Since deciding to eat more plant-based I’ve tried my fair share of veggie burgers, with mixed results. With some the flavor was outstanding but the texture was a bit unappealing. With others, it was just the opposite. After making a handful of recipes I got the method down fairly easily and decided to try making my own, taking what I had on hand and adding in my favorite flavors. And WOW. These southwestern veggie quinoa burgers were phenomenal, if I say so myself. The sweetness of the corn and sweet potato perfectly balance the almost bitter flavor of the quinoa; the spicy barbecue sauce counterbalances the sweetness and adds a depth of flavor; and the fresh cilantro adds a brightness to it and makes this a perfectly balanced, well-rounded, complex bite.
When I first made these burgers I did a small batch, making only about three patties. I served myself one and gave the other two to my twins (I didn’t bother with my 4-year-old; I knew he’d give me grief so why cast your pearls before swine, y’know what I mean?). My girls gobbled them up immediately, making yummy sounds all the way. When it was finally my turn to sit down and eat (because mom is always the last to enjoy what she’s served to everyone else), I regretted sharing them with my babies. I wanted more.
Like the obsessive food fiend that I am, I’ve been thinking about these burgers ever since I first made them. I made them last night for my husband, this time whipping up a little pineapple slaw for a sweet summery complement. Even the carnivore was blown away. Give ’em a try at your next summer cookout, or make some slider-sized, slaw-topped patties for an appetizer to a party. They’re a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Southwestern Quinoa Veggie BurgerS
- 1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1-1/2 cup cooked sweet potato (about one medium-sized potato), slightly mashed
- 1/4 cup corn, lightly steamed
- 1-2 carrots, shredded
- 3 Tablespoons onion, diced
- 3 Tablespoons spicy* barbecue sauce (or more to taste)
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 5 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped (or more to taste — I like a lot!)
- Juice of half a lime (optional, but it adds a nice zip to it)
Add the quinoa, sweet potato, corn, carrots, onion, and barbecue sauce to a food processor and pulse until well mixed but not pureed. Add the oats and pulse until will mixed. Add the cilantro and pulse just enough to get the cilantro throughout. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, then first mash the sweet potato completely and mix everything together in a big bowl, mashing everything as needed to ensure a cohesive mixture.
Shape into patties and cook on a hot stovetop or grill, about 8-10 minutes on each side. Serve with or without buns and top off with a generous portion of pineapple slaw.
*It’s OK to use any kind of barbecue sauce you have, but I recommend using a spicy or tangy sauce because it balances the sweetness of the potato and corn.
This is an adaptable recipe so you can make as much or as little as you’d like. For the slaw, mix shredded green cabbage, purple cabbage, and carrot. Cut pineapple chunks into small, thin chunks and toss into the slaw. Top off with cilantro.
For the dressing:
- Four parts ranch dressing
- One part barbecue sauce
- One part pineapple juice