Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Sweet potato and black bean veggie burgers (vegan and gluten free) - cookieandkate.com

It’s about time I told you all about my friend Bill. I’ve mentioned him before, but never by name. Bill is a badass. He’s a cancer survivor, a true fighter. Bill has survived leukemia, rhizopus (a horrific fungal infection) and a stem cell transplant. After all that, he endured a total knee replacement surgery and taught himself to walk again. Oh and he managed to graduate from college in the process. Total badass.

cooked sweet potato & black bean veggie burger ingredients

Bill lives near Seattle; we’ve never met in person. We have a unique relationship. I know him now because I donated my stem cells to him a little over two years ago. He was a sick 21-year-old then, the same age as my brother, a stranger whose antigens matched mine on a perfect 10 out of 10 scale. Since then, my immune system has taken over his and I’m so pleased that it’s working well for him. I’m glad to be a part of this guy’s recovery and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

oats and millet

Want to hear something crazy about stem cell transplants? Along with my immune system, Bill “inherited” my seasonal allergies. He texted me for advice on how to stop the sneezing last fall. Even crazier, we like to think that some of my food preferences transferred over to him along with the stem cells. Bill started craving spicy Thai food (I LOVE spicy Thai food) after the transplant, which he had not cared much for before treatment. He was shocked to read on my blog that I prefer my food “extra spicy.” Maybe it was the chemo, but it still seems like quite the coincidence!

veggie burger mixture

I’m not sharing a spicy Thai recipe today, though my stomach growls at the prospect. I’m sharing a spicy sweet potato and black bean burger that I found in a cookbook recommended by Bill, the Cafe Flora Cookbook. Cafe Flora is a popular vegetarian restaurant in Seattle that specializes in beautiful, creative vegetarian meals that aren’t full of meat substitutes. I’d love to go there someday, but for now, I have a copy of their cookbook. The book contains very few photos but the names of the recipes speak for themselves. I’m eager to cook more from it now that these veggie burgers turned out so wonderfully.

These burgers are better than any restaurant veggie burger I’ve ever tasted, and not one patty fell apart during the cooking process. They contain sweet potatoes (my favorite) and some smoky spice to impart a hint of grill flavor. As an added bonus, they are vegan (eggless!) and gluten free. They’d be perfect to serve at a get-together with friends who follow special diets. I’m not sure how well they would hold up on an outdoor grill, though, since I’ve only tried panfrying them. Although the recipe is a long one, I promise that the ingredients are common and the steps are simple. Hope you love them as much as I do (I bet Bill would!).

cooked sweet potato & black bean veggie burgersIn case you would like to learn more about stem cell donation, I’ve written about the process both before and after.

You can join the registry here (I’m so glad I did). It’s as simple as swabbing your cheek and mailing it back. Odds are you’ll never be asked to donate, but you can be there in case someone needs you.

Sweet potato and black bean veggie burgers - cookieandkate.comSweet potato & black bean veggie burger recipe

4.9 from 20 reviews
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
These sweet and spicy veggie burgers are both vegan and gluten free. For best results, prepare the burger mixture in advance and let it chill in the refrigerator (you can let it chill overnight or longer if you'd like). These veggie burgers don't have to be served as traditional burgers—the patties are good on their own with toppings like guacamole and pico de gallo or in a salad with Southwestern flavors. Try serving them with corn on the cob in the summer.
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (smaller potatoes cook faster)
  • ⅓ cup millet
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you are avoiding gluten)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • High quality vegetable oil for cooking burgers (or coconut oil, if you don't mind the coconut taste, olive oil may burn)
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)
  • your favorite burger fixings (avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese)
Instructions
  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Cook the millet: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Stir in the millet, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. Grind the oats: Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
  4. Mix the burgers: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and millet, black beans, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne (optional, add to taste for spicier burgers) and salt. Use a potato masher, big mixing spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It's ok if the black beans get smashed in the process.
  5. Mix in the oats: Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).
  6. Shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3½ inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.
  7. Pan fry the burgers: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry.
  8. Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Notes
  • Adapted from the Cafe Flora Cookbook. Yields 8 patties.
  • I'm not sure these patties will hold together properly on a grill; panfrying is probably the way to go. I suppose you could also bake them in the oven, but the oil imparts a lot of flavor and crispiness.
  • I suspect the cooked patties will freeze well for later.

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Comments

  1. says

    I am such a huge supporter of Be the Match and am so excited to read your story! I joined the registery when I was 18 and I have not been contacted, but I think it is such an incredible thing to do for someone. You rock :)

  2. C says

    If you were okay with eggs, could you substitute instead of the millet? These look divine!! Looking forward to trying them out!

    • says

      Thanks, C. I’m not sure about substituting eggs for millet as the recipe originally called for millet and no eggs. I suspect the millet helps absorb some extra moisture and provides substance. If you don’t like the taste of it, I really couldn’t discern the flavor here. It should be pretty cheap at a health food store (a few dollars), hope you’ll give it a shot!

    • Claire says

      I couldn’t find millet in my grocery store, but strangely enough found sorghum. Fingers crossed it works bc I’m making these on Wednesday for guests! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll let you know how the substituion works.

    • Claire says

      OH! P.S. I just bought “understanding exposure” and “lightroom 4″ as per your FAQ page (and a good friend who takes outstanding pictures of her daughter) and I am SO excited. Love your blog.

      • says

        Hope you love the book and Lightroom, Claire! Adobe has some great videos on how to use Lightroom you might like to check out.

  3. says

    Kathryne,

    What an amazing story! What a gift you gave Bill and so crazy that he inherited things like your allergies and food preferences. That is a serious deep connection you two have.

    I hope you are well and that spring is being good to you. I could seriously go for one of your sweet potato and black bean veggie burgers right about now:)

    xoxo
    E

  4. says

    These veggie burgers look amazing and I absolutely love your story! Eric and are on the bone marrow registry and they said the same thing, chances are we won’t get called but we are available if we are a match. That is seriously such a wonderful thing that you took part in and I’m glad you are advocating for it. I’m going to check out the site now.

  5. says

    I just read through your two posts pre and post stem cell donation. What a great act of generosity and kindness. I am so impressed. And it is so fascinating that he developed your seasonal allergies, and a few of your taste preferences. This is probably the most awesome thing that I have read all week.

  6. Bill Harper says

    I am Bill. I just wanted to explain how incredible stem cell donation really is, in very simple terms. For me, I would not be alive today were it not for Kathryne’s generosity. And for her, she gets to live the rest of her life knowing that she saved mine. And more than that (and I think this part is kind of crazy), according to my doctors, I still and will always have Kathryne’s stem cells swimming around inside me keeping me healthy. But what she didn’t mention in this post is that I when my Seattle Children’s Hospital doctors took my case to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to get their approval for a transplant, they rejected me. That was because there had never been a patient who’d had a rhizopus infection and a stem cell transplant and lived through them both. But my Children’s doctors were persistent and said I had what it took to be the first, but I would need a really good donor. That’s when they found Kathryne. They asked her if she would do it, and my family and I thank God every day that she said yes. So please, please, please sign up to be a stem cell donor. I promise you it would be worth it.

  7. says

    What a wonderful story. It’s kind of amazing how something so simple as a cotton swab to the cheek, can help someone in such a significant way.

    Lovely burgers as well, I love spicy anything, so I’m totally looking forward to making these!

  8. says

    Till now I had no idea about Be the match..after reading your post, I opened it and I feel strongly about joining it as well. Thanks for letting us know about this and you sure have a big heart dear. Lovely recipe btw!

  9. says

    This was such a touching post to read Kathryne, you did a wonderful thing and I love you and Bill have stayed in touch. You’re always going to have such a strong connection.

    These veggie burgers look awesome too – all of my favourite ingredients!

  10. says

    This is amazing. I am totally tearing up, reading this and Bill’s comment. What a beautiful thing to do! You’ve totally inspired me.

  11. says

    This is the sweetest story – I’m really glad you shared it. Now I’m craving both spicy Thai food and these burgers.

  12. says

    All I can say is wow. Bill’s comment above gave me chills. What an amazing thing that you’ve saved someone’s life, Kathryne! As a cancer survivor myself, this also hits home. THANK YOU to everyone out there who gives of themselves to help — be it stem cells, or donating for research. Many of us would not be alive today if it weren’t for your generous gifts. (And, gorgeous photos — the colors really pop!)

  13. says

    What an incredible story! I’m glad to hear how well Bill is doing, nad how interesting that he’s inherited some of your tastes. I’m all about perfecting the veggie burger — these are next on my list to try.

  14. says

    Kate, thanks for sharing your experience with stem cell donation. It’s something I’ve never even thought about and am so glad I know about now. Also, these veggie burgers sound amazing. Cheers!

  15. says

    That’s such a great story! Do you think the two of you will ever meet? That’d be interesting!

    But besides the awesome story, I can’t wait to try out this veggie burger. They’re one of my favorites!

    • says

      I hope to meet Bill someday! He can’t travel just yet so I will have to make my way to Seattle (I love Seattle!). Hope you enjoy the burgers, I’m about to have another one for lunch.

  16. says

    these are the best kind of veggie burgers!!! on a different note, I recently signed up for the stem cell registry. Such a noble thing to do and enjoyed reading the story and how some of your character got transferred.

    • says

      Thank you, Dixya. I’m so glad you’re a member of the registry. It’s nice to know that you’re there in case someone needs you.

  17. says

    The pictures drew me in- the recipe looks amazing, btw. But I didn’t expect such an amazing story. How incredible that you and Bill have become friends and even more, how wild that he has inherited your allergies and love of spicy food. I’m awed by what you’ve done for him and how hard he’s fought to be here! Thanks for sharing.

  18. says

    That story is amazing! I want to register to donate stem cells! How cool.

    I really want to make this recipe. My husband is very picky about his veggie burgers, so maybe I’ll just have to make it and eat them all by myself-no complaints here!

  19. Rachel says

    Absolutely incredible, Kate! This post and reading your previous posts about your experience have me in tears. I am inspired!

    I also live near Seattle and I love Cafe Flora! I’ve never tried these burgers there but now I’m thrilled to be able to try them at home.

  20. says

    Ok, this is super bizarre but I am reading this post while enjoying some particularly spicy Thai food!! Love this post – the recipe, the photos, and especially your story. The sweet n spicy combo is something I’ll never get enough of, and I’m so pumped to start doing some grilling now that the weather is (slowly but surely) getting warmer. Going to check out the registry now!

  21. Sandra Lea says

    What a great story about you and Bill. And the recipe looks great too. Thanks for sharing both.

  22. says

    Kate, These look awesome! Where do you buy millet? I have searched for it in our local grocery store (Publix) and they don’t carry it. (I was trying to make the Smitten Kitchen crackly banana bread.) And there is no Whole Foods within 100 miles. Do you think quinoa would work?

    • says

      Hi Alexia, I’m sorry you’re having trouble finding millet! I found mine at a store similar to Whole Foods. Quinoa might work and I’d be interested to hear how it turns out if you give it a try. I found a package of millet on amazon for a few dollars, so that’s an option if you have plans to place an amazon order any time soon: http://www.amazon.com/Arrowhead-Mills-Organic-Whole-Millet/dp/B00CBT1EVM/ref=sr_1_7?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1368722361&sr=1-7&keywords=arrowhead+mills+millet

    • says

      Actually, it looks like that millet might take 3 to 5 weeks to ship. Bother! You could probably buy millet as bird seed from a hardware store, but I’m not sure it would be food grade. Ha.

      • Elyzabeth says

        These burgers look amazing! All my favorite stuff! Thank you & Bill for feeding my soul as well. Question? Do these freeze well? Have vegans coming for TDay & would like to make a bunch. Thanks for sharing.

        • says

          Great question, Elyzabeth. I haven’t tried freezing them but I think they would freeze well. Other commenters have reported that they intend to freeze them but no one has reported back. I’m assuming that’s because they couldn’t resist eating them all or because they didn’t have any trouble freezing them. :)

          • says

            They freeze fine. I have put these excellent burgers on the menu in the veggie café I have recently opened inside my health food store in Darlington, England. They are incredibly popular and we have had several requests for the recipe. Great with homemade salsa, spicy rice salad and some homemade chunky fries.

          • says

            Wow, that’s awesome! Glad your guests enjoy the recipe! I’m intrigued by your mention of spicy rice salad… would love to hear more about it!

    • Nicole says

      I made these burgers with quinoa instead of millet last night, and they still came out great! Thanks, Kate, for the delicious recipe and the inspiring story!

  23. says

    That registry is such a great idea! I mean, we donate blood, but that’s about it, so…yeah, it looks like we’ll be looking into this soon. And of course the burgers sound just delightful!

  24. says

    Whoa you have just increased in awesomeness about a million fold in my book! I always train for my marathons with Team in Training, with the money we raise going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so I know all about the registry and have signed up for it! It’s so crazy that your love of spicy food transferred to him as well…who knew that was somehow encoded in your immune system!

    • says

      Thanks, Joanne! Thank you for raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I don’t think I’ll ever run a marathon, but I should find another way to contribute! I have no idea how food preferences could transfer over like that, but I want to believe it’s possible. My love for spicy food runs deep, that’s for sure!

  25. says

    Stories like this gives me hope that there’s always good out there. You are awesome, Kate!

    And I want to say the same thing about this veggie burgers. Want. Need. Love.

  26. says

    You hooked me with your beautiful photos of these burgers, but I ended up loving the story of you and Bill more. I seriously had NO IDEA taste preferences and allergies could transfer with stem cells. How cool! Well, not so much for Bill, since he suffers from allergies now :) But hey, at least he loves Thai food!

  27. says

    Wooh seriously, Kate, what a story! You’re just as much of a badass as Bill for donating stem cells! I hope you get to meet him some day. Also, that’s super cool about the taste preferences transferring to him!

    • says

      Thanks, Dervla. The food preferences transfer seems almost too crazy to be true, but I want to believe it is! I just found the whole process fascinating.

  28. Michelle R says

    I’ve been signed upon the registry since 1996, but took the time today to update all my contact info. Thanks for the reminder!

  29. says

    Kate, I saw this recipe on FB yesterday, but only now did I get a chance to read the post. What a WILD story! Wow. Both your generosity to a stranger and the genetic transfers of allergies and food preferences (!) are truly remarkable. I never thought about stem cell donation– mostly because a long time ago when I tried to donate blood (for a very specific purpose) I was asked a million questions about my genetic history. Since I was adopted at 26 days old, I didn’t have any of the answers. It just made me think that it wasn’t something I was able to do. And I lumped stem cell and any other donation of bodily material into the same group. But I’ll look into it :) What an act of kindness. Oh, and the burgers look scrumptious too :)

    • says

      Thank you, Batya! To tell you the truth, I don’t donate blood because it makes me feel sick. I do believe you could join the registry if you’d like! All they need is a cheek swab and your contact information.

  30. says

    Ooh, these look fantastic. Sweet, spicy, AND healthy? Sign me up! I’m definitely trying to eat vegetarian more often, and these will definitely go on the to-cook list. I might even make them spicier, maybe with a chipotle-yogurt spread or something on them.

  31. Kathryn says

    You totally inspired me to join the registry, particularly since I’m 40 and only have a few more years to be considered a prime donor! Sadly I learned when reading the medical requirements that people with fibromyalgia like me can’t be considered as donors. However, I’ll still look for other ways to get involved. Thank you so much for sharing your story (and your delicious veggie burger recipe)!
    Kathryn

  32. says

    What an amazing story! I think that is totally crazy that your food preferences are slowly seeping into his day to day. I juts had the most amazing veggie burger over the weekend. My only complaint was it all fell apart! I have to try these. I think the spice and the fact they don’t fall apart will win me over!

  33. says

    That is a fantastic story. I’ve been considering becoming a donor since a friend of mine with CML benefited from a transplant several years ago. Your burger sounds delicious!

    • says

      Thanks, Nik. I’m glad your friend’s health has improved. I hope you’ll join the registry! I just read that there is only a 1 in 500 chance that you would actually be chosen as a donor, but it’s nice to know that you’re there in case someone needs you.

  34. says

    So much to love about this post, Kathryne. Obviously your generosity and kindness isn’t surprising to me at all, but the part about how Bill has taken on your tendencies towards food is crazy! Science! So amazing.

    I still haven’t tried a veggie burger with oats. It’s time! These look unreal.

  35. says

    That is such an inspirational story about Bill. I think you’re amazing for doing that, and I can’t believe how it’s affected him! :) :) :) Really made me smile :) xxx

  36. Laurie Whaley says

    This veggie burger looks & sounds yummy! I am going to try making some & freeze them also. I’ve been a vegetarian about 5 months now, eventually becoming vegan hopefully. I need to learn to cook vegetarian meals, the Morning Star veggie products are good but, I need more variety. Love their veggie bacon! I’m going to buy the cookbook you mentioned & I’m going to look into donating stem cells too. Kudos for helping Bill! It’s amazing he’s developed allergies like you & has acquired a taste for spicy foods like you. The world needs more people like you! This story touches my soul. I needed a lift. :)Thank you for sharing! God Bless You

  37. Kelly says

    Your story & Bill’s comment inspired me to sign up as a donor – my registration kit is now on its way! I love your blog, thanks for all of your fabulous recipes!!

  38. says

    That is such a touching and inspiring story, Kate.

    On another note, I cannot wait to try these burgers this weekend. Perfect addition to an outdoor meal.

  39. says

    Such an amazing story, Kate! I LOVE and chuckle about how Bill has aquired some of your allergies and preferences — the Thai/spicy-food love aquisition is especially wonderful :) Thank you for sharing with us! I would love to get registered to donate.

    These look so delicious and simple, what a gret combination of flavors and nutrition. I can’t wait to show them off at a Memorial Day cookout coming up! I’ll let you know how they work on the grill :)

    • says

      Thank you, Sophie! Please do let me know how they turn out on the grill. I definitely recommend chilling the patties first for best results.

  40. Bill Harper says

    I have to say something about this whole concept of getting new taste preferences from your stem cell donor. As soon as I learned about Kathryne’s affinity for spicy food, I mentioned it to my doctors and asked if my own new obsession with spicy food came from her. Because the timing of this lined up so perfectly with the time I got my transplant, I was convinced it had. But although my doctors thought it was pretty cool, they said they had never heard of that happening and so it was purely coincidental. So apparently it’s not a normal thing that happens, but despite that I know it happened for me and I’m so happy it did!

    They This whole getting your stem cell donor’s taste preferences thing

    • A says

      Hi Bill,

      There are a few other anecdotal stories out there about recipients inheriting food preferences from their donors. I don’t remember all of them but one about watermelons sticks out in my mind (the recipient HATED them until the transplant and started getting cravings for them after). It might be a coincidence but isn’t it nice to think our stem cells carry a little of our personality? I’m sending good thoughts your way for continued healing!! I hope you and Kate get to meet one day!

    • David says

      Acquired Affinity Transfer is not so strange, just not predictable. I also worked with a guy that hated tomatoes all his life, except cooked in sauces, etc.
      He’s this older stodgy white dude, and he got a kidney transplant, happened to be from some “dead black lady” (not that he cared about her color or was racist, just how he identified her…)
      About two weeks later, he wants, he CRAVES *something* tomato-y, can’t pin it down. Finally eventually has some raw tomato on a salad, and BINGO! Hits the spot. Snarfs down raw tomatoes after that.
      About six months later he contacts the donor lady’s family and asks about her affinity for tomatoes, and they laughed and told him that yeah, she really had a thing for tomatoes–fried green, picked off the vine, cherry to roma to beefsteak, didn’t matter. They asked “Why?” and he told them, and they all had a laugh and a good joyful cry too, because here’s their dead relative, still living on and expressing herself in some odd way in this guy.
      Like I said, it happens FAR too much for coincidence, just not enough to be worth a funded study. Hence, no science behind it.
      But it definitely happens!

      • says

        That is a funny story. Glad we’re not crazy for thinking the food preference could have come from me! I’ve loved spicy food my whole life, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some sort of genetic component to it.

  41. krystal says

    I made these for dinner with the hopes of freezing the leftovers. First off, AMAZING flavor. I only had one slight problem …. somehow I left out the oats!!! I think I read the recipe as I was adding stuff to the bowl and thought “eh, that uses the food processor so I’ll do that last” and then, like, just didn’t. Well, if we left them in the pan long enough they held up enough to get tossed onto a bun. They were a little soft, understandably, but yummy.

    Will make again …. correctly!!

    Thanks for the great recipe. I am always happy to try new grain/veg combinations in patty form!

    • Ita says

      My son is allergic to oats (and also all the gluten-containing grains – wheat, spelt, rye, barley). I was wondering if there was some substitute for the oats that might work in this recipe?
      But then I came across this comment, and wonder if perhaps I could just leave the oats out altogether? Or maybe add some cornmeal?

      As an aside, I love the stem cell donation story here! I have heard of people inheriting food allergies from their donors as well.

      • says

        Ita, I bet you could leave out the oats, but I bet adding cornmeal or something else that is absorbent like oats might work better. This recipe has been pretty amenable to others’ substitutions. Hope they turn out great!

        • Ita says

          Thank you! I made them and they were delicious! Sadly, not all my children were fans, but the oldest three and youngest one in our family ate them happily!

          I used cornmeal instead of oats (2/3 c, I was afraid to use more). The burgers were very soft before I put them in the frying pan, and I was sure they would fall apart, but they held together beautifully!

          And I felt so happy to offer this nutritious component of the meal (even if not everyone ate it!)

          Thanks again for your help!

  42. says

    You had me at sweet potato! And what an amazing story. It’s almost unbelievable that we can save strangers’ lives today with a registry and technological developments. You’re incredibly brave and generous!

  43. FHurley says

    I just made these tonight and used quinoa instead of millet (didn’t have any on hand) and only had 1 sweet potato, which was less than a pound and they turned out great! And no, they didn’t fall apart, which is the trick to a good veggie burger! I did find them quite spicy, I like spice, but one might try just 1/4 tsp of cayenne to start with.

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  44. says

    Katherine, what an incredible bond – to know that your lives are uniquely intertwined – such an incredible gift, for both of you! It is so heartwarming to know that a friendship has developed.

    I am always on the hunt for a good veggie burger (the spicier the better!), this looks just right!

  45. SCTx says

    Incredible. 10 out of 10 is a very hard match to find. Very hard. Just takes one person, but very rare to find that lineup. Congratulations to both of you for being united in that way and this story of amazing success.

  46. says

    These look incredible!!! I am always on the search for good veggie burgers that are not made in some factory somewhere – and as I love black beans this seem a winner.

  47. Jamie says

    What an incredible story and of course the veggie burgers look amazing! I make a black bean burger that I cook on the grill. The key is to freeze it first and rather than cook it directly on the grate of the grill, you put a piece of tin foil on the grill, spray it or rub it with olive oil and then grill the patties on that. It might work with this recipe.

  48. Anela says

    I just joined the registry! Thank you for sharing your story – I just went back and read your before and after posts. Also, I live in Seattle and love Cafe Flora. I’m visiting my (vegan) sister this weekend and maybe we’ll make these!

  49. Carolyn says

    Hey – Thanks for sharing. I just received my stem call transplant in October of 2012. Mine was a cord blood transplant, so I won’t get to meet my donor. They are only three at this point anyway. Bu thanks to the Mom that was willing to share!!!

  50. Rhonda says

    Kate, as usual you never fail to inspire on so many levels with your generous spirit. Delicious recipes, gorgeous photos, and a pure heart. May God bless your life richly. You are one cool lady.

  51. Allyson says

    Thanks to your post, I just signed up to get a kit sent to me. Thank you for the inspiration- and those burgers look amazing.

  52. Shannon says

    What started out as what seemed like a laborious recipe is likely to turn into a labor of love. I made these tonight after being turned off by some high-gluten TVP recipes. It felt like a lot of prep, but the burgers turned out to be worth it and hopefully as this recipe becomes a regular part of my cooking repertoire they won’t feel so tedious to prepare. I used quinoa instead of millet, but otherwise made no alterations. They held together and fried up well in the skillet.

  53. Holly says

    Made these last night for dinner, delicious! Must admit that I halved the recipe, but forgot to halve the spices! It was delicious with double the spices! I would make it that way again for sure. I used toasted sourdough bread rather than burger buns and also cous cous instead of millet (as that’s what I had in the cupboard). Thanks for the recipe!

  54. says

    You amaze and inspire me, lady! Reading your post just made my day. I can’t imagine how incredibly grateful Bill is for your gift…and how fun that he now gets to enjoy spicy Thai food as much as you do :)

  55. says

    how amazing are you?!?! pretty freaking amazing. I didn’t even know this was possible, I’m going to go read your links now. You are the good people, my friend. Thanks for sharing this.

  56. says

    I love three things about your post:

    * The recipe itself- YUM! Can’t wait to make it soon… I also am a huge sweet potato fan, and although not strictly vegan/vegetarian, I LOVE this sort of food…
    * The fact there is a restaurant that exists called Cafe Flora! Flora is the name of my sweet horse and I love it!
    * My blog’s name also features Flora! I HAVE to go to this restaurant one day…

  57. says

    Wow. Just. Wow. Can I ask you how painful the procedure was? I know it’s a stupid question when the outcome is saving a whole other person’s life, but along with episiotomies & wisdom tooth removal, lumbar punches are something I first heard about when I was very little as part of one of those stories you hear about when episiotomies, wisdom tooth removal and lumbar punches go wrong (not all at the same time). Also, I felt a little faint reading about the blood donation process on Be The Match’s website. Basically, I am a total wuss. I’m working on it though. Last week I touched the left behind, molted skin of a spider.

    • says

      Hey Liz, that’s not a stupid question. I didn’t give bone marrow, which I’ve heard is painful. We used a different process called peripheral blood stem cell donation instead, because the doctors thought it would be more effective for Bill. It’s also less invasive. I had to get a shot for five days in a row, and that medicine made me feel achy because it was stimulating stem cell production in my bones. It really wasn’t that bad, though. Then I got hooked up to an apheresis machine (the same machine they use if you donate plasma) for four hours. Often people have to sit there longer than that, which would be uncomfortable. All in all, though, it wasn’t terribly painful and I’d do it again. If you are super squeamish about blood, it might get to you.

  58. says

    Hello! I’m really excited about this recipe. I just had an amazing spicy sweet potato + black bean burger while in upstate New York this past weekend, and I’m hoping to recreate it tonight. One thing I thought you might like to know, your website doesn’t display correctly on my iPad (I have the iPad 2).

  59. Alison Leighton says

    Hi Kate

    Do I use Millet Flakes or Millet Grain for the recipe?
    Cant wait to make it. Awesome site!!!!

  60. Hannah says

    Hi! I just wanted to say your post and talking about being a stem cell donor inspired me to register with the bone marrow registry. I just sent in my cheek swabs yesterday! My uncle has acute leukemia and I’ve felt at a loss of what I can do to help somehow. Maybe I can’t help him directly but I hope that by signing up to be a donor I can help someone in need. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • says

      Hannah, I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Thank you very, very much for joining the registry! Best wishes to you and your uncle.

  61. Joan says

    My son is a 7 year survivor of a stem cell transplant. I know first hand that donors are heroes! Can’t wait to try the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers, cheers!!

  62. Marissa Ponder says

    I made this over the weekend and it was great!! I used my mini food processor to mash up the beans and it worked great! I topped it off with Heidi Swanson’s Chile de Arbol sauce from her super natural cookbook (I can’t remember which one thought) and it was a home run! Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Thanks, Marissa! I’m glad you enjoyed the burgers. I bet they are amazing with Heidi’s chile de Arbol sauce—I will have to give that a try soon!

  63. J Moss says

    These were pretty good. I used flax meal with water to create the egg substitute to help bind the patties. Also having a wobble thin metal spatula really help in transferring the sticky patties to the pan and for flipping. Other things I added was hot sauce and hot peppers!

    Thanks for the post!

  64. Amanda Johns says

    Hi Kate!
    I just donated blood today! I am O+ and I am a runner. I came home to rest and found this recipe to aid my recovery and I am going to cook it up right now! I just know it is going to be delicious! I started running about a year and a half ago because my father in law was undergoing treatments with Leukemia and I needed a way to deal with the stress. As if that is not enough to justify my sincere appreciation and admiration for your heroic act… I also have a nephew who was 5 when he was diagnosed with Leukemia and he just celebrated his 15th birthday a couple days ago! I have run two marathons in this last year for Team In Training and have raised funds to help in the mission of finding a cure and providing patient aid. I have been on the registry for nearly a year now. Thank you so much for sharing this heart-warming story about you and Bill! You’re an angel!!!

    • says

      Hi Amanda! I hope you loved the veggie burgers. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and for being on the registry. I’m so glad your nephew is better! Thanks again!

  65. says

    What an amazing story about the stem cell transplant. I work for the Puget Sound Blood Center (out of Seattle) so I’m betting Bill had his transplant at our facility : ) Your story reminded me to update my info in the Be the Match program. I signed up years ago and have definitely moved a time or two since and gone through several phone numbers. I’m definitely trying these burgers : )

    • says

      Thanks, Carolyn! I want to say he received the transplant at Seattle Children’s, but I could be wrong. Thanks for commenting (and updating your registry information!). Hope you love the burgers.

  66. Monroe H. says

    I subbed curry powder for the chipotle powder, and these were incredible! Better even than my go-to favorite vegan burger made from green lentils, from Scott Jurek’s book /Eat and Run/ (check it out though it’s an awesome recipe and he’s pretty groovy himself). I froze all but one of them (cooking for one), but I can’t wait to eat every single one! Thank you!

    • says

      Hooray! So glad you’re enjoying the burgers, Monroe. I just looked up Scott’s recipe and saved it for the next time I’m craving a veggie burger. Thank you for sharing!

  67. Erin says

    These burgers were WONDERFUL. Swapped out the millet and used quinoa. Since they were a bit sticky and we were using a regular grill, we put them in the freezer for about 45 minutes before grilling. They held together beautifully – both on the grill and on the bun. Will definitely make these again.

    • says

      Thank you, Erin! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the veggie burgers. Thank you for the freezer/grill tip, that’s very helpful!

  68. Kenia says

    Thanks for this delicious post. I have been searching for an easy vegan recipe that wasn’t full of bread crumbs. I added some red pepper flakes to the oil before cooking and that gave them an extra spicy crunch. Next time I will try using quinoa. I am so glad I came across your page, I’ve been registered with Be The Match for a while and it was so nice to hear about Bill’s recovery. I look forward to trying other recipes.

  69. Jim says

    I made this tonight for my wife and 5-year-old. The kid ate it up with almost no questions. She asked what the green parts were and I told her avocado :). My wife thought it was good and I thought it was great. I would eat this any day of the week. We both agreed that more crunch on the outside would have been nice. I am tentative with the oil because I don’t like the idea of vegetarian food being oil-based and therefore heavy (aka falafel in my opinion – gives me a gut ache every time). Next time I’ll think I’ll go ahead and use a bit more oil and a bit hotter at maybe stir fry temperatures and really make them crispy. Like I said though, I loved it as they were. I made the buns super crunchy which helped a lot. They were served with the food52.com recipe for jalapeño-apple slaw with honey vinaigrette and caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream for desert. The whole deal took about and hour and a half. I really appreciate this web site since it is bringing in so many new, tasty and family-compatible dinners which I am desperate for since I’m the cook. Thanks!

    • says

      Jim, thank you so much for your feedback! I’m so glad your family enjoyed the burgers. I think that a little oil goes a long way here. I just got another comment that said the burgers were great broiled, too, so you might be able to crisp them up a little more that way.

  70. Dina says

    Those look fantastic, and much better than the recipe for sweet potato burgers from Runner’s World this month. Also thanks for linking the cookbook source, would never have heard of it otherwise.

    Made them tonight with quinoa instead of millet (I prefer millet but it was all I had in the pantry) and they were fabulous. Definitely putting these into my regular rotation!

  71. Sanjay Thoppil says

    I made these a few weeks back and they were AWESOME! Best veg burgers my wife and I have had! Making these again today in a larger batch to freeze. YUMMY!

  72. Rebecca says

    I just wanted to tell you how much we loved these burgers! I did make a couple of changes based on what I had on hand: used bulgur instead of millet, and regular paprika. Omitted the onions (I can’t eat them), and cayenne (10-year-old won’t eat spicy). I’m always looking for new veg recipes that spouse and kid will eat, and this was a hit. I served them with arugula and honey/lime vinaigrette. Terrific!!

  73. Ellie says

    Hi Kate! That story is wonderful to hear … I work on a pediatric oncology/transplant floor and these kids literally could not survive without donors like yourself!!!

    My veggie burger question is- could I freeze these for later? And if so, would I pan fry them first or just freeze after shaping them and pan fry them later? Thanks!! -Ellie

    • says

      Ellie, I’m so sorry for my super slow response. Yes, I believe you could freeze them for later. I would probably cook them first and then freeze them. Or, you could probably freeze the patties and let them defrost partially before cooking them. They might fall apart if they were totally defrosted. Apologies again for not getting back to you sooner.

  74. Kelly says

    Thank you for this recipe! It was so delicious and not that time consuming. And mine came out looking like yours so that is good too :) I added a little cinnamon to mine and it added a yummy flair!

  75. Kate says

    Thank you so much for both this inspiring story and recipe. My friends and I live and work in Haiti and we made these tonight. We were so excited to use local, and in season, sweet potatoes–the recipe came out great. But more than anything, it was great to be able to share your story as we ate the meal and reflect on the meaning behind our food! Thanks for a relaxing, meaningful, and tasty evening!

  76. Karey says

    I just came across your blog while searching for a good cashew milk recipe and then stumbled on this delicious dish! I can’t wait to try it. Random side note – a few months ago while I was visiting Seattle I ended up having dinner at Cafe Flora and it was the very best vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever been to. I had the Whistling Train Spring Fettuccini and it blew my mind! I came home and tried to recreate it, and I have to say it turned out pretty well. I should check out their cookbook to see if it includes the actual recipe. Thank you for the great stories and delicious recipes! I’ll definitely be back!

    Karey

    • says

      Hey Karey! Glad you found my blog! I’ve yet to make it to Cafe Flora, but I bet that fettuccini is amazing. I just checked the cookbook’s index and couldn’t find any recipes by that name under the pasta section. :( There are lots of other great recipes to choose from, though! Happy cooking.

  77. says

    What a great story! I was a stem cell donor last year and while I haven’t had any communication with the recipient I’m told that she’s doing well. It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to develop a relationship with Bill and find out such interesting facts about what transfers with one’s stem cells!

    Bill’s lucky to have inherited great taste in food!!

  78. Katie says

    Thanks for the recipe! It was delicious! Made it tonight for my family (we’re vegetarian). The kids loved it, the husband loved it, I loved it. Grateful for leftovers. Thanks!

  79. says

    Hi Kate,

    My husband and I have been making changes to our meat consumption for about 6 months now, just eating it 2-3x a week. We’ve just made the decision to go completely Vegetarian, and I’m testing the Vegan waters.

    I made this recipe last night with baked sweet potato fries and was absolutely amazed at how delicious it was! My husband took a bite and immediately said “Oh, yeah! You can make this one again!”. lol

    Thank you so much for posting all of these wonderful recipes. It’s going to help make our transition so much smoother!

    Best,

    Melissa

  80. Lidiya says

    I made these but without sweet potatoes and with quinoa instead. they tasted sooooooo amazing, but the patties didnt hold and fell apart. :o whoops.

  81. says

    Just made these today for dinner and they came out great! I’ve only had 1 veggie burger long ago and I have to admit I did not care for it. When I saw your recipe I decided to give veggie burgers another try and I’m so glad I did! Even my kids were willing to try them (1 liked and the other didn’t). Things I did differently: I used quinoa instead of the millet and none of the chipotle powder since I did not have any. Also I only had GF quick-cooking oats so I decided not to process them at all and just stir them in whole. The patties held up PERFECTLY – there was not even a hint of them falling apart; I feel pretty confident I could have put them on the grill. I pan fried them in coconut oil. We topped them with swiss cheese which took them from good to great.

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I love when I find a new one to add to my rotation.

    • says

      Thank you, Rachel! I’m so glad you loved the veggie burgers. A lot of veggie burgers tend to fall apart while cooking, but these don’t! I hope to publish another variation with different flavors soon.

  82. Shabana says

    I tried this recipe last night and I wasn’t too sure how it would taste, because I have never tasted millet. Let me tell you one thing… IT WAS SOO GOOD!

    I used to live in London with my husband and they have a famous vegan restaurant called Mildreds and I have been trying to re create certain recipes… I have to say this is as close to i’ll get to perfecting a delicious vegan burger ! It was so good, my husband asked while gobbling his burger if I’ve written the recipe down ! lol

  83. Kelly says

    I made these tonight. We loved them. I don’t know what millet is (?) and only had dried cilantro. So I just skipped the millet. And they still turned out great! I was so proud of myself- even though it was your recipe. Thank you. I will make these again and may even buy millet.

    • says

      Kelly, I’m so glad the burgers turned out well, even without the millet! I’m sorry I didn’t provide a clearer description of millet—that’s something I’m working on. Millet is the small, round, yellow seed that you see often in bird seed. It’s actually one of the most consumed grains on the other side of the world, but we don’t come across it very often in American food. If the burgers turned out great without, though, maybe it’s totally unnecessary!

  84. Leigh says

    The burgers look fantastic, I’m thinking about adding diced cooked (so no more added water) portobella mushrooms to this, has anyone tried this?

    • says

      Leigh, I’m not sure if anyone has tried that (couldn’t find any comments to that effect), but I’d be glad to hear how the burgers turn out if you try it! I’m wondering if you could replace some or all of the millet with mushrooms.

  85. Terri says

    Kate could you include the temperature for cooking the potatoes? I am making them right now and will let you know how they turn out. And my girls father donated his cells and 5 years later stays in touch with the family. It’s an amazing thing knowing you saved a life by your generosity

    • says

      Oh my goodness, Terri, I can’t believe my recipe has been missing the temperature for the sweet potatoes all this time. I just fixed it (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Stem cell donation creates such a special and unique bond!

  86. Rhonda says

    I made these for the second time yesterday. They are fabulous burgers; they are incredibly tasty and hold together extremely well. I used millet the first time but couldn’t find any at the grocery store yesterday so I used quinoa(same amount -1\3cup); they turned out the same.

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I will try some of the other ones you have posted.

    Take care.

    Rhonda

    • says

      Rhonda, I’m delighted that you enjoyed the burgers so much. I hope you enjoy my other recipes, too! Thank you for commenting.

  87. Krystal says

    What a fantastic story, Kate. Amazing!

    And these burgers? Yum yum yum! I made them tonight and they are so delicious! Thank you! I am a sucker for sweet + spicy, but holy cow this was particularly delicious. I wasn’t able to get the millet and agree with others that quinoa works great! I know what I’m bringing for lunch tomorrow – very excited for these leftovers. Thank you!

  88. Alex says

    I made these tonight for dinner but swapped the millet for quinoa like another commenter did (I did’t have any) and they were really really good, Thank you! :)

  89. Becky says

    Kate-

    Just stumbled onto your site looking for vegan recipes. Wanted to say thank you for mentioning the registry and being a donor!

    Becky

  90. Debbie T. says

    These are the best veggie burgers I have ever made. I have made them twice. My whole family loves them, even my carnivore husband. Absolutely delicious. I haven’t had much luck with any other veggie burger recipes. I didn’t have millet so I used a cup of cooked plain quinoa. I also sauteed the red onion, with some minced garlic and diced jalapenos before smushing everything together. Thank you for the fantastic recipe.

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