Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published July 17, 2023

This easy recipe will become one of your favorites. Thick and full of flavor, this burger is perfect for those summertime cookouts!

This Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger is a delightful creation that packs a punch of flavor, texture, and nutrition. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and a medley of aromatic spices, this burger is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a fantastic addition to your diabetes-friendly menu. So, let's get started on this culinary adventure and whip up these delightful and nourishing burgers that will have you savoring every bite.

Sweet Potatoes: A Nutritional Powerhouse for Diabetes-Friendly Delights!

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but also highly nutritious, making them a great choice for people living with diabetes. They offer a range of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds that support overall health. Here are some key nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes:

  • Vitamins: Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which promotes healthy vision, immune function, and skin health. They also contain vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and supports immune function.

  • Fiber: Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps regulate blood glucose levels, and promotes a feeling of fullness. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes, as it can help manage blood glucose levels.

  • Potassium: Sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, maintain fluid balance, and support heart health.

  • Antioxidants: The vibrant orange color of sweet potatoes comes from their high antioxidant content, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other compounds. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Now, let's talk about the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of sweet potatoes. The GI is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels compared to a standard reference, usually glucose. Sweet potatoes have a medium GI, meaning they are digested and absorbed at a moderate rate, resulting in a gradual increase in blood glucose levels.

However, the glycemic load takes into account both the quality (GI) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of a food. Sweet potatoes have a relatively low glycemic load, mainly due to their high fiber content, which slows down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This can help prevent sharp spikes in blood glucose levels and promote better blood glucose control.

Overall, sweet potatoes can be a nutritious and diabetes-friendly food choice when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced meal. Pairing them with a source of protein and healthy fats can further enhance their benefits and help regulate blood glucose levels.

Black Beans: A Diabetes-Friendly Superfood Packed with Nutrients!

Black beans are not only a versatile and delicious addition to meals but also offer a plethora of nutritional benefits, making them an excellent choice for people living with diabetes. Here's a closer look at the nutritional profile of black beans and their suitability for diabetes management:

Black beans are loaded with dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This fiber content helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates, leading to more controlled blood glucose levels. It also promotes feelings of fullness, aids in weight management, and supports digestive health.

Black beans are a fantastic plant-based source of protein, making them an ideal choice for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Protein helps promote satiety, supports muscle maintenance and repair, and contributes to stable blood glucose levels.

Black beans provide essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Folate is important for cell production and growth, iron is necessary for oxygen transport, magnesium supports bone health, and potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

Black beans contain antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. These compounds may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases often associated with diabetes, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Now, let's discuss the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of black beans. They have a relatively low GI, meaning they cause a slow and gradual rise in blood glucose levels. This is mainly due to their high fiber and protein content, which help slow down carbohydrate absorption.

When considering the glycemic load, black beans have a low value. The combination of fiber, protein, and moderate carbohydrate content contributes to a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing the impact on blood glucose levels.

In summary, black beans are a highly nutritious and diabetes-friendly food choice. They provide a combination of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while having a low glycemic load. Incorporating black beans into your meals can contribute to better blood glucose control, overall health, and a satisfying culinary experience.

Quinoa: The Supergrain for Nourishment and Stable Blood Glucose Levels!

Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain-like seed that offers an array of health benefits, making it a great choice for people living with diabetes. Let's explore its nutritional profile, suitability for diabetes management, and tips on how to shop for it:

  • Quinoa stands out among grains for its high protein content. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Protein helps regulate blood glucose levels, supports muscle maintenance, and promotes satiety.

  • Quinoa is a good source of dietary fiber, including soluble and insoluble fibers. Fiber aids in digestion, helps control blood glucose levels, and supports heart health. It also contributes to a feeling of fullness, making it beneficial for weight management.

  • Quinoa is rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, folate, and iron. Magnesium plays a crucial role in carbohydrate metabolism, while manganese supports antioxidant function and enzyme activity. These nutrients collectively contribute to overall health and well-being.

  • Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which means it causes a slower and more gradual increase in blood glucose levels compared to high-glycemic foods. This makes it a favorable choice for individuals looking to manage their blood glucose levels effectively.

The glycemic load of quinoa is also relatively low. This is due to its moderate carbohydrate content combined with its high fiber and protein content. The low glycemic load helps minimize blood glucose fluctuations, promoting better glycemic control.

When shopping for quinoa, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Look for whole grain quinoa rather than pre-cooked or processed variations.

  • Check the label for any added ingredients or flavorings, and opt for plain quinoa if possible.

  • Consider purchasing organic quinoa to minimize exposure to pesticides.

  • Choose the desired color variety of quinoa, such as white, red, or black, based on personal preference.

Incorporating quinoa into meals can provide a nutritious and diabetes-friendly alternative to refined grains. Its high protein and fiber content, along with its low glycemic index and glycemic load, make it a valuable addition to a balanced diet for individuals managing diabetes.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger

Beverly Verwey
Servings 8 people
Calories 221 kcal


  • 1 large sweet potato cooked
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn thawed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp salt optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet.
  • Mash the cooked sweet potato and black beans in a large bowl.
  • Add the red onion, corn and quinoa and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix in all the seasonings.
  • With your hands form the mixture into patties and place on the lined baking sheet. Depending on the size you want you can make 6 to 8 burgers. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes turning the patties half way through.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings on a bun or a lettuce wrap.


To save time, cook the sweet potato and quinoa ahead of time.
Use a large lettuce as a veggie wrap and top burger with all your favorite toppings such as onion slice, Dijon mustard, tomato slice, or tomato salsa.
You can store any leftover burger in a tight-lid container in the refrigerator or freezer.


Serving: 1burgerCalories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 29.4gProtein: 10.5gFat: 3gSodium: 92.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.