Sweet potato burgers, revisited (this time with quinoa! And picnics! And blueberry avocado salsa!)

You know I try to avoid recipe duplication at all cost, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Not only did I sort of copy the original sweet potato burger recipe that I cooked up back in March, but I also made this recipe TWICE. Do the math folks, that’s THREE sweet potato burger meals. I must be losing my touch.

The first batch of these sweet potato quinoa burgers was made for a lovely Sunday night picnic I had this past weekend. Every week there are concerts held at Bell Park, the large-ish green space near my Sudbury house. Since it was a nice evening and food always tastes better when it’s being shared, I decided to plan a picnic. After all, the only thing better than listening to live music is listening to live music while stuffing your face.

My friend Yoshi and her boyfriend Derek were terrific company. We dined in the grass and I tried my hardest to get more salsa in my mouth than on my knees. Yoshi brought delicious figs, cashews (bless you!) and raspberries with honey, and some Japanese candy that I’m very excited to try. I also made a basic green salad and no-bake peach and blueberry cheesecakes which, in a very Pinterest move, I decided to serve in Mason jars. After all, a picnic without Mason jars is a picnic that I want no part in. (#masonjarsnob)

There was a problem, though. I didn’t take pictures. In my rush to shove everything into my purple backpack and peddle down to Bell Park as fast as my legs would take me, I forgot my camera. Seriously, blogger badge revoked, right?

I thought it wasn’t a big deal…I just wouldn’t blog about the burgers. But no, that would be a great loss, because these were good. Way better than the first sweet potato burgers I made. I needed to share, not just with Yoshi and Derek, but with the rest of you fantastic people, too.

So I made them again on Monday. Thank heavens for statutory holidays and my foresight to buy an extra sweet potato.

Then I spread out my family’s old wicker picnic mat on our kitchen table (don’t tell my mom, she hates it when dirty things touch that sacred surface) and had a little fake indoor picnic. Don’t worry, a Mason jar made an appearance.

Just in case you’re getting cold feet about the blueberry avocado salsa – don’t, please. It’s so good. The tangy burst of the blueberries is the perfect contrast to the sweet potato. It’s messy, but worth it.

Cooking notes: When making these sweet potato burgers, the resulting mixture (pre-patty) should look like a tiny Cheese Puff baby decided to puke everywhere.

Moulding these burgers is disgusting, ranked right up there with the “full moon” meat ridge that forms on your hands when shaping ground beef meatballs for Italian wedding soup. So be prepared to deal with a bit of mush, and remember to clean off the kitchen tap after rushing to wash your hands. Otherwise your kitchen will look like CSI, except with sweet potato smush instead of blood and guts. So anyways…still hungry?

Also: PRETZEL BUNS. YUM.

Recipe: Sweet potato and quinoa burgers with blueberry avocado salsa
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
– 1 medium sweet potato (about 6 oz), peeled and chopped
– 1/2 red onion, diced
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (1/4 cup dry)
– 1/4 cup bread crumbs
– 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
– 1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a small pot, add 1/4 cup dry quinoa and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, leaving the lid on the entire time. Let cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in sweet potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, stir, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until potato is soft. Remove lid and add garlic, cooking for 30 seconds.

Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl (mashing potato with a fork) and add quinoa, breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, remaining salt and pepper and mix well. Once combined, add the egg, a bit at a time (you will only need about half the egg), then mix until moistened. Using your hands to bring it together, form four equally-sized patties. It should make about three large patties. Heat the same skillet over medium-low heat and add remaining olive oil.

Add patties and cook for about 5 minutes per side, being careful not to burn them. Serve with the blueberry avocado salsa.

Blueberry avocado salsa
Note: this was semi-improvised by me, so measurements are an approximation…
– 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and chopped
– 1/2 avocado, diced into small pieces
– Juice from half a small lime
– Pinch of salt

Mix the first two ingredients in a bowl, slightly mashing the avocado and blueberry together as you go. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and add the salt, mix again.

Serve on top of the sweet potato quinoa burgers.

Makes three servings.

Add cakes and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Serve with blackberry salsa!

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