Lentil sweet potato patties with cilantro tahini sauce is the perfect lunch or dinner recipe.
Packed with flavor and so filling, these sweet potato lentil burgers are budget friendly and great for make ahead meals (they are even better the second day). You are going to want to keep this recipe on hand for your meatless meals!
Why you will love this recipe
- Budget friendly: The ingredients for this recipe are so budget friendly! This recipe is packed with protein and fiber (thanks to the lentils) so even though it’s a plant-based meal, it will fill you up and make you feel great!
- Versatile recipe: You can easily change up the spices to change up the flavor profile! Serve these lentil patties with your favorite salad, slaw or even as a burger! The creamy cilantro lime tahini sauce goes so well with so many flavors but could also replaced with a chipotle ranch or ranch dressing depending on how you change up the spices.
- These veggie burgers don’t crumble: The red lentil and sweet potato combination actually produce really sturdy burgers after they are allowed to cool. These patties are great to be served as burgers, on salads or even made into smaller patties and used like falafel!
- Meal prep friendly: You can make these sweet potato lentil patties ahead of time and serve them all week! You can even freeze these so that you won’t ever have to buy veggie burgers again! Naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan, these homemade veggie patties are the perfect freezer friendly food for quick and easy meals!
Sweet potato lentil patties:
- Red lentils – these get creamy and soft and once they cool down really hold their shape together. Perfect for veggie burgers.
- Sweet potatoes – add a bit of sweetness and added fiber to the veggie burgers.
- Ground flax – flax is use to help hold the patties together when cooking. It replaces the eggs in traditional recipes.
- Lime Juice – helps to elevate the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.
- Spices: Curry powder, Smoked paprika, Garam masala -these spices all compliment the sweetness from the sweet potatoes and add a ton of flavor.
- Salt – is used to elevate all the flavors.
Cilantro Tahini Sauce:
- Tahini – creamy and nutty, tahini is a paste that is made from sesame seeds. The flavor is so unique and once you try it you are going to want to use it in everything!
- Cilantro – adds a pop of freshness to the dish
- Lime – helps to elevate all the flavors
- Garlic powder – chopped garlic would overpower this recipe, garlic powder provides a level of umami and balance to the sauce.
- Salt – helps to elevate all the flavors
- Water – used to thin out the sauce, as the tahini mixture is pretty thick by itself.
How to make sweet potato lentil burgers
Start by peeling the sweet potatoes and cutting it into large cubes – about 1-2 inches.
Add the peeled, cubed sweet potatoes to the Instant Pot insert along with the red lentils and water.
Put the lid on the instant pot, make sure the vent is set to seal and turn on high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow the instant pot to naturally release pressure after cooking.
Once the pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid and smash the sweet potatoes with a fork, incorporating them in with the lentils (which should be very soft).
Add the rest of the ingredients (flax, spices, lime juice) and stir well. Allow to sit 5-20 minutes to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The mixture will be very soft immediately out to the instant pot but will firm up quickly as it cools. I like to shape about 4-6 patties at one time, allow them to cool and then move them on the baking sheet.
Press down on the mixture and form them into patties using your hand. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes or so before moving them around on the baking sheet to make room for more burgers to be made.
Once you have 11-12 patties formed, place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the burgers and carefully flip them (they will be pretty soft at this point). Bake at 375F for another 10 minutes.
Take the patties out of the oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before handling, as the patties will continue to firm up as they cool.
How to make cilantro tahini sauce
Make the cilantro tahini sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor until broken down and smooth (start with 2 tablespoons of water and increase as needed depending on the consistency you prefer).
- Use the stove to cook the lentils and sweet potato: If you do not have an instant pot, you can make the sweet potato lentil mixture on the stove. Simply peel and cube the sweet potatoes, add them along with the lentils and the water to a pot (with a well fitting lid) and cook over medium high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Allow the lentil mixture to cool before forming patties: The sweet potato lentil mixture is quite soft right after cooking, which can make forming the patties tough. You could allow this mixture to cool about 1 hour before scooping it out and forming into patties. You will want to wet your hands slightly to make the mixture easier to work with.
- Be patient after baking: These burgers are really sturdy and will not crumble once they begin to cool. If you pick up the patties too soon after baking, they may fall apart, as they are required to cool a bit after baking (about 5-10 minutes). These are even better the next day, so if you really want to be sure they will be sturdy, make them ahead and store them in the fridge. You can reheat in the oven or on the stove.
What to serve with these lentil cakes
These sweet potato lentil cakes can be serve as a burger or alone as a patty with your favorite meal. Some great foods to pair these with include:
- Cilantro Lime Slaw
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Moroccan cauliflower (with additional green tahini sauce)
- Moroccan Potato Salad
- Your favorite salad
- Sliced avocado
- Pickled onions
- Thinly sliced radish
If you don’t want to make the cilantro tahini sauce you could try:
Other flavors to try
I love the combination of curry, smoked paprika and sweet potato. The smoky flavor combined with the pungent spices from curry powder pair so well with the sweetness from the potatoes. Some other great combinations include:
- Chipotle: Omit the curry, garam masala and use 1 tbsp. chili powder + 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
- Everything bagel: Omit the curry, garam masala and use 1 tbsp. everything bagel seasoning
- Smoky: Omit curry, garam masala and add 2 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Ranch: Omit the curry, garam masala and smoked paprika and add 1 tbsp. ranch seasoning + 1 tsp. garlic powder
Other ways to cook lentils
Stove: You can cook red lentils without the sweet potatoes on the stove. Simply add the lentils and water to a large pot (with a lid). Bring the lentils and water up to a boil and reduce it down to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook 10 minutes until the lentils are soft (stir once or twice to ensure lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot). This recipe will make 2 1/4 cups of lentils once cooked.
Other ways to cook sweet potatoes
- Microwave: You can keep the potato whole, prick it with a fork and microwave 7-8 minutes on high. You can also peel and cube the sweet potato and microwave it in a microwave safe bowl for 5-7 minutes until easy to mash with a fork.
- Oven: Bake sweet potatoes whole in a 425F oven for about 1 hour. Prick them with a fork before placing on a baking sheet and just allow them to cook until soft. This is great to do if you are doing a meal prep and are cooking sweet potatoes for the entire week.
- Instant pot: You can cook the sweet potatoes by themselves in the instant pot whole. Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot, place the trivet in the bottom and stack your sweet potatoes. Depending on how thick they are you will want to cook them at high pressure for 10-15 minutes. Allow the instant pot to naturally release pressure.
Fridge: You can store cooked sweet potato lentil patties in the fridge in a air tight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer: It’s best to freeze these lentil patties after they are cooked and fully cooled. You may want to allow them to cool in the fridge overnight before freezing. Freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Once frozen, place a piece of parchment paper/wax paper between the burgers and stack them on top of each other in a freezer safe bag.
Defrosting tips: Allow the burgers to defrost on the counter 30 minutes before cooking or in the fridge 4 hours – overnight.
How to reheat
To reheat the burgers after freezing and defrosting, you can heat them in a pan over medium low heat (spray the pan with some non-stick spray to avoid sticking) until heated through.
You can also reheat in the oven or in the air fryer. Bake the patties at 375 for 6-8 minutes in the oven or 350F for 4 minutes in the air fryer.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes get soft and sweet when cooking. You could also use butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes in the recipe. Another option would be to use canned pumpkin which you could add to the lentils after cooking. You will need about 2 cups of canned pumpkin.
- Red lentil: Red lentils get very mushy when cooked, they do not retain their texture at all. If you wanted to use white beans, lentils or black beans in place of the lentils, you will want to cook the beans then puree them down using a blender, food processor or mashing very well with a fork. You will need 2 1/4 cups of mashed beans to replace the red lentils.
- Ground flax: Flax helps to bind the patties and give them structure in baking. The flax essentially replaces eggs. You could also use ground chia seeds (you can grind your own chia seeds in the blender or in a coffee grinder). You could also try to replace the ground flax with 1-2 egg whites + 3 tbsp. gluten free flour.
- Curry powder: You can see the tips above for other spice blends you could use if you don’t have curry powder on hand.
- Garam Masala: This unique spice is a blend of warm spices that helps bring depth to this recipe. If you don’t have garam masala, you could use ground cinnamon or ground cardamom in place of the garam masala or omit it completely.
- Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika helps to bring a depth of flavor to the recipe. You could also use ground cumin in place of the smoked paprika.
- Lime Juice: Lime juice helps all the flavors in these burger pop. If you don’t have lime juice, you could use apple cider vinegar (about 1 tablespoon) or white wine vinegar in place of the lime juice.
- Salt: The salt like the lime juice helps all the flavors pop. You can reduce the amount of salt or omit it completely.
- Get substitutions for the cilantro tahini dressing and information on storage and more!
If you love this recipe, you should try
- Mexican Black Bean Lentil Burgers
- 5 ingredient Black Bean Burgers
- Lentil Quinoa Meatballs
- Everything Bagel Lentil Hummus
- Lentil Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry
- Sweet Potato Patties
Lentil Sweet Potato Patties with Cilantro Tahini Sauce$4.40 Recipe/$0.37 Serving
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes.
- Add the chopped potatoes and lentils to the instant pot insert with the water and close the lid, making sure the vent is set to sealing.
- Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. Allow the pressure to naturally release.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Remove the lid from the instant pot and mash the sweet potatoes into the lentils.
- Add the ground flax, curry powder, smoked paprika, garam masala, salt and lime juice to the lentil and sweet potato mixture and stir well, making sure all the spices are well combined.
- Let this mixture sit at least 5 minutes.
- Add parchment or foil to a cookie sheet. Spray with nonstick spray (avocado oil or olive oil spray).
- Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out the mixture and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet (I like to do this 4-5 at a time). Carefully press this down and use your hands to form it into patties. If you allow the mixture to sit on the baking sheet a few minutes before forming the burgers, it's much easier to work with.
- Once the patties have sit out for 2-3 minutes, they are easy to pick up and move around to make more room for the other burgers to be made.
- Once all the patties have been formed, place the burgers in a 375F oven for 15 minutes.
- Pull out of the oven and CAREFULLY flip the burgers over. These will still be quite fragile so be careful!
- Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Take out of oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before eating. If you are storing these for later, allow to cool to room temperature before placing in a airtight container for up to a week.
Cilantro Tahini Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth.