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These sweet potato burgers are something special. They're made from deliciously spiced patties with the addition of an aioli inspired by nitter kibbeh, also known as Ethiopian butter. If that isn't enough to make you want to drop everything and make these burgers right now, a spice-infused oil weaves its magic through the burger and right into the sauce. Ginger, garlic, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, paprika, and cayenne will fill your kitchen with a hypnotic aroma.

Ethiopian Sweet Potato Burger [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients You Need for Ethiopian Sweet Potato Burger [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

For the Burgers:
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons nitter kibbeh, divided (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup brown or green lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, minced
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 4 burger buns, toasted

For the Nitter Kibbeh Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1-3 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

How to Prepare Ethiopian Sweet Potato Burger [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

To Make the Burgers:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine sweet potatoes and 2 teaspoons nitter kibbeh on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until tender. Cool lightly and transfer to a food processor.
  2. Combine the lentils and water in a medium pot. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and add to the food processor.
  3. Add the peanuts, paprika, coriander, and 2 tablespoons nitter kibbeh to the food processor. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse just until combined and you can form burgers that will hold together. Form into 4 burgers about 3-inches in diameter.
  4. Combine the scallions, celery, tomato, cilantro, lime, and oil in a medium bowl. Toss well to combine and season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  5. Combine the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of nitter kibbeh in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside.
  6. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Spray the burgers lightly with oil and grill the burgers until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes per side.
  7. Assemble the burgers by spreading aioli on the bottom buns, adding a burger and topping with the salad. Serve with the top bun.

To Make the Nitter Kibbeh Aioli:

  1. Combine the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, pepper, fenugreek, and turmeric. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Strain and stir in the paprika, cayenne and salt. Cool and store in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
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