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Vegan Sweet Potato burgers with Quinoa

Wait!!!
You want to read this!! 
Don’t let the fact that this is Vegan, or that it contains quinoa scare you away!! This is such an amazing recipe that I was tempted to invite all of you over for lunch today so you could try it! 
Sweet potatoes are an easy colorful way to sneak lots of vitamins and minerals into your diet. They are loaded with all kinds of good stuff like Vitamins A, C & K, Potassium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Calcium and Iron. Being low in calories, cholesterol and sodium makes them an even more attractive nutritional option. 
Some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes include helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, they have high levels of anti-oxidants, help boost brain function, boost immunity, promote vision health, and help with weight loss. 
The problem is that they’re really low in protein. This recipe combines sweet potatoes with quinoa (which by now, you know I love!) 
Quinoa helps with blood sugar stabilization, promotes heart health, promotes a healthy gut, to name just a few of it’s health benefits. (Plus, it’s gluten free if that’s your thing!) 
On top of all of that, quinoa is a complete protein. By combining sweet potatoes and quinoa into one recipe, you have a nutritional home run! 
Try this recipe yourself and invite me over for lunch! 
Happy, Healthy Monday from Zoe and the staff at Elevate Sports Performance and Chiropractic.

Ingredients:
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
¼ cup quinoa, uncooked
2 TBLSP vegan butter substitute or regular butter (I used regular butter)
2 TBLSP real maple syrup (read labels. Real maple syrup doesn’t have any added sweeteners or other ingredients)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (Truth – I didn’t measure it. I just added 2 shakes!)
1 cup chopped kale leaves (remove the leafy part from the stems. Toss the stems.)
1/2 cup dry roasted pecans* chopped
*To toast pecans, place pecans in a skillet mover medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. They burn quickly and they WILL set off the smoke alarms. 
(Trust me on that one!)
Salt to taste

Optional ingredients:**
1 small sweet onion, coarsely chopped
Ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

How to make them:
1) Pre-heat the overnight to 400 degrees.
Pierce the sweet potatoes and microwave them all together for 4-6 minutes, or until a knife can be easily inserted into their middle. 
Mash them firmly, and measure out 2 cups. 
Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
2) In a small sauce pan, bring ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup uncooked quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover until the water is mostly all absorbed. The quinoa will appear transparent. About 8-10 minutes. 
Remove the quinoa from the stove and let it sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. 
3) In a separate saucepan, melt 1 TBLSP of vegan butter substitute/real butter.
Stir in 1 TBLSP real maple syrup and the cayenne pepper. 
Add this mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes along with the chopped kale leaves, the cooked quinoa, roasted pecans, and ½ tsp salt. Mix well. 
4) Form the mixture into 4 thick patties. 
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 
After 20 minutes, turn the patties over and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

**Optional: 
After turning the burgers, prepare the onion topping. 
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 TBLSP vegan butter substitute/real butter. 
Add the coarsely chopped onion, sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper to taste. 
Cook and stir for 12 minutes. 
Reduce heat to low and add remaining 1 TBLSP of real maple syrup. 
Cook and stir until onions are slightly browned, about 3 more minutes. 
Remove from heat. 
Transfer burgers to buns (or to a base of leafy greens) and top with onion mixture.

Thanks to Jolinda Hackett at thespruce.com for this amazing recipe!