Spiced sweet potato burger with avocado and basil salsa

I’m currently eating a lot less meat and am trying to cook vegetarian at least twice per week. So even if you’re breaking out the burgers to eat in the sunshine, there is no reason why anyone should miss out, as this recipe is both vegetarian and delicious. This is also easy to make vegan by swapping out the brioche bun for ciabatta. 

For me, sweet potato needs chilli and these burgers have the perfect level of heat which stops the whole thing being too sweet. I love the texture that the sunflower seeds add here. I was worried that essentially wrapping rice and potato in bread was going to be too much but the freshness of the accompaniments like lime, ginger and basil really lift it so is not claggy and heavy. 

This is incredibly high in carb so is not remotely friendly to my diabetes, or any one else on a low carb diet, but good for a treat now and then! 

Serves 4

Spiced sweet potato burgers with avocado and basil salsa

25Prep Time

70Cook Time

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  • 140g long-grain brown rice
  • 850g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 small red onion, very finely chopped
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • small pack basil, leaves finely shredded, stalks discarded
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 8 round lettuceleaves, washed and dried


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook the rice following pack instructions, then drain in a sieve. Spread the rice out on a baking tray to steam-dry – it needs to be as dry as possible before adding to the sweet potatoes.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tbsp olive oil and the cumin. Season and spread out in a large roasting tin in a single layer. Roast for 30 mins until tender and coloured, but not too crisp. Meanwhile, put the sunflower seeds in a cup, cover with water and set aside to soak while the sweet potatoes cook.
  3. Put the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan set over a low-medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 mins. Add the ginger and chilli, and cook for 5 mins more until very soft. Set aside.
  4. Drain the sunflower seeds, pat dry on kitchen paper and tip into a large mixing bowl with the sweet potatoes. Crush gently using a masher or the back of a fork. Add the rice, onion mixture, half the basil and seasoning to taste. Continue to crush together until the mixture is well mixed but not smooth. Form into 4 x 10cm diameter patties. Can be made up to 48 hrs ahead – keep covered and chilled until needed and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 mins before cooking.
  5. Put the patties on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Roast for 30 mins until warmed through and beginning to brown.
  6. Make the salsa in a bowl by combining the avocado with the lime juice, remaining basil and seasoning to taste. Heat the grill to medium and toast the cut sides of the burger buns for 1 min or until golden brown. Top each bun base with a couple of lettuce leaves. Put the patties on top of the lettuce and serve with the salsa.