Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sweet potato, chickpea and chia burgers - Tasty, healthy, oh and did I mention tasty?!

Burgers really are a great comfort food aren't they?!  They are the perfect culinary answer to so many situations - quick meal out with mates, summer picnics in the park, casual meal out with the kids (where you don't generally have to worry how messy they get!), 'refueling' after a big night out on the town, and many more.

Up until a few years ago, burgers were found at either the local fish'n'chip shop or of course at McD's, and were pretty one dimensional - low grade meat patty, bit of lettuce and tomato maybe, white bun and, what am I forgetting???  Oh yes, the quintessential accompaniment, tomato sauce (or ketchup if that's speaking more your language!).  In more recent times, various gourmet fast food establishments have arisen and taken the humble burger to a new level, and consequently reinvigorated our interest.

So having said that, some of you will think I am strange to launch into a quick spiel on incorporating a 'meatless Monday' into your weekly meal plan.  What meatless?? I thought you were talking about burgers?  Well I am!  You don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy the many combinations of ingredients put together to make a patty, and having one day a week without meat helps keep your shopping bill down, whilst encouraging legumes and other meat substitutes into your diet.  And this recipe is a great way to get your family rolling on a 'meatless Monday' plan! (OK, if you want to make it Tuesday, that's fine too).

So I found this recipe in the latest Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine (an awesome subscription to have as it gives easy to read and easy to apply nutrition tips and recipes) and straight away thought, the sweet potato will go down well with my boys, the flavours of lemon and cumin and 'meatiness' of the chickpeas would appeal to hubby (!), and all the healthy bits I could add in would make me smile as I watched everyone devour them!

I set to work, changed and added a few things, and voila, here tis folks.... Sweet Potato, chickpea and chia burgers!  Of course I couldn't just stop at knowing the patty was healthy, so in the last 10 minutes before serving, I quickly threw a carrot, some broccoli, nearly a tin of organic chopped tomatoes, a big spoon of tomato paste, a bit of vegetable stock concentrate (a Thermomix favourite but if you don't have one, just a sprinkling of stock powder will do) and a couple of mushrooms into the Thermomix, chopped them up really finely then cooked it on 100 degrees for 10 minutes.  A healthy 'tomato sauce' which the boys ate quite happily spread on the toast under the burger.  Without a Thermomix, just either use a food processor or grate/finely chop the veggies and simmer in a small saucepan.  Oh, I'll leave that for the method below perhaps!!

As I always say, use this as a guide and play around with the flavours that are favourites in your household.  Use gluten free bread/buns if you need, change the fillings.... personalise it, and let me know what you think!  Enjoy......

Sweet Potato, chickpea and chia burgers

Ingredients - patties

400g sweet potato, chopped (dont peel if you have a TMX or food processor)
400g can chickpeas, rinsed
2 spring onions (finely chopped if no TMX)
1/2 lemon, zested (if you have a TMX, just use veggie peeler to take off half the lemon)
1 garlic clove, peeled (and finely chopped if no TMX)
2 eggs (lightly beaten if no TMX or food processor)
1 tsp ground cumin
a few sprigs parsley (chopped if no TMX)
2 tbs chia seeds
oil to cook

 Ingredients - tomato/veg sauce

a few broccoli florets
a carrot
a few mushrooms
3/4 tin organic chopped tomatoes
a big tbs tomato paste
a tsp TMX veggie stock concentrate (or stock powder)
good quality buns (or wholemeal multigrain toast in our case!!)
lettuce or spinach leaves
sliced tomato

Method - Thermomix

1.  Place chopped sweet potato in Varoma tray.  Fill TM bowl with 1 Lt water and steam for 20 minutes on Varoma setting, speed 4.  Set aside.
2.  Empty and dry bowl.  Place spring onions, lemon zest, parsley and garlic in TM bowl.  Chop on speed 7 until you no longer hear chopping noise.  Scrape down and repeat if necessary until fine chop of ingredients is achieved.
3.  Add sweet potato, chickpeas, eggs, cumin and chia seeds.  Press turbo until all ingredients combined but with a bit of texture left in the mix.  Scrape mix out into another bowl to have the TM bowl free for making the tomato/veg sauce.  No need to clean.
4.  Heat frypan over medium heat.  If you want to make the patties nice and neat (!) use egg rings sprayed lightly with oil and spoon in some of the mix and press down lightly.  When browned, flip carefully with spatula, carefully remove egg ring and cook until warmed through.  Repeat with remaining mix.
5.  While cooking the patties, place carrot, broccoli and mushrooms into TMX bowl and chop on speed 5 for 5 seconds.  Add tomatoes, paste and stock concentrate and cook at 100 degrees, speed 2 for 10 minutes.  Set aside.
6.   Assemble burgers by spreading tomato/veg sauce onto bun, top with patty and remaining topping ingredients of your choice.

Method - Conventional

1.  Steam chopped sweet potato by method of your choice (over double boiler, microwave etc)
2.  Place in bowl and add remaining patty ingredients.  Mash with a potato masher or if you have a food processor, place all ingredients in the bowl and turbo/pulse until combined but with a bit of texture left in the mix.
3.  Follow step 4 above.
4.  While cooking the patties, finely chop broccoli and mushrooms.  Finely chop or grate carrot.  Place in small saucepan.  Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes or until veggies are soft.  Set aside.
5.  Follow step 6 above.


  1. Yum. AND I think Hosko might even like these, they're like a "meatier" version of root vegetable patties I used to make all the time. I was about to nag you for the recipe.

    Also, just a side note i paid EIGHT dollars for FOUR GF rolls this week. Outrageous!

    1. Let me know what he thinks of them Elly! That would be the true test! ( ; $8??!! You really need to start making my flatbread - heaps cheaper and more nutritious!

    2. Well they were a hit!

      I must have asked if he liked them too many times because he asked "Why? Whats in them??". I made a more traditional burger for Brendan with cheese, lettuce and tomato sauce while I had mine with some natural yoghurt.

      Bubs will have hers for lunch tomorrow, I omitted the egg and mixed in some GF breadcrumbs so I hope they will bind ok.

      I think this is the healthiest thing Brendan has ever eaten!!

    3. That's great news Elly! So glad you both liked them, and wow, what a feat for Brendan to not only eat them but like them too! Yay ( :

  2. I'm thinking these would also be great served without the bun and with a side salad :)

    1. Absolutely Steph! Actually that is how I had them - given I'm Coeliac I often cant be bothered organising bread for myself so I just have them on a good hearty salad! With a splash of sweet chilli sauce and some avocado - mmmm ( :

    2. Yes I am avoiding gluten for my fertility so am the same , it is just easier to not worry about bread! I make a dressing with avocado and tahini, that will be me I think:)

    3. Oooo avocado and tahini! That sounds good. I'll have to try that next time! I do a tahini dressing on a brown and wild rice salad I put together. Yum!

  3. I made these for dinner last night - they were a hit! I was a little heavy handed with the pulse so I added some breadcrumbs to thicken it up lol! I used lime zest (as that's what I had) and baked them in the oven for about 15 / 20 mins so I could heat them quickly in a fry pan for dinner. So.good.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! Seriously delicious!

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