A Cook's Plot

Vegetarian & Vegan

Spicy bean burgers

Delicious vegan burgers that everyone will love!


Serves 4

  • Half a large sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • half a large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 250g cans black beans, well drained
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • good pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 50g breadcrumbs (gluten free, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp Henderson’s Relish
  • half tbsp Dijon mustard
  • small handful of fresh parsley, chopped


First, cook the cubes of sweet potato in a tablespoon of water in a covered bowl in the microwave for 4 minutes until very tender, then season and mash well. Fry the red pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil until tender, then mix together all the ingredients except one can of the black beans. Season well then whizz for a minute or two in a food processor until still slightly chunky. Stir in the remaining beans.

Using a serving spoon or, better still, an ice cream scoop, make 8 or 9 piles on a baking sheet lined with foil, then flatten with your hand into round burgers. See above for cooking instructions. Serve with sliced tomatoes, salad leaves and mayonnaise.

A Cook's Plot Tip

Recently I was asked to make some vegan, gluten-free burgers for a celebration barbecue. Meat-free burgers can be very dry, and that’s exacerbated when you can’t use eggs to bind the mixture - but after a bit of experimenting, I found that mashed sweet potatoes did a great job of keeping the burgers moist, adding extra flavour and binding the mixture together so that it held its shape. That said, if the burgers are to be cooked on the barbecue I recommend cooking them in advance for 6 minutes each side in the oven first (at 175C) – that way, they only need a few extra minutes over hot coals when you’re ready to eat them and there’s much less risk that they'll break up when you try to turn them. You’ll see that I’ve used Henderson’s Relish, a vegetarian and vegan alternative to Worcestershire Sauce, in the recipe - you can get it in most larger supermarkets. The burgers were apparently a big success at the party and, even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, they’re definitely worth a try because they’re VERY tasty!

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