food · recipes · zero waste


Hello all! Firstly, apologies for my absence since mid-March. I needed a little break from my digital life, and it has done me the world of good to just be away from it all for a bit. During my  downtime I decided to remove my Facebook account, to seriously cut back on my Instagram time, and to just take a little break in general from always being connected. That’s one thing minimalism has really taught me to appreciate: unplugging. Nonetheless, this time has also served as an important reminder of the opposite: being part of an unconventional (in the best possible way 😊) lifestyle group in the digital age by definition means being part of an online community, or else becoming isolated from the people who share our values. So I guess it’s all about balance, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the online community I am so much enjoying being part of.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand: food!


A little while back I discussed adopting a minimalist cooking routine on the blog, and the importance of using things up as part of this. Thus, I decided to start sharing my ‘fridge surprises’, a collection of trial recipes that I have come up with on the fly with the aim of minimising the contents of my pantry while also minimising my kitchen waste. Today’s fridge surprise was a great success, and I’m excited to share with you these yummy vegetarian patties made with sweet potato, black eyed beans and fragrant spices.

We have been eating quite a lot of meat lately as part of a move in our household towards a paleo-ish low-grain, low-sugar diet to help Mr SLE in his quest to lose some weight, but as a former longtime vegetarian, I have kind of been missing the textures, flavours and variety that vegetarian cuisine has to offer.

A sticky mess, soon to be fried into fragrant deliciousness

Earlier this week I went out to lunch with some colleagues and ordered the vegetarian burger (which was incredible, even if the gluten-ful bun put me to sleep all afternoon..) and it made me really start craving homemade vegie burgers again. A quick raid of the pantry, fridge and my seemingly inexhaustible spice collection followed, and voilà!

As you can see, I served them with wholegrain mustard and salad, but I also think any number of sauces, relishes and side dishes would go wonderfully here. These really hit the spot as far as my vegetarian food cravings went, and the smell wafting from the kitchen was divine!

Finally, since these were a fridge surprise and not a tried and tested recipe, there is one small tweak I might make in future. While the combination of flavours was spot on, the burgers were a little soft in the middle. This didn’t bother me at all, since I served them alone rather than on a bun, but if these were to be in the middle of a burger they could get a little, well, squishy. I would therefore recommend adding some breadcrumbs (or something similar) to the mixture to firm it up a little before frying if you are not willing to go sans burger bun.

The wannabe food stylist in me says I should probably rethink the plastic countertop backdrop?



  • 1 medium sweet potato (I used one that was 300g), peeled, cooked and thoroughly mashed, then allowed to cool
  • 1 x 400g can black eyed beans, drained and roughly mashed (I used the bottom of a glass jar for this)
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 70g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Oil for shallow frying


  • Combine the mashed sweet potato, mashed beans and egg in a large mixing bowl and stir with a metal spoon to combine. Add the remaining ingredients through to the feta cheese, add salt if desired and mix again.
  • Shape into small patties (I made 11 in total) and place on a large dinner plate ready for frying.
  • Heat some cooking oil (I used several tablespoons of rice bran oil) in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and fry patties in batches, about 3 – 5 minutes each side, or until golden and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve immediately with your choice of sauce/condiment and side dish.

n.b. Leftovers of these keep well – just refrigerate and reheat when needed.



  1. Welcome back to the digital world! We’re happy to have you! 🙂 As for those burgers, holy moly they look delicious. I have also been on a paleo-ish journey for health reasons after many, many years as a vegetarian and now you’ve got me craving some veggie goodness! Your fridge surprise recipes are always so inventive! Fridge surprises for me almost always just turn into a stir fry – maybe that means I’m just lazy? Can’t wait to try out your recipe!


    1. Thank you so much, Brittany! You are the sweetest! So glad you are loving the sound of these too. Since posting this they have definitely become a staple at our place, and I have also experimented with using cannellini, adzuki and black beans and played around with the consistency a little too. Vegetarian food really is the best! I hope you keep having lots of yummy fridge surprise stir-frys at your place – the most versatile of dishes if there ever was one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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