Sweet potato and butterbean burgers, with a spicy tomato relish, on homemade oaty bread.


Last night I made sweet potato and butterbean burgers, with a homemade spicy tomato dip, sandwiched between freshly made oaty bread. It tasted so good, and is so healthy, that I thought that I would share this recipe with you.

If you don’t want to make the bread, I think the burger would sit just as well on a toasted Brioche: a light, sweet, bread which would complement the creaminess of the burger. I, however, love the oaty bread and seize any opportunity to make it.

Some facts about our star ingredients and why they kick ass:

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and C and abundant with antioxidants, working to rid the body of cancer-friendly radicals. They are also low on the Glycemic Index and rich in dietary fibre.
  • Butterbeans are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat. They contain vitamin A and C and are a great way to add a creamy texture.

The below recipe serves about 4 people, though it depends on how many burgers a person eats!

For the Burgers: 

1 large sweet potato
1 tin of butterbeans in water
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp paprika
2 finely minced cloves of garlic
The juice of 1 lime or lemon
Soya milk (this is a diary free recipe but cows milk would work fine) – this is optional but you might find it helps work together the butterbeans and sweet potato
A pinch of salt
A pinch of pepper

The method:

Boil the sweet potatoes in a pan until they are soft enough to mash.
Drain the potatoes, add the tin of butterbeans and mash together. You can add a little milk to bind, but make sure that the mixture remains firm enough to form burgers.
Add all the herbs (they are far more flavoursome if fresh but dried will work just fine).
Add in the garlic and mix well.
Add the juice of the citrus, which really helps cut through the sweet and buttery flavours.
The mixture should be firm enough to form fist sized burgers. Put the burgers on an oven tray and pop under the grill for approx. 10 mins on each side or until browned and crispy. Alternatively for a little more crunch and flavour, you can pan fry the burgers in a little olive oil over a medium to high heat, but I prefer to bake or grill to be as healthy as possible.

For the tomato relish:

150 grams of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
A tsp of dried chilli flakes. If you like it with a real kick add more, or less if you just want a hint of heat
1 clove of garlic
A handful of fresh basil
A pinch of salt and pepper to season

The method:

Mix together in a food processor until blended then put to one side until the burgers are ready. Any excess can be refrigerated and keeps for a few days. I like to make extra as it saves time and is great for adding to other meals and as a salad dressing.

For the bread:

I found this recipe years ago, and it goes down a storm. Everybody requests it for BBQ’s and dinner parties and even kids love it. The treacle and honey add a rich, intense depth and flavour to the bread. The below amount makes for about 4 buns, and you will need:

200 grams of malted or multigrain bread flour
50 grams of rolled oats
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp treacle
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Half a carton (284 ml) buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk you can make an easy substitute by pouring 250mls of milk into a jug and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Stir well and leave to stand for 5 minutes before using. Full fat milk or semi-skimmed milk work best here, but I actually used soya for a dairy free recipe, and it worked just fine. Since trying this substitute I have never bothered spending money on buttermilk.

The method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.
Line a baking tin or tray with foil or lightly grease.
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, add the honey and treacle then work everything together lightly with a wooden spoon.
Shape into little burger sized bunds. If the mixture is too wet I just add more flour. Probably not the most precise way of doing things, but I never said this food blog was about being precise and it worked for me!
Bake for about 20  – 25 minutes then check to see if they are ready by inserting a knife into the centre. If it comes out clean they are done. If not put them in for 5-minute stints and keep checking.
Allow the buns to cool a little before turning out onto a wire rack.

To serve:

Now as you know, along with a homemade made-up recipe, Desert Island Whisks is not complete without the paring of a good wine and song to enjoy it with.

To compliment the saccharinity of the sweet potato and creaminess of the butterbeans, I recommend a Pinot Noir, a medium bodied red wine that goes well with sweet vegetables such as sweet potato and will also stand up the earthy flavours of the bread. If you prefer a white then I would recommend a Gewurtztraminer with it’s sweet and spicy flavours, or a Reisling, rich in acidity to cut the the sweetness of the dish.

The music is chosen by my former boss (well, indirectly, but she ran The Guardian at the time I was an employee) Carolyn McCall. She is currently Chief Executive of easyJet, and one of only three women in Britain in charge of a FTSE 100 company. The chosen song is Town Called Malice, by The Jam.

3 thoughts on “Sweet potato and butterbean burgers, with a spicy tomato relish, on homemade oaty bread.

    • Ah, I am so pleased that you like it! I know what you mean re the beans though, chickpeas are a great idea. Since making the bean burgers, I have developed a slight obsession with beans in general. They are going in everything. It’s going to get a bit breezy in our house soon if I’m not careful;)

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