The author as a young pancake-eater.

The author as a young pancake-eater.

When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me to IHOP just about every weekend. My grandma and I would switch up what we ordered depending on our moods, but my grandpa always ordered the Rooty Tooty Fresh n’ Fruity. Only, he wouldn’t actually speak that humiliating string of words to the waitress. Rather, he would point to it on the menu, flatly stating, “I’ll have this.” Once in a while if he was being silly he’d pay me $1 to order it for him. I thought it was ridiculous, a grown man refusing to call a stack of pancakes by their rightful name just because it embarrassed him. That is, until I encountered the Buddha’s Karma Burger with Realignment Sauce at Chicago Diner.

Just say it out loud and try not to hate yourself, I dare you. Yet, I couldn’t resist the allure of a sweet potato patty topped with a tropical sauce. I just couldn’t! I tried the point-and-grunt method my grandpa perfected, and eventually grew enough balls to at least squeak out, “Buddha burger, please.” Nevertheless, I will always love the Chicago Diner. It was the first vegetarian restaurant I ever ate at, and years later I actually got married there. Their first cookbook was pretty outdated, so I was stoked to get a review copy of their latest.

The recipes are quite long, and can be time-consuming, but someone made the same complaint about my book to which I said, “Grow up you diaper baby!” So I won’t wallow in that. I was also a little disappointed to see that many of the dessert recipes call for vegan whipped cream, but there’s no recipe. Does Chicago Diner use store-bought whipped cream, or are they just keeping secrets from us? Because their whipped cream is really good and I want to make it! Nevertheless, the book has all the hits – the Radical Reuben, all their famous spins on veggie burgers and some Candle 79-level gourmet shit I have never actually seen on the Diner menu.

So anyway, here’s the recipe for my favorite veggie burger, one that shall remain nameless, at least between me and the waitstaff at Chicago Diner.

Realignment Sauce: 

Makes 3 cups

  • 2 & 1/4 cups chopped fresh or frozen and thawed mango
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh or frozen and thawed pineapple
  • 2 & 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp pineapple or orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “s” blade, puree all of the ingredients until smooth, but not runny. It should have a mustard-like consistency. Set aside.

Spicy Sweet Potato Burgers

By BakeandDestroy Published: February 25, 2014

  • Yield: 6 (6 Servings)
  • Cook: 25 mins

Top with Realignment Sauce (recipe above), sliced avocado and serve on a warm, whole wheat bun.



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a blender, or bowl of a food processor fitted with the "s" blade, combine all of the ingredients, processing until the mixture forms a paste-like consistency.
  3. Using clean hands, form the batter into 2/3-cup balls, flattening each one to form a patty. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.
  5. Place a warm patty on each bun, topping as desired.

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