These hearty tempeh, quinoa, and sweet potato burgers are oh so satisfying. They’re packed with so much protein and flavour, no one will miss the meat! You can add a variety of toppings, including kimchi, sauerkraut, avocado, cashew cheese, mustard, to these burgers for a fun dinner that everyone will love. We love to serve these tempeh burgers with oven baked sweet potato fries or crispy smashed potatoes and homemade ranch dipping sauce. 🙂
Whenever I set out to develop a new burger recipe, I have one goal in mind: to create something that satisfies. It need not necessarily imitate meat, but it does need to check off all the boxes in the protein and flavour departments.
There are a number of great imitation meat burgers out there for those who crave the taste and texture of meat, but I know that there a lot of plant-based folks who adopted vegetarianism and veganism because they don’t like the taste and texture of meat, and yet they still enjoy a good, hearty veggie burger. I count myself a member of this group!
These protein-rich tempeh, quinoa, and sweet potato burgers most definitely fit the bill when the craving for a filling homemade veggie burger strikes. I served these burgers to a couple of omnivorous men with very hearty appetites, and even they were satisfied. It’s validation that veganism certainly isn’t about deprivation or starvation, but rather a celebration of the power of plants to nourish, enliven, and sustain!
A powerful duo of tempeh and quinoa forms the base of these burgers. Roasted sweet potato provides another layer of flavour and texture. And the primary flavour makers here are garlic, barbecue sauce, tamari, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, thyme, basil, and cilantro.
If you are unfamiliar with tempeh, these burgers will make you a fan of this protein- and mineral-rich fermented soy product. Traditionally an Indonesian food, tempeh has taken the vegan world by storm over the past decade. Technically, it’s healthier than tofu because it is made with whole soybeans rather than soy milk, and some folks find that its fermented nature makes it easier to digest.
wait, shouldn’t i avoid soy?
There is a lot of misinformation and fear mongering around soy products, but from the reading and research that I have done, the only soy products that you should avoid are processed, genetically modified, and pesticide-laden soybean oil, soy protein isolate, and soy lecithin found in many packaged foods. There is a crucial distinction to be made between minimally processed soy products like certified organic tofu, tempeh, and soy milk and the heavily processed soy derivatives found in the Standard North American Diet. Furthermore, we should be more concerned about the xenoestrogens (estrogen-mimicking chemicals) found in plastics, personal care and cleaning products, and pesticides, as well as the estrogen levels in factory-farmed dairy products, than we should be about the minimal amounts of phytoestrogen found in soy (which, I might point out, are not actually the same molecules as the estrogen in the human body)! For more information on the science behind soy consumption, I highly recommend this fantastic article by Brenda Davis, RD. Hopefully it helps to clear up any misconceptions that you might have. 🙂
I recently found out that my local zero waste grocery store, Nu Grocery, sells package-free organic tempeh by Montreal-based company Noble Bean, and I am elated that I can now forego the plastic packaging often used on tempeh and tofu! There are more and more zero waste stores popping up in cities, so it would definitely be worth it to see if the one in your area sells package-free tempeh and tofu.
Okay, thank you for reading the longest recipe preamble of all time! Let’s get back to this fabulous recipe. These burgers are fantastically easy to make, so they are perfect for this often chaotic season. Roast some sweet potato and cook some quinoa to start with. Cube a block of tempeh and combine with the cooked quinoa and sweet potato in a large bowl. Then add your flavour makers: tamari, barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, thyme, basil, cilantro, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Mash everything together using a potato masher (no food processor required!), and form into burgers. Bake them for 25 minutes and either enjoy as is, or do as I do with all of my burgers: fry them on a cast iron skillet with just a little bit of oil until they get crispy around the edges. You can also melt some cheese (vegan or otherwise) on them while they are on the skillet.
Serving and Menu Ideas
You can serve the burgers on buns with kimchi and avocado (as I did), or you can crumble them on top of a bed of seasonal greens and vegetables (which I like to do with leftovers). They pair well with a number of sauces and dressings, including my green goddess ranch dressing. We actually served crispy smashed potatoes alongside the burgers the first time we made them, and enjoyed the green goddess ranch as a dipping sauce!
More burger recipes, please!
If you love veggie burgers, be sure to check out my Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers, Buffalo Chickpea Burgers, and Homemade ‘Beyond’ Burgers, too! I guess it’s an appropriate time to mention that I’m developing a new and improved homemade ‘Beyond Meat’ recipe, which should be ready to share in the new year. Stay tuned. 🙂
If you make these tempeh, quinoa, and sweet potato burgers, be sure to let us know how you enjoyed them! Leave a comment and recipe rating below, and tag a photo @upbeet.kitchen and #upbeetkitchen on Instagram!
Have a great weekend, all! Hope you can take some time to relax and enjoy. 🙂Print
Tempeh, Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Burgers
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 8-12 burgers 1x
- Diet: Vegan
Flavourful, protein-packed veggie burgers made with tempeh, sweet potato, and quinoa.
- 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes (from 1 large sweet potato)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- Scant 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 4 medium cloves of garlic
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 tbsp low sodium tamari
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp barbecue sauce or ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard’s brand as it is gluten-free, vegan, and organic)
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 8-oz block of tempeh, cubed
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped pecan halves
- Kimchi or sauerkraut
- Cheese of choice
- Mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, relish
- Green Goddess Ranch
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the diced sweet potato with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl and arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and cover with lid. Cook for 15 minutes and set aside.
- Place the sweet potato, quinoa, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, smoked paprika, chili flakes, tamari, Dijon mustard, barbecue sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, tempeh, cilantro, and pecans in a large bowl. Stir everything together, then use a potato masher to lightly mash the tempeh and sweet potato into smaller pieces.
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into 8-12 equal balls and flatten into patties. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes (for smaller burgers) or 40-45 minutes (for larger burgers) or until they start to look crispy.
- OPTIONAL: To get those crispy exteriors that everyone loves, I like to finish the burgers on the stovetop. To do so, warm ½ tablespoon of oil (preferably a high heat oil like avocado or grapeseed, but olive oil works in a pinch) in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place 4 burgers into the skillet at a time and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until crispy exteriors form. You can also melt some cheese on the burgers at the very end of cooking on the skillet.
- Serve on buns with any or all of the accompaniments listed above!
If you find that the burger mixture isn’t sticking together very well once you’ve added all of the ingredients, add a flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax mixed with 2 ½ tablespoons of water) to help bind these burgers. If they still aren’t sticking together, add another tablespoon of flax. Another option is to pulse the cubed tempeh in a food processor a few times until crumbly, instead of just mashing it once it’s in the bowl.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Main Course
Keywords: tempeh sweet potato burgers
This is my new favourite burger! The photos drew me in too. Delicious.
Made these last night for dinner. Didn’t have any quinoa so I used brown rice. I also didn’t have hot sauce. Just as well. I don’t like hot sauce anyway. 🙂 They were delicious! My husband liked them, too. They didn’t stick together all that well. Suggestions for the next time would be appreciated.
Thanks, Joanne! Glad you enjoyed them. Hmmm, sorry to hear that they didn’t stick together all that well. I would suggest adding a flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water) the next time. I’ve found that sweet potatoes tend to differ in their starchiness (some are more watery than others), so that could have affected how well they stuck together. I’ll add the flax egg suggestion as a note in my recipe card, too. Thanks for your feedback!
And one more suggestion would be to pulse the cubed tempeh in a food processor a couple of times, until crumbly, before adding it to the mixture. 🙂 Added that as a note at the bottom of the recipe, too.
Thank you! Will try your suggestions next time.