Cumin Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger with Saffron Sauce, by Samah Dada

5 from 1 vote
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1



  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for pan-frying burgers
  • ½ large sweet potato, steamed and then peeled
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)!
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Burger buns of choice
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, for assembling
  • Sliced tomatoes, for assembling

Saffron Sauce:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


For the burger:

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add your red onions and sauté until they start to become tender, translucent, and slightly golden around the edges.
  • Once the onions have started to brown, add the cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook the spices with the onions until the “raw” spice smell goes away, and the spices have roasted and darkened in color about 3-4 minutes. Remove the onions from heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a high-speed blender, combined your steamed and mashed sweet potato, black beans, cooked quinoa, cumin sautéed red onions, almond meal, and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Blend the burger on high speed, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed to ensure the mixture is incorporated. Don’t worry about completely pulverizing the burger mixture, we like to keep a little bit of texture here.
  • Transfer the mixture into a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix again to thoroughly combine.
  • Form the mixture into burger patties with your hands – this makes about 4 large burgers, or 6 smaller ones.
  • Heat your pan on medium heat, and add some olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add your burger patties to the hot pan and pan-fry the burger, about 5 minutes each side, until the burger is golden-brown around the tops and edges.

For the sauce:

  • In a small bowl, combine your lemon juice and saffron threads and let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the saffron to infuse into the lemon juice.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the tahini, grated garlic clove, olive oil, and finally the lemon and saffron mixture together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix to combine until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water (or more) to get the sauce to your desired consistency.

To assemble:

  • Spread the saffron sauce on both sides of your burger bun. Add the patty onto the bun, then top with tomatoes and lettuce. Top with the second burger bun. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Plant-based chef and cookbook author Samah Dada created this delicious vegetable-forward dish for the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, a cultural exchange program between Qatar and U.S. developed to deepen the understanding between the two nations. To kick-off the program in the U.S., Samah created a Cumin Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger with a saffron sauce, putting a spicy spin on the classic American favorite with traditional Qatari spices.
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