Baked Southwest Teff Burgers 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Local Living Apr 8, 2014

These burgers offer a mildly nutty flavor and hold together well. Baking gives them a slightly crisped exterior and a moist interior.

Teff is an ancient grain that is native to Ethiopia and quickly climbing to superfood status. It is naturally gluten-free and a highly nutritious whole grain.

Serve the patties on whole-wheat or gluten-free hamburger buns with your favorite toppings. They are also great atop a salad or in a lettuce wrap. Or serve them bunless, with guacamole for dipping.

Make Ahead: The sweet potato can be roasted a day or two in advance. The patties can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Reheat in a microwave oven on LOW for 30 to 60 seconds.

Where to Buy: Teff is available at some Harris Teeter locations and at organic grocery stores such as Mom's Organic Markets and Mrs. Green's Natural Markets. Be sure to buy whole-grain teff, not teff flour.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup whole-grain teff (see headnote)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup roasted sweet potato cubes (see NOTE)
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup homemade or no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon seeded, diced jalapeño pepper (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with canola oil spray.

Toast the teff in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Add the water and whisk while the mixture just starts to boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low; cook for about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally and adjusting the heat so the mixture is barely bubbling. The water should be absorbed, and the teff should be moist. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then uncover and cool to room temperature.

Combine the cooled teff with the sweet potato cubes, rolled oats, beans, scallions, white onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic (to taste), cumin, agave, salt, black pepper and the jalapeño pepper, if using, in a large bowl; gently mix together until well combined.

Transfer half of the mixture to a food processor; pulse 10 times, then transfer to a separate bowl. Repeat with the remaining half. Do not over-process, or it will become mushy.

Shape the mixture into 8 equal-size patties and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake for 10 minutes.

Serve hot.

NOTE: Peel a small sweet potato (about 10 ounces) and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until tender, stirring once about halfway through.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Elaine Gordon, creator of

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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