Black Bean Burger + Baked Sweet Potato Fries + (Not so) Secret Sauce

Last night, I made black bean burgers, baked sweet potato fries, and steamed broccoli with spicy sesame-garlic sauce. A burger and fries–check. A burger and broccoli–what? Steamed broccoli florets are the new onion rings… The New York Times even wrote about how broccoli has gotten an extreme makeover!

Regardless of your own personal politics regarding sides appropriate for a burger, these two sides were delicious and very healthy–little fat and low-salt. The burger itself is packed with protein and fiber and has no added salt. But you won’t notice any of that when you’re eating it because it’s truly just scrumptious.

Below is the play-by-play and recipe for each! Bon appetit!

Black Bean Burgers

These black bean burgers are so easy and cheap–and they taste WAY better than any veggie burger you’ll ever get from the freezer aisle. But remember my rant about meat alternatives…if you tell yourself you’re eating a hamburger, you’re in for disappointment. Be upfront with your tastebuds. I found this recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and have modified it by using only eggwhites and a couple of other small adjustments.


  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (it will be food processed later)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • black pepper

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Add 2 cups beans (save the remaining beans), the onion, chili powder, oats, egg whites, and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse gently a few times just until the mixture comes together. It should be moist but not wet; chunky but not pureed.


3. Add the remaining (roughly 1 cup of) beans to the mixture and fold them in. Taste for seasoning and adjust. (I do not add salt to these because I don’t find that they need it, the salt in the canned beans usually is enough; however, adjust to your liking.)

4. Patty out the burgers to a size that suits–these can be regular burger sized, made for sliders, or rolled into meatballs. This amount of mixture will make between 6-8 burgers (mine last night made 7).


5. Spritz the top of each burger with some olive oil spray. (I use a Misto and LOVE it.)

6. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through and spritzing the other side with olive oil.

7. Dress your burger however you wish. I went pretty traditional and topped mine with romaine, tomato (yes; I managed to find a good one in New England in January), red onion, avocado, and ketchup. Sauteed onions and peppers with some bbq sauce would be good, too!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Deliciously crispy and flavorful with very little effort–this is hardly a “recipe.”

If you’re making these with the burgers, start these first since they take 40 minutes to bake. Two sweet potatoes makes two good servings of fries–if you double the recipe, make sure to use an additional pan or the potatoes will steam instead of roast.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 (same temp as burgers!)

2. Wash two sweet potatoes and cut them into thin strips…they should look like fries.

3. Put them in a baking sheet and give them a good spritz of olive oil (use cooking spray here so that you’re coating all the fries thinly–again, I love my Misto!). Toss a couple of times and spray again to make sure they’re coated on all sides. Season with a little salt and a good amount of pepper.


4. Bake for 40 minutes, taking the fries out every 10 minutes to toss and lightly re-spritz. When the fries have turned a dark golden color and are crispy, they are ready!


Spicy Sesame Garlic Sauce

I love this three ingredient sauce on steamed or roasted vegetables! And, just like the fries, it requires little effort.

This is truly the easiest little sauce you'll ever "make."
This is truly the easiest little sauce you’ll ever “make.”

While I like it on vegetables, it would also make a nice topping for the black bean burgers.

Play with the proportions in this sauce to what you like (you can also substitute sriracha if you don’t want the garlicky hot sauce). You can also add sesame seeds to the sauce if you’re feeling fancy.

1. Mix a couple tablespoons of sesame oil with  3-4 tablsepoons of chili-garlic sauce (usually found in the “world food” aisle, pictured above on the far left) and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Serve on steamed or roasted vegetables or use as a burger topping.

Here’s the whole meal! It was a great dinner.


Eat more beans and vegetables,



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