Southwestern Veggie Burgers

I had planned on doing a lot more reading this summer. I'm currently in the middle of three books, one of which I started way back in May. With house projects and photo shoots and, well, the distractions of the news (and the time suck of scrolling through Facebook), I've failed to make room for it (or anything else, really... which is why I've only posted a handful of times over the last couple of months).  I know that summer isn't over yet... and what remains will hopefully be filled with swimming, grilling, and reading. 

This weekend should include all of those things as we have some friends coming down. All are bloggers and, therefore, we've already planned out our meals and cocktails. There's talk of homemade ice cream, lobster tater tots (a recipe Dan's developing), and lots and lots of cheese. Someone's even bringing food-shaped pool floats (which will make for some fun Instagram posts). 

I'm not sure what came over me, but I was really feeling like I needed a veggie burger in my life. It doesn't happen often. Like, once every couple of years. I knew the burger itself needed to be packed with bold spices and it'd be topped with a grilled corn salsa (one of my favorite summer dishes). These southwestern veggie burgers are very filling and have a great texture (they aren't mushy and don't fall apart when you pick them up).  


The 1 tablespoon of salt is correct. Given the amount of vegetables and the unsalted black beans, it needs the seasoning. If you use salted black beans, you can cut the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

4-6 veggie burgers (depending on the size of the patties)

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup grated zucchini (from 1 small zucchini)
1 cup grated carrot (approximately 2 carrots)
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz canned unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 eggs
Olive oil

Burger buns
1 avocado
Grilled corn salsa (see recipe below

1. Put the grated vegetables, cilantro, garlic, and black beans into a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

2. Add the eggs to the vegetables and mix until well combined. Stir dry ingredients into vegetable mixture. 

3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375. 

4. Form the mixture into four patties and set aside. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Fry patties for 2 minutes on each side and then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. 

5. Bake patties in the oven for 15-20 minutes to allow them to cook all the way through. 

6. Serve burgers on a bun with sliced avocado and corn salsa.



4 ears corn, shucked
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeño
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch thick rings
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

1. Brush corn and red onion with olive oil.

2. Set the grill to 450 degrees F and preheat for 10 minutes. Place the corn, red onion, and jalapeño onto the grill. Cook the vegetables, rotating or flipping occasionally, until they've charred evenly on all sides. Remove from the grill.

3. Shave corn into a mixing bowl. Chop up the jalapeno and red onion and add to bowl. Add diced tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt, to taste. 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger | A Thought For Food

As a teenager and newbie pescatarian, veggie burgers never did much for me. I consumed them when I first stopped eating red meat and poultry 16 years ago, but only so that I'd feel included while everyone else chomped into hotdogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken. Over the years, I've learned that veggie burgers can be so much more than what I was served back then.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger | A Thought For Food
Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger | A Thought For Food
Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger | A Thought For Food

The joy of making them at home is that you can tailor them to your preferences, giving the patties some spice and all the textures you desire. When Negra Modelo reached out about partnering with them on their "Perfect Complement" campaign, there was no doubt that I was going to do a sweet potato burger. Working off the caramel and brown sugar notes in the beer, I roasted the sweet potato to bring out similar flavors.  A beer like Negra Modelo goes well with spicy food, so chopped jalapeño and a bit of smoked paprika felt like a natural fit. But, really, it wouldn't be a burger without some messy toppings. While you could easily throw blue cheese on there (and I fully support that), I went with a creamy, zingy avocado spread to brighten things up and purple cabbage slaw for crunch.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Negra Modelo for sponsoring this post. It's a pleasure working with brands who support my style of cooking.  All opinions expressed on my site are my own.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Burger

Servings Serves 4 (2 patties per person)


For the veggie burgers

3 or 4 sweet potatoes (3/4 lb.), cut in half lengthwise
3/4 cup chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cooked quinoa
Olive oil Salt

For the avocado spread

1 avocado, pit removed
1/8 cup cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

For the slaw

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
2 tablespooons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar

4 hamburger buns


For the veggie burgers

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place sweet potato halves on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook sweet potato for 30 minutes, flipping them once halfway through.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Once the sweet potato is cooked enough that a sharp knife easily cuts into it, remove from the oven. Let cool and then peel the skin away from the sweet potato. Transfer the flesh to a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.

4. Stir in cooked onion and garlic and chopped jalapeno.

5. Gently mix in black beans, followed by the flour, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Once they are completely incorporated into the mixture, mix in the quinoa.

6. Line a plate with parchment paper. Scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands and mold into patties. Place on lined plate. Repeat with remaining mixture. Refrigerate patties for 30 minutes.

7. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until brown. Transfer cooked patties to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and cook in the 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (or longer to dry them out and firm them up), flipping them half way through.

For the avocado spread

1. Using a blender (or an immersion blender), puree the avocado, cilantro, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and white wine vinegar until smooth.

For the slaw

1. In a bowl, toss the sliced red cabbage with rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.

How to Build the Burger
Place two veggie burgers on top of the bottom half of the hamburger bun. Top with slaw. Spread avocado mixture on the top half of the bun and place on top of the slaw. Serve with an icy cold Negra Modelo.


Smokey Shrimp Burgers with Fried Oysters

It's hard not to feel a little left out this time of year. You get invited to a barbecue and you know that there will be very little for you to eat. Potato salad is a wonderful thing, but it's not going to soak up the bottle of rosé you'll consume over the course of the afternoon. And, look, I totally get it. Burgers and hot dogs and chicken are cheap and easy to throw together. Some grilled veggies will make their way into the mix to give the vegetarians their fix. But most people are nervous about serving fish to a crowd. How do you prepare it? Will people eat it? Is it going to weird folks out?

I think most will get behind any kind of burger. On a hot summer day, who doesn't want to chow down on a big, messy sandwich while swigging from an ice cold beer? Which brings me to my point: seafood burgers are just as wonderful as the beef variety. Take, for instance, this shrimp burger. The patty is a combination of shrimp, grated apple and onion, some salt and pepper, and, for smokiness, a couple teaspoons of Chipotle Tabasco.

One might say I went a little overboard with the fried oysters, avocado, and mayo. But, really, when it comes to burgers, can you really go too far? No. The answer is no. Always.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tabasco. Over the course of the year, I will be creating recipes featuring the Tabasco Family of Flavors and this is the first of those posts. All opinions expressed on my site are my own.

You can check out my recap from my trip to visiting Tabasco here.

Smokey Shrimp Burgers with Fried Oysters

Yield 4 shrimp burgers

Ingredients For the shrimp burgers 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 egg white 1 tablespoon grated onion 1 tablespoon grated apple 1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt .25 teaspoons black pepper 3 teaspoons Chipotle Tabasco 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro 1/3 cup bread crumbs Canola oil

For smokey mayonnaise 1/2 cup mayonnaise (we're a fan of Duke's) 1.5 teaspoons Chipotle Tabasco

For fried oysters 8 oysters, shucked and liquid drained 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon Kosher salt .75 teaspoons cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Burger toppings 1 avocado, sliced Mixed greens 4 hamburger buns or English muffins, lightly toasted or grilled


For the shrimp burgers

1. Coarsely chop half the shrimp and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the remaining shrimp, egg white, grated onion and apple, salt, black pepper, and Chipotle Tabasco and pulse until there's a mixture of finely minced pieces with a couple of coarsely chopped pieces. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the chopped shrimp, bread crumbs and cilantro, until thoroughly combined.

3. For each burger, take 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into four, 1 inch thick patties (roughly 4 inches round). At this point, you can cook them immediately or wrap and freeze for later use.

4. Set a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers 3-4 minutes on each side until they have browned and the edges turn pink. If all the patties don't fit in the skillet, repeat with remaining burgers.

For the fried oysters

1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Add the oysters to the flour mixture and toss until evenly coated.

2. Pour vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan so it comes up 3 inches. Heat the oil to 360 degrees F.

3. Using a large slotted spoon, carefully place the oysters in the oil. Cook until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes. Line a plate with two layers of paper towels. Remove the oysters using the slotted spoon and transfer to the paper towel.

For the smokey mayo

1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise with the Chipotle Tabasco.

To assemble the burgers

Spread the smokey mayo on both halves of the buns/English muffins. Place the shrimp burger on top of the bottom half, followed by the avocado, greens, and fried oysters and remaining half of bun.