patty while they were cooking in the skillet, and on each side before I flipped them.
2 large sweet potatoes
2 15-ounce cans sweet potatoes (drained and rinsed)
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups bread crumbs
½ cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp. each)
A Few Notes as You Cook
- Make sure you back time this recipe enough to cook the sweet potatoes (about 400ºF for an hour or so) before smashing them.
- It is best to let the sweet potatoes cool before combining with other ingredients.
- When smashing the chickpeas and sweet potatoes, we used a potato smasher, but you could also use a large fork or utensil of choice. Trisha suggests avoiding a food processor so the sweet potato burgers hold their shape in the skillet.
- I suggest grating the Parmesan cheese close to the time of cooking so the flavor is maintaned.
- The butter and the olive oil melt first in the cast iron skillet and it is best to swirl around the skillet to make sure everything is coated. The recipe makes 8 burgers, so I wasn't able to fit them all in the cast iron and added a touch more olive oil as I started on the second batch. Cook over medium high heat until you get the crust you prefer. This took a little over 5 minutes per side and a little longer as I rolled them on their side along the edges of the skillet.
- Let them drain on a plate with paper towels (or a cloth) to absorb the oil.
If you need to make the sweet potatoes while at work, you can cook them in a slow cooker. Just combine the rest of the ingredients when you get home and cook in the skillet.
Do you love sweet potatoes as much as we do? Let me know what other ingredients you would incorporate in these, if any, to adjust them to your preferences. Until next time, cheers to your #hearthhealthhappiness!