Unfussy Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
4.14 from 37 votes

These unfussy sweet potato black bean burgers come together easily, but they pack a lot of flavor! They’re also full of healthful ingredients, including black beans, sweet potatoes, rolled oats, and pumpkin seeds. The burgers are great for meal prepping and freezing.

A plant-based burger is piled onto a simple burger bun with mayonnaise and ketchup. It's resting on a small piece of parchment paper.

These are just what they sound like: unfussy, un-fancy sweet potato black bean burgers.

What makes them sort of remarkable is the fact that this is the first sweet potato black bean burger I’ve ever made! It’s difficult to wrap my mind around, since the sweet potato + black bean combination is a regular favorite in my recipes: I’ve featured it in bowls, enchiladas, salads, and more.

A roasted sweet potato is being stored in crumpled aluminum foil.

Since making these sliders, I’ve been on a somewhat uncharacteristic homemade burger kick. In that post, I mentioned that my favorite burger-making shortcut is to forgo sautéing any of the ingredients, onions and garlic included, and opting to use garlic and/or onion powder instead. I completely disregarded my own advice when I made these burgers, though, quickly sautéing some onion (along with the black beans and seasonings) before mixing the burgers.

It’s good to contradict oneself sometimes. The burgers would probably taste good with onion powder, but I do think that cooking fresh onion and allowing the spices to heat up a bit here adds flavor, along with texture.

Black beans and onions are being sauteed in a round, stainless steel frying pan.

Aside from that step, the rest of the recipe is as easy as can be. You can use baked sweet potato, but I microwaved mine because I was short on time, and I used canned beans. The binder here is rolled oats (some ground up in the food processor, some whole), which means that the burgers are naturally and easily gluten-free if you have a GF certified oat brand that you like. Pumpkin seeds help to bind them as well, too, and they add some healthful fat to the mix.

The burgers are wonderful served traditionally: on a toasted bun or roll with some ketchup. Since tomatoes are just about perfect in my neck of the woods right now, I’ve been adding thick slices to my burgers, along with a few pieces of butter lettuce. Along with a quick side salad or some steamed vegetables, the burgers make for a perfectly satisfying and flavorful meal. Unfussy, un-fancy, and no worse for it.

Here’s the recipe.

Black bean sweet potato burgers are arranged on a parchment lined baking sheet.
A plant-based burger is piled onto a simple burger bun with mayonnaise and ketchup. It's resting on a small piece of parchment paper.
4.14 from 37 votes

Unfussy Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 burgers


  • 1 large or two small sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes (to your taste)
  • 1 cup rolled oats, divided into 3/4 and 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds


  • First, cook your sweet potatoes. Prick them with a fork several times, then bake at 400F till fork tender or microwave the potatoes for 5-6 minutes each. Allow the potatoes to cool till they can be touched, and use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the potato skins. You should have about 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) of cooked sweet potato to use in the recipe.
  • Either lower the oven heat to 375F (if you baked the potatoes) or preheat it to 375F (if you microwave cooked them). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the olive oil (or oil or water) to a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onion is clear and tender. Add the black beans and all of the spices. Stir and heat till the ingredients are warmed through.
  • Place 3/4 cup of the rolled oats and the pumpkin seeds into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Process for about 1 minute, until you have a relatively fine meal. Add the onion/bean/spice mix to the processor, along with the cooked sweet potato and the remaining 1/4 cup rolled oats. Pulse the mixture until everything is broken down and is starting to blend up evenly. Then turn the mixture out into a mixing bowl and use a fork to mix everything together thoroughly. This way the burgers will be blended but retain some texture!
  • Allow the burger mixture to sit for 5 minutes (it'll firm up like this). Shape it into 6-8 patties. Add them to the baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned, flipping once through.


Burgers can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. They will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Vegan black bean sweet potatoes are served on a hamburger bun with ketchup and mayonnaise. The burger is cut in half, revealing a crosswise section.

You can serve the burgers traditionally each and every time you enjoy them. But if you have a bunch leftover, as I do, they’re also great broken into pieces and served in a bowl. They’re also good stuffed into pitas, falafel-style.

The only big downside of these burgers is that they’re too tender, pre-cooking, to work on a grill or in a grill pan, so baking is the only option. The good news is that it’s a particularly healthful and hands-off option. If you make them, I hope you’ll enjoy their heartiness and lack of fussiness as much as I have.

Circling back to Sunday’s post, I’m still reentering work and life, still dealing with the ups and downs of adjustment, still feeling very inward. Letting it all be what it is. I’ll see you this weekend, for the usual roundup.


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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes
Method: Oven
Ingredients: Black Beans, Sweet Potato
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. Can I substitute a different nut or seed for the pumpkin seeds? ( I have an allergy)

  2. I have attempted a lot of burgers like these without success. This one was amazing! Even my 7 and 9 year old LOVED them…which I feel like is the true test if they are willing to eat it!

    I followed the recipe as it is written with one exception: I didn’t have pumpkin seeds so I used unsalted cashews.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a number of times and my family loves them. I think they reheat well and I personally really like the texture/consistency, which is maybe closer to a falafel. They aren’t terrific by themselves and benefit from an accompanying sauce/spread or else the dressing if they’re added to a salad–but I could say the same for most burgers. Usually I make a sauce that’s something like plain cashew yogurt plus harissa, adobo sauce, or Frank’s hot sauce. Sometimes we just have the patty+sauce+tomato slice. My 11 yo child will happily eat the burger and the sauce.

    One comment for people trying the recipe for the first time: I would recommend buying more than the amount of sweet potatoes called for in the recipe. I think the recipe is better with the full 1.5 cups sweet potato, and sometimes you just don’t get all that from a large sweet potato, depending on what the inside is like. Recently I’ve found that some of the inside of the sweet potato is cooked but kind of off color and stringy. Don’t want to use that…

  4. 3 stars
    These were good texture and tasted great. I didn’t have pumpkin seeds so used flax. Only other change was drying?seeds. I also baked the black beans about 15 minutes on cookie sheet based on past experiences to keep burgers from being mushy. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you.

  5. Gena,

    These look great! Could you advise a substitute for oats? I don’t tolerate these well. Would almond flour work?

    • Hi Monica,

      I think almond flour might be a little too crumbly, or dry the mixture oat. Can you tolerate wheat flour? Or bread crumbs? If not, the almond flour is worth a shot 🙂 Let me know how it goes.


  6. These look fab, i will cook tomight and hopefully enjoy cold leftovers the next day. Have you written any recipe books btw?

    • I don’t have those numbers at this time, but you can definitely calculate using an app or online program (such as MyFitnessPal).