Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The Growing Healthy Kids Project conducts lots of healthy cooking classes for kids (of ALL ages).   In the process of planning unique events, foods, and menus, we create some really good recipes.  This recipe is one of them. 

Teaching kids to play with new flavors and spices is a fun way to improve what kids are eating.  Kids who eat lots of fast foods kill their taste buds.  Reclaiming kids’ right to eat and enjoy real foods is part of what we do in this project.  If we as a country are going to reverse childhood obesity and prevent diabetes, then we have to find ways to eat more of the good foods like veggies, lentils, and beans so kids eat less of the bad foods.   

I recently created the following recipe in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen and have asked many people to sample it.  EVERYONE has given it a “thumbs up” review.  Miss Nancy’s Sweet Potato and Lentil Burgers are extremely versatile.  They are filled with the spices known to have anti-inflammatory and disease preventing properties.    With sweet potatoes and lentils as the two main ingredients, it is very high in dietary fiber, something most kids (and adults) are lacking.  You can prepare these sweet potato and lentil burgers as a main dinner dish with roasted vegetables and couscous, then enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day as crazy awesome veggie burgers on whole grain flatbreads and a slice of your favorite cheddar cheese.   This recipe is my new favorite and I hope it will be yours, too! 

Miss Nancy’s Sweet Potato and Lentil Burgers

PULSE for 15-20 seconds in food processor:
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked lentils*

PLACE lentils in large mixing bowl and add:
  • 1 more cup cooked lentils
  • 2 cups raw sweet potato, finely grated  (leave skin on)
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Curry Paste**
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

MIX well.  Scoop burgers using a 1/3 cup measuring cup.  Roll between hands into a ball.

PLACE the following 3 ingredients in a ziplock sandwich bag, mix, then pour contents onto a plate.  Roll each burger until thoroughly coated.
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs (if you are gluten-sensitive, then eliminate this ingredient)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

FLATTEN burgers between your hands and cook in a frying pan sprayed with a nonstick spray such as Pam.  Cook on medium heat approximately 4 minutes on each side.

MIX the Zesty Lime Sour Cream in a small bowl:
  • 1 cup fat-free or low-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, very finely chopped

SERVE burgers on a bed of mixed lettuce greens and sliced heirloom tomatoes (where available).

TOP with a generous dollop of the Lime Zest Sour Cream and a pinch of lime zest. 

MAKES 10 burgers. 

Miss Nancy's Sweet Potato and Lentil Burgers
*Cook lentils according to the directions on the package of dried lentils.  To make this recipe, I use 1 cup of dried lentils and 3 cups of water and cook covered over low heat for 20-30 minutes.  Cool, then store in the fridge overnight.  Make burger mixture the following day.   If you have leftovers, they make a great lunch:  reheat 2-3 minutes in the microwave.  Serve on a whole grain bun with lettuce, sliced tomato and onion and a slice of your favorite cheddar cheese.

**For demonstration purposes, Patak’s Hot Curry Paste was used in the preparation of this recipe.

**If unable to locate Patak’s Hot Curry Paste, then substitute 3 teaspoons no-salt added tomato paste plus 3 teaspoons of Miss Nancy’s Magic Spice Mix:
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon powdered garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric

Enjoy the great flavor of sweet potatoes, lentils, and these great spices!  Stay tuned for more great foods from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.

Thank you,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project to halt, prevent, and reverse childhood obesity, one sweet potato and one child at a time