Over the years, I came to a safe and concrete conclusion what makes a burger A BURGER is not the patty but rather all the fix ins (fixings? – I do have a hard time remembering this nuance of beautiful English language, so correct me if I am wrong) and how your serve the burger. And I have plenty of my own Canadian Ukrainian hacks, a bit unique for locals, on how I serve the burger for my family.
But first, let’s clarify my position on burgers because I want to live until 120 (not that spicy chicken burger on occasion will kill me).
The best burger is a beef burger, in my humble opinion. A few weeks ago, we invited 2 families with small children for a Saturday night dinner. Me an Alex went out to the nearest grocery store and stocked up on sirloin beef and turkey patties, sliced cheese, brioche and whole wheat buns, sliced pickles and veggies. We fed 6 kids and 6 adults, shared a small cheesecake and to-die-for Nanaimo bars (healthier but can’t remember the name – starts with “W”), and played our favourite game. As my friend, Christie, said “I feel like we know each other long enough now” as she was placing her store-bought dessert in the fridge, and I was pulling out frozen patties for the grill. Our get together meals used to be only from scratch for like 5 years, however now I am OK with enjoying a store made dinner sometimes for a bazillion of reasons I have mentioned before.
On other occasions, I prefer to make my own burger patties, and more often than not they turn out to be veggie burgers (hello, black bean zucchini burger) or half veggie burgers (hi, healthy salmon burger recipe). Because like I said, it is not the patty that makes the burger (well, it does and it does not) and the boys are a living proof. My kids do not like sweet potatoes (like at all) but throw them a sweet potato burger with cheese, BBQ sauce and even arugula – and I’m watching the magic unfold.
My super easy sweet potato burger patties consist of cooked sweet potato, eggs, flour, breadcrumbs and clean eating BBQ sauce. I can imagine you can replace eggs with a flax egg. I used gluten free flour because I had a package that needs to be used. On its own it tastes very bean-y because it is made with chickpeas, but in a burger patty the taste is lost; feel free to use spelt or whole wheat flour. I had a jar of Panko breadcrumbs from Christmas; feel free to use any whole wheat breadcrumbs.
The patties fry or grill really nice. We haven’t started BBQ-ing yet as our spring has been colder than usual, and frankly once you smother that BBQ sauce on top, you won’t need any extra smoky flavour.
Past week, I totally utilized leftovers from making salmon sweet potato cakes and oatmeal pizza crust. Totally, I admit it – our meals have consisted of the same 3 ingredients during the past week. So what?! In 21 main meals in a week, having BBQ sauce 3 times isn’t that much.
5 Ukrainian Hacks for Next Level Sweet Potato Burgers:
- Buns: I used these sprouted grain buns and they are great. We like ours toasted in the toaster. Brioche buns would be mind blowing too, not clean eating but nonetheless tasty (I wish whole wheat version was available but I’m not sure it is possible or coming soon).
- Cheese: Jalapeno spicy flavoured creamy cheese like Moterey Jack or Havarti, pre-sliced because easier and prettier, and mine is not organic because it doesn’t exist in my boonies. OMG you gotta do it! There is nothing better than an extra spice over a sweet potato veggie burger.
- Arugula: We have got sweet and spicy going on here. Now adding a little of pre-washed ready to eat green zest feels SO right. Do it!
- Frying: I took half of assembled burger my child didn’t finish the night before (he literally was biking and taking breaks to eat a burger wrapped in foil laying on a curb), placed it in a skillet with a bit of avocado oil, covered and let the burger warm up on low heat (most times it is OK not to own a microwave). OMG, that crunchy bottom was just spectacular. Do it again!
- BBQ Sauce: Add as much as you want. If you are new to the whole veggie burger eating thing – add more. It’s OK to act like a 6 year old sometimes.
And just like that, you are biting into plant based fiber, nutrients and vitamins instead of tens of grams of animal cholesterol!
Did that sound convincing enough?
- 3 medium sweet potatoes (1.5 - 2 lbs), skin on and cut into cubes*
- 1 cup clean eating BBQ sauce
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup flour (gluten free, spelt or whole wheat)
- 1 cup whole wheat (Panko) breadcrumbs
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Avocado oil, for frying
- Buns (I used sprouted grain)
- More clean eating BBQ sauce
- Cheese (I liked jalapeño Monterey Jack slices)
- Cook sweet potatoes first. In a medium pot, combine sweet potatoes and enough cold water to cover. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil on high, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until fork tender. In the meanwhile, prepare BBQ sauce.
- Drain potatoes, transfer to a large mixing bowl and mash with a masher. Add BBQ sauce, egg, flour, breadcrumbs and salt; mix well with a spatula and let sit for 10 minutes (this way patties will hold shape better).
- Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil to coat. Form patties the size of your bun (I ended up with 7-8, again forgot to count!) and fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown, flip and fry more until nice and crisp. Place cheese on top, cover and cook until cheese is melted.
- To assemble the burger, we like to toast the bun, place patty on top, spread BBQ sauce, top with arugula, bun and drift away into a healthy burger land.
*Skin contains a lot of nutrients plus sweet potatoes are sold quite clean. Just give them a gentle scrub with warm water.