Remember the "No More 'Mallows" recipe contest? The N.C. Sweet Potato Commission asked bloggers to enter recipes for the chance to win $2,000.
So who won? That would be Nikki Haney of the blog The Tolerant Vegan. Her entry, Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burger, was chosen from more than 130 entries. To see all the winning recipes, including the runnersup, go to www.ncsweetpotatoes.com.
Judge Kate Rockwood of O, The Oprah Magazine, called Haney's vegan burger her "go-to burger for spring." In case you need a go-to vegetarian burger for spring, here you go.
Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burger From Nikki Haney of thetolerantvegan.com.
3 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds) sweet potatoes
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread or butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup dry-roasted pecans, chopped (see note)
1 small sweet onion, very coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sandwich buns
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes and microwave together until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Mash firmly into measuring cups to make 2 cups; transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
Bring 3/4 cup water and quinoa to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until the water is nearly absorbed and quinoa appears transparent.
Remove from stove and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a separate saucepan. Stir in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and the cayenne. Add to the mashed sweet potatoes with the kale, cooked quinoa, pecans and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Form into 4 patties; place on a well-oiled baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
About 15 minutes before the burgers are finished, make the onion topping: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook and stir for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Cook and stir until onions are slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer burgers to buns and top with the onion mixture.
Yield: 4 servings.