BGR owner Mark Bucher developed these with his vegetarian wife in mind. Molasses and barbecue sauce give them a savory, deep flavor and also help caramelize their edges when they are pan-fried. Baking them before frying helps them hold together and prevent a mushy interior. (After baking, you can also grill these over direct heat, if desired.)
Make Ahead: The baked patties can be wrapped in plastic wrap, sealed in plastic freezer bags and refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to six months. Thaw them thoroughly before pan-frying. The sweet potato can be roasted and the brown rice and black beans cooked and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to six months.
- 1 small (6 ounces) sweet potato
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked black beans, homemade or no-salt-added canned, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice, plus more for glazing if desired
- 2 tablespoons honey
- One 14-ounce package sausage-style soy protein, such as Gimme Lean beef-style
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 12 hamburger buns
- Condiments and accompaniments of your choice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Use a fork or sharp knife to prick the potato in several places. Place it on a piece of aluminum foil and bake until the potato is tender and can be easily squeezed, 40 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, to speed up the process, the pricked potato can be microwaved on HIGH for 1 minute, then transferred to the oven and baked until tender, 20 to 35 minutes.) Let the potato cool, then squeeze out the flesh into a large bowl and discard the skin.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Add the brown rice, black beans, molasses, barbecue sauce and honey to the bowl, and stir to thoroughly combine. Pull off small pieces of the soy protein, add it to the bowl and mash it up as you mix it in. Taste, and add salt if needed.
Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Form the vegetable mixture into 12 patties, about 5 inches across and 1/2 inch thick, placing them on the baking sheets.
Bake the patties until they feel firm to the touch and are just barely browning on the edges, about 25 minutes. Let them cool to room temperature.
Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully add as many patties as you intend to eat, working in batches if necessary and being careful not to overcrowd them. Fry them until crisp and browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer them to a cooling rack set over a plate, and blot them dry on top with paper towels.
Brush with more barbecue sauce before serving, if desired. Serve them on the buns with your favorite condiments and accompaniments.
Adapted by Joe Yonan from a recipe by Mark Bucher.
Tested by Randy Richter.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.