Yamburgers! With Sweet Potato Fries, for good measure…

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(Sweet potato black bean and corn patties with chipotle cilantro ‘cream’ and sweet potato fries – vegan – recipe in post)

I’m not gonna lie, I love a big juicy hamburger. Go ahead and top it with bacon while you’re at it, and I’ll be a happy girl. But carnivorous tendencies aside, because they by no means negate the deliciousness of this veggie burger. So if you’re thinking to yourself ‘why would I bother making a meat-free burger when I eat meat?’ – don’t. This burger doesn’t deserve such blatant discrimination. In fact, it won’t stand for it! It’s too good for that.

Top this flavor packed patty with a dollop of (vegan) chipotle/cilantro/lime cream and a few slices of avocado and you are just asking for tasty, tasty trouble.

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(Unleash your inner vegan… you know you want to.)

Yamburgers with Chipotle Cilantro Cream and Yam Fries
(Vegan and gluten-free – makes 8-10 patties)

2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
15 oz. black beans, drained
1 cup sweet corn
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup rolled oats (or almonds)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or cayenne (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Oil for pan frying.

For the chipotle/cilantro cream:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water (can be replaced with 1.5 cups vegan sour cream or mayonnaise)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed
Pinch of salt

For the fries:
2 sweet potatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
a few grinds black pepper

(Note: for those who are anti-sweet potato – blasphemy! – you could always replace them with regular spuds.)

Cube your potatoes (leaving the skin on) and either oven roast (400f.), steam, or microwave in a large heat-safe bowl with a couple TBSP water until tender – I find the microwave to be a real time saver, and takes about 6-8 minutes. Stop to give them a stir every minute or two, until mashably soft.

Meanwhile, cook your quinoa. A 1/2 cup of dry will make enough for the burgers, but feel free to make extra. Add the quinoa to a small pot over medium heat, and let it toast for a minute or two. Add double the amount of water, bring to a simmer, and cover. Let cook 12-13 minutes, turn off the heat, and let it sit without removing the lid for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, meanwhile… Add your oats (or almonds) to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until it looks like very coarse flour. About 30-40 pulses.

In a large bowl, combine about 2/3rds of the beans, and 2/3rds of the sweet potato. Mash with a potato masher until slightly chunky and not quite smooth. Add in the rest of the beans, sweet potato and all of the seasonings. Give it another mash or two, keeping some of the texture.
Add all the other ingredients, and stir to combine.

Heat a skillet over medium-high, and add a drizzle of oil. Form about 1/2 cup of the mixture into a tight ball, then press it between your hands into a patty. Place patties in the hot skillet and cook 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate in the oven to keep warm, and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Add oil and adjust the heat on the pan as needed.

For the chipotle/cilantro cream:
If you’re using vegan sour cream or mayo, simply combine all ingredients in your food processor.
If not, drain the cashews and dump them to the food processor. Add the juice of both limes, and blend until smooth. Slowly add 3/4 – 1 cup water, until the cashews are about the consistency of a thick sour cream.
Add the peppers and garlic, blend until smooth, and then add the cilantro. Pulse a few times to combine, and season with a pinch of salt to taste.

For the fries:
Preheat the oven to 400f.
Cut the sweet potatoes into thin, uniformly sized matchsticks. Toss with the oil, then the spices, and spread on an aluminum-foil covered baking sheet. Keep them spaced so they don’t steam themselves.
Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, then take them out and stir/flip them over.
Return them to the oven, reduce the heat to 350f., and continue to bake for another 12-15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and crack the oven door open. Let them sit in the heat of the oven to lose some of their steam for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

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(Tip: extra chipotle/cilantro cream makes a great dip for the fries!)

You know what I love about these? Besides the taste. And how easy they are to make. And how good for you they are. And… sorry… you know what I love about these? They aren’t trying to pretend to be meat! They aren’t made of overly processed soy, or “textured vegetable protein” – and they don’t taste like a hamburger. They taste like… well, yamburgers! Really, really delicious yamburgers!

I’m pretty sure the only way you could not like these is if you don’t like sweet potatoes. Which I can only imagine is like your taste buds being color blind, and they can’t see red – you’re missing out on a whole world of flavor! But, as I said… they can easily be substituted with regular potatoes for a (less awesome) but still delicious, burger.

Perfect for a meatless monday, or any day of the week!

I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes – as burgers, fries, chips, grilled, skewered, in soup, pies… the list goes on and on. What’s your favorite way to use these sweet spuds? Let me know in the comments!

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75 Responses to Yamburgers! With Sweet Potato Fries, for good measure…

  1. Brandy Cross February 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I die for sweet potatoes <3 they are so good , never met a single person who hasnt loved EVERYTHING I've ever made with them and this dish looks like exactly what i have to try next time I get my hands on them! beautiful pictures by the way,

    only one problem :( , there are no chipotle peppers or adobe sauce in all of Holland. Any ideas as to what I could substitute??? <3

    • Willow February 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      Hmm… other dried hot peppers would probably work, rehydrated in a bit of hot water. Depending on the pepper you use you may want to remove the seeds/veins to mitigate the heat a little.
      As for adobo sauce, you could leave it out or mix together some from scratch. I believe it’s generally a combination of onion, garlic, vinegar, a little ketchup, salt, sugar, and water all cooked together with the chilies. I’m sure you could find a basic recipe online.

    • Charlie February 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Brandy: You could up the chili powder or what I would do is this.

      The asians have a bottled chili sauce and I would add a Tsp. to Tbsp. or to your level of heat.
      Go with the Tablespoon and play with it from there the next time.

      I hope this helps.


    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      Yeah – sriracha (or Asian garlic/chili sauce) has a very different flavor than adobo, but would work great in this. I would start with just a little, though, as it can be quite spicy. Good call, Charlie!

  2. Mama F February 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Yay! This recipe will be a life saver for me later this summer! We love having cook outs at our house and 2 of my friends have become vegan in the past year and I am always at a complete loss as to what to fix for them. This will be perfect. Cant wait to try it out!

    • Willow February 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      Great! Hope you like them. :)

  3. Lady Lovescraft February 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Hnnnnnnnng this is beautiful <3

  4. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes February 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    I had to Laugh- Yamburgers so funny and cute at the same time!

    We are HUGE fans of sweet potatoes and this recipe is so us; I was super excited to see one of your vegan recipes; they truly look amazing!

    …so when’s dinner- we can be over around 6pm :)

    • Willow February 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Haha – I’ll have ’em hot and ready!

  5. Kels @ K and K Test Kitchen February 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    These yamburgers (love the name!) sound awesome. I definitely enjoy a regular hamburger, but am always on the look-out for good vegetarian/vegan versions as well!

    • Willow February 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Cool – I love mixing things up!

  6. Debra Lee February 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Denifinately on my to do list! I like my sweet potatoes in chuks roasted with olive oil and sea salt!

    • Willow February 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Sounds yummy!

  7. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen February 20, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    This is gorgeous and I know my vegan sis is going to go nuts when I send her this link! Pinning!!!

  8. Tina February 20, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Those first three on the ingredient list definitely sound like a great trio! While I am not vegetarian, good taste is what I look for and I like what you did here so I am sure I would enjoy these. The cream is an excellent touch on top-yum!

    • Willow February 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      Thanks! And same here – I’m not vegetarian, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating meat-free foods. Actually, most of my meals end up being vegetarian/vegan accidentally, anyway. Good food is good food, period!

  9. Soni February 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Gorgeous Recipe!Love the veggie version here and they look great!Bookmarked :)

  10. Katherine Martinelli February 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    This looks amaaaazing! I just made black bean burgers the other day and loved them – but the addition of sweet potatoes is just inspired! And chipotle and sweet potatoes really do go well together. Pinned!

    • Willow February 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Thanks! They were pretty good – I’m pretty in love with this combination. :)

  11. Adrienne @ Apples n Adrienne February 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Wow, sounds terrific! I must say, I think my favorite way to enjoy them is plain, baked whole in the oven. Something I have my eye on: http://ohsheglows.com/2009/11/24/this-aint-grandmas-sweet-potato-casserole/
    I’ve tried sweet potato casserole, but I was thinking of testing this one out the other day!

    • Willow February 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Mmm – Angela (Oh She Glows) always has such tasty things going on! That’s just how I like sweet potato casserole, too – a little brown sugar on top, not a bunch of too-sweet marshamllows. :)

  12. Lisa February 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm #


  13. Amy @ CookingScraps February 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    These look awesome! I’m always looking for new veggie burgers that don’t have soy in them, these look like good contenders. Winner, winner, sweet potato dinner!

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Haha – yes! Glad I could help. :)

  14. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes February 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    WOW! These look simply amazing. Especially the chipotle/cilantro cream.

    It’s a pleasure to meet you through Foodbuzz – I’m ready to unleash my inner vegan!


    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      Ditto, and thanks!

  15. Suzi February 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    This whole meal is totally inspiring. I love it all and the chipolte cilantro cream is a real kicker. Delicious. Congrats on the Top 9. Well done.

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      Thank you! It’s my first Top 9, so I’m pretty psyched. :P

  16. Kiri W. February 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Oh wow, that sounds heavenly! I love yams, and veggie burgers are a wonderful thing. Sounds great! :) Thank you for sharing this!

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      No problem, glad you like!

  17. Staci February 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    These look wonderful. One problem though…I live in Saudi Arabia right now and you just can’t find quinoa here. (I’ve looked..hard) :( Is there something else I could sub? Or should I just leave it out altogether? Thanks!

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      You should definitely substitute something, to help hold it all together… other cooked grains might work, like bulgar, or millet. Or you could try using some kind of flour, or more of the crushed-up oats.
      Hope that helps!

  18. SKIP TO MALOU February 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    wow I never had sweet potatoes this way… nor had veggie burger for that matter…. although with your version it’s tempting me to try it.
    congrats of Foocbuzz top 9 and great to “meet” you!


    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Thanks! Great to ‘meet’ you, too! :)

  19. www.you-made-that.com February 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    These veggie burgers look wonderful, I bet they are super tasting too. I will have to try these out. Your photos are beautiful, congrats on the top 9

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Thank you! I hope you like them. :)

  20. RavieNomNoms February 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    I am SOOOOO saving this recipe! It looks phenomenal! Congrats on the Top 9…well deserved!

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Wow – thank you so much! :D

  21. Maggie February 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Holy moly!! These look outrageously good! I discovered your blog on the Top 9! Congrats. This recipe is 100% deserving of that spot. I can’t wait to try as I’ve been obsessed with sweet potatoes and quinoa as of late. Great to meet you and look forward to checking out more of your recipes!

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Thank you! And great to meet you too. :)

  22. Unknown February 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    How long should the potatoes be roasted in the oven if not microwaving?

    • Willow February 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      They should take around 20-25 minutes in the oven, depending on how big the chunks are. Give them a stir about half-way through, and test them towards the end with a fork.
      Hope that helps!

  23. Quiche-ing Queen February 22, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    I’d like to invite you to enter the giveaway on my blog for Satori Cheese. http://quiche-ingqueen.blogspot.com/2012/02/satori-cheese-giveaway.html

    • Willow February 22, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      Thank you so much for the invite! Always happy to enter a cheese giveaway. :)

  24. Anita at Hungry Couple February 22, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Hmm. I eat meat but, like you say, non-meat burgers are a delicious dish onto themselves. I’ve made them with beans and grains but never with sweet potatoes. I like the idea, though and I’m liking the idea of a cilantro cream which I would do non-vegan. Have you ever tried oven “frying” these? Saving and pinning the recipe. Thanks!

    • Willow February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      I haven’t tried putting them in the oven, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work… You could probably cook them all a lot faster, too, because they wouldn’t have to go in batches! Good idea. :)

  25. food enthusiasm February 22, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I have a hard time getting the consistency right for veggie burgers. I definitely want to give this one a shot! Thanks :)

    • Willow February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      I hope you like them!

  26. Mike February 22, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    This looks unbelievable!
    Gonna make this tonight, for sure.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Willow February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      You’re welcome – let me know what you think!

  27. Ruth REYNOSO-SANCE February 22, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Wow! That veggie burger looks amazing, as well as the other components, and super healthy too! I am a new follower and congrats on the Foodbuzz top 9!

    • Willow February 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Thank you! Great to have you as a reader. :)

  28. Unknown February 24, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    Wow I made this whole dish tonight and though it was laborious it was worth it! What a wonderful recipe. I did halve the adobo and it was still too spicy for me……. I’m a spice wus though. Just wanted you to know how much we loved it, I subbed curry and salt for the fries too.

    • Willow February 24, 2012 at 4:08 am #

      Thank you so much for telling me – comments like these really make my day! And I’m so glad you liked it… sorry to hear it was too spicy, though. Definitely a personal taste thing.

  29. Anonymous February 25, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    this looks ridiculously good…thank you for posting Willow! I have one question before I make these. Do you think the uncooked patties could be frozen? It’s just my husband and myself so the recipe would need halving if not.

    • Willow February 25, 2012 at 2:57 am #

      Hmm – I’m not sure if it would be best to freeze the uncooked patties, or to freeze them after cooking. I think I would cook them, then wrap them in plastic wrap/baggies and freeze them pre-made. Then maybe reheat them in the oven? That would be my suggestion, but I honestly haven’t tried. Hope that helps!

  30. Ally February 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Wow… loving all the textures in that burger! I love nothing more than a good veggie burger & this one looks amazing!!

    • Willow March 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      Thanks – I like a lot of texture, too. :)

  31. eating Local in the Lou March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Your images are amazing! These look so good, totally plan to try making! Thanks for sharing.

    • Willow March 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks! Let me know what you think. :D

  32. Jane226 March 17, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    This looks so amazing, I’m making it right now! But when do I combine the corn you list for the burgers? (Can you tell this is my first time making veggie burgers from scratch?)

    • Willow March 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Sorry I didn’t see this last night for a quicker response! The corn should be added at the point where I say ‘add all other ingredients’ – which is after most of the mashing is done. Not a big deal if it’s added before or after that, really, but I did it that way to preserve the corns texture in the burgers.

      I hope you enjoyed them!

  33. Ritroviamoci in Cucina April 20, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Every time I come here I know I’ll find something special and inviting.
    I ate the sweet potato fries for the first time in London last August and were crunchy and delicious. Why can’t I make them crispy at home? :o(
    Few tricks you can recommend? Thank you.

    • Willow April 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm #


      When it comes to making sweet potato fries, I’ve seen a LOT of tips and tricks for making them crispy. I’ve tried a lot of them, and sometimes I have success and sometimes not… and I’m not sure why.

      Some of my favorite tips are:
      1. slice the potatos thinly and evenly
      2. submerge the slices in a bath of ice-water before cooking. This pulls out some of the starches, plus will chill the fries through so the interior cooks more slowly while the exterior crisps up. (It may even help to chill them in the fridge for a bit.)
      3. dry the fries thoroughly
      4. space them well on the tray, so that they don’t steam eachother.

      I’ve also heard, although it’s not vegan, that folding the fries into a whipped egg white (instead of tossing in oil) will help create a nice crispy exterior.

      Hope this helps, and if I discover any other tricks that work I’ll be sure to let you know!

  34. Anonymous May 23, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    nice idea.. thanks for posting..

    • Willow May 23, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      You’re welcome. :)

  35. mjskit July 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I had a big juicy hamburger last night. It was good but I’m still stuffed from it this morning. I wish I had had something like this! :) I’ve never seen sweet potatoes used in a burger patty. What a great idea with the black beans since there are few better combinations of flavors than black beans and sweet potatoes.! I love these patties!! Then the sweet potato fries – how do beat that?!

  36. Anonymous January 21, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Well I’m making these today and I just realized I never added the corn. Crap. I am NOT crumbling everything back up just to mix it in, so I’ll guess I’ll have to make them again! Can’t wait to devour 6 of these (we are making them “slider” size!)

    • Willow January 21, 2013 at 1:42 am #

      I’m sure they’ll still be delish without the corn – hope you like them! :)

  37. Pesky Settler June 19, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    With a couple modifications (I added eggs and use matzah meal instead of rolled oats) this has become a HUGE hit with the grown ups. Now trying to figure out how to get my 6 and 4 year olds to try these….

    • Willow Arlen June 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      That’s wonderful, I’m glad you liked them! As for the kids, you never know… when I was a kid my mom always said I couldn’t say I didn’t like something if I didn’t try it first — made me a very adventurous eater!

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