Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet Potato Burgers

2015-10-22 17.11.10

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It’s become so much easier to get Steve to have a meat-free night once a week. I’ve been really expanding recipes that don’t include meat and any even gluten. This dish hits on both those marks. These sweet potato burgers are so satisfying and flavorful the fact is, you won’t miss the meat. Topped with avocado slices, wrapped in a whole grain flat bread or just using bib lettuce as your vessel, makes no difference. This sweet potato burger is delicious.

There are some great choices to use as vessels for these burgers. I wasn’t able to find this particular hinged-brand in a gluten-free variety but, they do offer gluten-free flat breads. I used one of these hinged flat-breads as a stencil. I used a piece of parchment paper to draw the outline of the hinged-flat bread. Then I just laid it over the gluten-free flat bread, and cut it out using a paring knife. and now I have a gluten-free hinged bread. There’s always a way. You could use a leaf of Bibb (Boston) lettuce as a vessel too!

These are some of the ingredients I’m using to make these delicious burgers. First, I think the best way to incorporate sweetness, and to keep these burgers moist, not dry,  is to add a little apple sauce. When I go to the market, I’m looking for something as natural as possible. That’s why I choose baby’s pureed apples as an ingredient. What’s more natural than that!  Ok, so here’s how I start.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 minutes

Pesto Mayo Sauce
1/2 cup of good mayo
2 heaping tablespoons of fresh basil pesto

Avocado Slices
2 sliced avocados
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper

Sweet Potato Burgers
3 med-size sweet potatoes
2-15 ounce cans of drained and rinsed Cannelini beans
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup of apple puree
1/4 cup of chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 cup of Arugula leaves (to top burgers)
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour
2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs (this amount may vary slightly)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the sweet cleaned and dried sweet potatoes on the baking sheet. Prick the potatoes with a fork to release steam, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the basil mayo, take a 1/2 a cup of good mayo and mix with 2 heaping tablespoons of basil pesto. Stir to combine. You can make your own pesto or buy the basil pesto in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

When cool enough to handle, halve the potatoes and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes together with the Cannelini beans. It’s fine if the beans are not fully mashed into the potatoes. This gives the burgers great texture. Add in the egg, apple organic baby puree, chili powder, ground corriander, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, gluten-free flour, gluten-free bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix together until fully combined. You want the mixture to be somewhat firm. The fact that there is no meat being used, the bread crumb ratio may vary slightly. It’s important that the consistency be similar to a ground meat mixture. Form the sweet potato mixture into 6 burgers. Note:  Just like if you were making crab cakes, place the sweet potato mixture into the frig, for about 30 minutes, to firm up before making the patties.

In a large skillet, on med heat, heat the butter and olive oil together. Add the patties to the skillet in batches. I cook 2 at a time. Cook until brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate line with paper towel to drain. Repeat the process until all 6 patties are cooked. If needed, add a little more olive oil and butter.

Note: To keep the cooked patties warm, place them into a preheated 200-225 degree oven until the other patties have been cooked off. You can also refrigerate the other patties. Place them on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook them off.

Serve the burgers on the flat bread with a basil pesto mayo, arugula, and slices of avocado.



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Mini Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

2014-12-24 17.21.03

Is it just me, or does everybody love great #meatballs? Well I guess I can answer that question. I brought these beauties to a party recently and they disappeared really quickly. Then having them on Hawaiian rolls, well need I say more….The sauce I made for this dish is my own recipe. Low and slow simmered all day. The star however are my mozzarella stuffed meatball.

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Let’s start with this delicious gravy that the meatball are going to bathe in. I have the stove set on med heat and add some olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. I toss in some red pepper flakes. Next diced onion and minced garlic. To that some tomato paste, letting all that bloom in the hot oil. Now some low sodium chicken broth that I let reduce down to a couple of tablespoons or so. I dump in two cans of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and brown sugar to cut the acid in the tomatoes. I also add a small small jar of Piquillo peppers, that have been processed (into what looks like a chunky puree) in a mini food processor. The peppers give a nice sweetness  and a bright red color to the sauce. I let this sauce come up to a bubble on med heat, then I reduce it to a simmer. I continue to simmer the sauce on med low for 2-3 hours before adding in the meatballs. Well, now while the sauce is simmering away, I’m going to start on these delicious little meatballs.

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First I sauteed a little onion and garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes in some olive oil until they were soft but not brown. I let them cool a bit before adding them to the meatball mixture. In a large bowl I have heavy cream, parsley, dried oregano, Kosher salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, Worcestershire sauce, cooked, and cooled onion and garlic mixture, 2 large eggs, and Panko bread crumbs. Once this is all mixed together, then I add in 2-1/2 pounds of ground pork. Mixing both together, just until the flavorings are combined through the meat. This meatball mixture will give you 24 golf ball size meatballs. You want to be sure not to over mix the meat.

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Next I’ve cubed up some low moisture Mozzarella cheese that I wrap inside of the meatballs. Then I lay them out on some parchment paper. Place them in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are nice and brown on the outside. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier and quicker. See, while you have the sauce simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. You don’t have to do them in batches in a frying pan. You know turning them one at a time and all.  So now after the 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven and place them right into the simmering sauce.

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Let the meatballs simmer in that delicious sauce for another hour. I then turn the heat off and add in some fresh torn basil leaves and stir them through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.

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Slice those little sweet Hawaiian buns in half and place those meatballs right in there. Bring these wonderful beauties to any party, or just have them at home. You won’t be able to eat just one.

Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Total cooking time: 4 hours
Yields: 24 meatballs
Oven temperature: 375 degrees

Ingredients for sauce:
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves

Ingredients for meatballs”
2-1/2 pounds of ground pork ( or whatever ground meat you choose)
1/4 diced chopped onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic (cooked and cooled)
24- 1/4 inch diced low sodium Mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley, dried is fine too
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
1-1/4 cups of Panko bread crumbs
2 packages of mini Hawaiian buns

Start tomato sauce on the stove first. While tomato sauce is simmering for 2-3 hours, prepare the meatballs  with the Mozzarella cheese inside each one, and start them browning off. After the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce to simmer for another hour. Turn the heat off and add the fresh chopped basil leaves. Slice the Hawaiian buns in half and place a meatball into each bun and serve.

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Monday Night Football Burgers On Pretzel Buns With Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

2014-12-01 17.36.25

The perfect meal when your ready to watch the Monday night game. I came across these amazing pretzel buns at the grocery store today. I knew right then it was everything burger tonight.

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Next for the meat.

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Here I have 2 pounds of ground pork. I’m using ground pork because it’s less expensive then the ground beef, and when I’m done with all the flavorings I’m going to be adding, you won’t even know it wasn’t beef. First in a large bowl I add the pork. Next, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 8-10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce (your favorite brand), 2 tablespoons of grilled steak seasoning blend, and 2 tablespoons of dried parsley. Mix all the ingredients together without over mixing. You just want everything to be combined through the meat. Then I gently pat in down into the bowl scoring the meat into 4 sections. This gives me a way to make sure they are relatively the same size. Then I patty them up and push down in the center with my thumb to ensure they will cook evenly.

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I melted 2 tablespoons in a very hot cast iron skillet before placing the burgers in.The butter adds so much flavor to the burgers, you just wouldn’t believe it.  The pan is set on med high, so I can get a nice crust on the outside of the burgers. After about 6 minutes, (these burgers are pretty thick) I flip them and add another small pat of butter in the center of the pan to get onto the other side of the burgers. Remember you only flip the burgers one time. I cook the burgers for another 5-6 minutes on the other side. Then I take them out of the pan placing them on a baking sheet covered with foil to rest. Now in the same pan, I wipe out some of the burnt bits they may be there. I want to toast the buns in the same skillet. I add 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan, and once its melted I place the buns in.

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Now while I was cooking the burgers, I had the oven set on 450 degrees for my sweet potato wedges. I just peeled and cut 3 sweet potatoes into wedges earlier. I rubbed 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil all over the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet. In a bowl I mixed 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. I dumped the sweet potatoes onto the baking sheet and sprinkled them with the seasoning blend.  They roasted in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning them half way through, about 15 minutes in. When they were done, they caramelized on the outside and fork tender. After they came out of the oven I sprinkled them again with a dusting of Kosher salt.

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I sliced up some of my favorite toppings, with some mixed greens. I sprinkled some shredded cheese on each burger, place them under the broiler for just a minute or two until the cheese was nice and melted. It’s time to build the burgers. Nice toasty bun, a delicious burger, then the toppings. Finally this amazing pretzel bun. YUM!

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Tomato Caprese Burgers


The most important tip I can give about making the perfect burgers, I learned from the master. The master being Bobby Flay. Don’t misunderstand me, he didn’t personally teach me, all though that would’ve been awesome. I just watched a show he did on grilling burgers. If there is anyone on this planet that can make and grill the perfect burger it’s him.

Place all the ingredients (or flavorings) you want, to add to the ground meat, into a large bowl, and mix. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl, mix gently with a fork incorporating all the ingredients throughout the meat. This allows for the meat not to be over mixed or compacted by overmixing it your hands. Use a large ice cream scoop to ensure the burgers will be the same size.

Patty them gently, with your finger press the center of the patty making an indention, like a dimple. This will stop the burger from shrinking will cook evenly throughout. Crazy right? Believe me when I tell you this works every time.


Yields: 6 patties, about 2 inches thick
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 9-10 minutes

2 pounds ground meat, choice of pork, chicken, turkey, or beef
2 cloves freshly grated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons good ketchup
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, 6 slices, 1 inch thick
6 slices fresh Mozzarella, 1 inch thick
2 cups Arugula leaves
6 Brioche Buns, toasted
balsamic glaze, optional

Place all the ingredients (flavorings) you want, to add to the ground meat, into a large bowl, and mix. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl, mix gently with a fork incorporating all the ingredients throughout the meat. This ensures this meat is not over mixed or compacted, by using your hands. Use a large ice cream scoop to scoop the meat from the bowl. This will ensure the patties are the same size.

Patty the meat gently,  then with your finger press the center of the patty making an indention, a dimple. This will stop the burger from shrinking will cook evenly throughout. Crazy right? Believe me, when I tell you, this works every time.

Optional: Season both sides of your patties with Kosher salt and black pepper after you’ve brushed them with Canola oil, then place on the hot grill.

Whether you’re using an inside or outside grill, first, make sure the surface is nice and hot. Lightly brush each side of your burger patties with Canola oil and place it on the hot grill. Do not touch them no matter how bad you want to. You should only flip the burger once.

Cook the burgers on the first side for 5 minutes before flipping. I grilled the patties on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. After that, I transferred them to a large plate, covered them with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes.

While the burger patties are resting, butter the Brioche buns, place them on the grill.

To assemble the burgers. Toast the buns. Lay the bottom toasted bun on the plate. Add the burger patty,  fresh Mozzarella, slice of tomato, drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional) a few leaves of fresh arugula, and finally the top bun.

Serve hot.

Follow this method every time and you’ll have the perfect burgers. Thanks, Bobby Flay!




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