One Dish, Two Spoons: Burgers!

18 Nov

This week’s One Dish, Two Spoons post was inspired by the grumblings of Jess’ belly: burgers!!  We’re going to show you two different (but equally healthy) ways of spinning the classic burger recipe.  For additional intrigue, we’re going to both use a common ingredient: sweet potato.  Yup, sweet potato in yer burger.

Jess’ Take:

Just because I’m a vegetarian doesn’t mean I don’t get cravings for foods like burgers, I just don’t happen to crave beef burgers.  In the near-6 years I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve definitely had my fair share of veggie burgers.  Be it rice, bean, tvp or soy based, name it and I’ve most likely tried it.  Some have been pretty good while others downright disgusting, but those are usually the ones that try too hard to mimic a beef burger.

When I pitched the idea to Tess for a burger edition of 1 Dish 2 Spoons, sweet potatoes were dancing in my head so I figured, why not? Taking inspiration from the Indian and Thai flavours I added in some Garam Masala and then quinoa for a protein kick.

Mix it all together and you have:

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers with Smoky Avocado Relish

When making these burgers it’s important to note the best cooking method is to bake them.  I find this helps the mixture firm up more evenly than frying would and they’re too fragile to be bbq’d.  Oh and the smoky avocado relish adds a delectable finish to an otherwise fantastic burger.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers with Smoky Avocado Relish


1 tsp olive oil

½ onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

1 tsp garam masala

1 medium sweet potato, diced

¼ c. quinoa

½ c. veggie stock, or water

¾ c. bread crumbs

Smoky Avocado Relish

1 avocado, diced

¼ tsp cumin

Juice of 1 lime

Salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 425

Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add in sweet potato and cook until tender, drain and set aside.

Combine quinoa and vegetable stock or water in a small pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, cook until liquid is absorbed, set aside.

Next, heat olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan over medium-high heat, add in your onions and cook until softened. Add in your garlic, garam masala and salt and cook until fragrant then add in your sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly in onion mixture.

Remove from heat and pour potato mixture into your food processor, pulse until mostly smooth but not pureed.  Pour into a bowl and add in quinoa and bread crumbs, taste and adjust seasonings.

Lightly grease a baking sheet either with cooking spray or a bit of canola oil.

Form the mixture into 3-4 patties, depending on how big you want your burgers, place on the baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes on each side until golden brown and a bit crispy on the outside.

While the burgers are baking, combine avocado, lime, cumin and salt into a food processor.  Pulse and scrape a few times until you get a nice spread that has an almost relish consistency.

Split a bun of your choice in two, top with burger and relish and any other toppings of your choice.


Tess’ Take:

Burgers are one of those things for me that I really do not crave very often – I’m a sugar person.  But when Jess suggested that we make burgers for this week’s edition of 1D2S I felt my heart skip a beat, because I realized I hadn’t had a burger in over 6 months! (I can almost hear the thought process on the other end of this post of people calculating how many days/weeks/months it’s been since their last burger lol)  My first instinct was to use ground turkey, but I wanted to show that you can still get that beefy taste without all the calories (bison is a leaner meat than beef).  I immediately knew where I would find today’s recipe, and that’s from the cookbook of my very own nutritionist: Dave Ruel – The Muscle Cook (and no, I promise they are not paying me to endorse them!)

Bison Burgers

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1/4 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)

2 egg whites

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup sweet potato, mashed

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

lb ground bison

1. Cook the onion (and jalapeño if you’re using it) in the oil until soft.  Set aside.

2. Mix egg whites, oat bran, sweet potato, oregano, s&p.  Add in bison and onions until just combined.

Yes Jess, I washed my hands!

3. Create patties (4-6, depending on how big you like them).

4. You can either grill the patties on the bbq, fry them in a pan with a bit of oil, or even bake them (though I’m not sure what temp the oven would have to be at… sorry!).

5. Enjoy!

I often use lettuce instead of bread for my burgers and sandwiches; I'm still surprised at how little I miss bread buns! I would recommend using a big lettuce leaf (like Boston lettuce) and wrapping it tightly as things can get messy quickly! I also used a smear of goat cheese instead of the classic cheddar (you need half the amount for double the taste, therefore saving potentially hundreds calories). Though as you can see, I cannot do without mayonnaise. There are some things that just can't be substituted!

John is my toughest critic. He liked the burgers (it's bison... what's not to like?) and said the fries were my best batch yet

I also opted out of the fries and chose some cut up veggies instead as I had yet to meet my "quota" for the day.

While I’m here I may as well give the directions for my sweet potato fries too.  I’ve tried practically every method of making sweet potato fries and have yet to come across the perfect recipe – one that cooks the potato all the way through so they’re soft on the inside, but keeps them crispy on the outside WITHOUT burning them!  Oh, and I refuse to fry them – baking only.  Well, this was my best batch to date so I think I’m finally getting the hang of this!

1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes.  I cut mine a bit on the thick side because I’ve found that cutting them thin (like McD’s thin) makes them burn too fast.

2. Stick ’em in a pot of boiling water for a couple minutes to soften them up (but not too soft!)

3. Pat dry on a paper towel.

4. Coat them with a mixture of egg whites, olive oil, s&p, and paprika.

5. Bake on cookie sheets (I used aluminum foil only because I was out of parchment paper, which would have been preferable) at 400F for 35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes and removing fries as they reach desired crispiness (some finish before others).

And there you go – two healthy ways of enjoying a classic North American meal.  Hopefully you’ve managed to find something in today’s post that tickles your fancy!



4 Responses to “One Dish, Two Spoons: Burgers!”

  1. Vicki November 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Good jod ladies! Both dishes look tasty!

  2. getfitwithles November 19, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    YUM! I want to come over for dinner when you are making these burgers Tess! And I want to try your sweet potato fries!!!! Awesome post ladies!

  3. Tess and Jess November 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    (Jess) Tess I am sooooo trying that recipe for sweet potato fries, stat!

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