Kid-friendly Plant-Powered Beet Burger + Crunchy Carrot Fries + "Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Plant-Powered Beet Burger + Crunchy Carrot Fries + "Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

Family Meal Plan: Plant-Powered Beet Burger + Crunchy Carrot Fries + "Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

Plant-Powered Beet Burger + Crunchy Carrot Fries + "Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
13 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Plant-Powered Beet Burger

Growing up, my mother's love for healthy, homemade meals made fast food a rare treat in our household. This upbringing instilled in me a passion for creating delicious and nourishing recipes. And it's the inspiration behind this recipe trio—a fast food upgrade for the whole family to enjoy!

The star of this show is the Plant-Powered Beet Burger, made from a mix of beets, black beans, and spices. Kids love the hands-on fun of rolling and flattening each patty before pan-frying them and adding their favorite garnishes.

Serve with Crunchy Carrot Fries, a snappy, tasty alternative to regular fries. Complete the feast with "Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake, a creamy, nutritious blend of bananas, beets, and vanilla extract that is as visually appealing as it is delectable.

There you have it—a delicious, nutritious take on American fast food that doesn't compromise taste!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 2 C (roughly, or more) baby carrots
  • 2 bananas
  • 12 small buns **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 8-oz can sliced beets (not pickled beets)
  • 1 15-oz can black beans **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C panko bread crumbs **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil **
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp paprika **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast, optional for a meatier taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • lettuce
  • tomato **(see allergy subs below)**
  • onion (red, yellow, or green)
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • 1 C water
  • ice, optional

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Skillet
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Blender (or pitcher/liquid measuring cup + immersion blender)
  • Cutting board
  • Heat-resistant spatula


Plant-Powered Beet Burger

  • 1/2 8-oz can sliced beets, drained (not pickled beets)
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub 1 C mushrooms, chopped)**
  • 1 C panko bread crumbs **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free bread crumbs)**
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free flour)**
  • 12 small buns **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free buns)**
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika **(for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY sub 1 tsp onion powder)**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast, optional for a meatier taste
  • 3 T vegetable oil + more if needed **
  • Optional toppings:
  • lettuce
  • tomato **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • onion (red, yellow, or green)
  • ketchup
  • mustard

Crunchy Carrot Fries

  • 2 C (roughly, or more) baby carrots
  • 1 tsp paprika + more to taste **(for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY sub 1 tsp onion powder)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder + more to taste
  • 1 T vegetable oil **

"Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract + more to taste **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 2 bananas + more to taste
  • 1/2 8-oz can sliced beets, drained (not pickled beets)
  • 1 C water
  • ice, optional

Food Allergen Substitutions

Plant-Powered Beet Burger

  • Legume: Substitute mushrooms for black beans.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free bread crumbs for panko. Substitute gluten-free/nut-free flour. Substitute gluten-free/nut-free buns.
  • Nightshade: Substitute onion powder for paprika. Omit optional tomato topping.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil.

Crunchy Carrot Fries

  • Nightshade: Substitute onion powder for paprika. 
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil.

"Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.


Plant-Powered Beet Burger


Our Plant-Powered Beet Burger is inspired by the wave of "Impossible" burgers that took the world by storm. Our meatless burger is made of beets, beans, and grain, which happen to be some of a cow's favorite foods.

mash + measure

Start off by draining 1 can of beets (you'll use half) and 1 can of black beans. Then, pour the drained beans into a large bowl and start mashing. You want the beans to be mashed into a paste with a few whole beans left. Measure and add 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast if using. Stir to combine.

blend + stir

In a blender (or pitcher/liquid measuring cup for use with an immersion blender), blend 1/2 can drained beets. The mixture should be smooth with a few lumps. Add a small drizzle of oil if you are having difficulties blending. Stir the blended beets into the bean mixture.

roll + shape

Next, the kids will be shaping the beet burger patties. Give each child roughly 3 tablespoons of the beet and bean mixture. Have them roll it into a ball. If it is sticky, they can add a sprinkle of flour or panko. Once rolled into a ball, simply smoosh the dough into a flattened disc.

sauté + flip

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in your skillet over medium heat. Sauté each beet burger for 5 minutes on the first side. Then, flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes, adding more oil if needed.

serve + garnish

Slide each Beet Burger onto a bun and serve 'em up! Have each child pick the garnishes of their choice.

Crunchy Carrot Fries

Measure + toss

Measure roughly 2 cups, or more, of baby carrots. Pour them into a skillet over medium heat. Then, measure and toss the carrots with 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

sauté + stir

Sauté for 6 minutes or until the carrot fries start to brown slightly.

season + serve

Taste one of the carrots to test the seasoning. Then, adjust the seasoning to your liking. You can add more of any of the seasonings until the flavor is exactly how you want it to taste.

"Can't Beet It" Vanilla Shake

measure + pour

Measure and pour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 peeled bananas, 1/2 can drained beets, and 1 cup water into a blender (or pitcher for use with an immersion blender).

blend + serve

Blend until smooth. Taste for flavor and texture. If the shake needs more sweetness or flavor, you can add a pinch of sugar, more vanilla, or more banana. If the texture is not smooth enough, try adding a splash of water or a few ice cubes. Once the flavor and texture is perfect, pour into cups and serve!

Surprise Ingredient: Beets!

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Photo by Tatevosian Yana/

Hi! I’m Beet!

"Hi! I'm a bit 'red' with embarrassment—I don't know your name, but you know mine—Beet! I'm a root vegetable with a beautiful, red color (some of my cousins are yellow). You may have seen me served either whole, quartered, sliced, julienned, shredded, or mashed. You can grow me in your garden or buy me fresh or canned in the store. Did you know that my pretty green leaves (or greens), with red stems, can also be eaten, and you can drink my juice, too?" 


  • Around 800 BCE, an Assyrian text describes beets growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
  • Modern beets are derived from their wild ancestors, sea beets, that grew along the coasts of Europe, southern Asia, and northern Africa. Beets from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans were white and black rather than red! 
  • The Romans used the leaves of beets as an herb and medicine. They also considered beet juice to be a love potion.
  • People have used beet juice as a natural red dye since the 16th century, and Victorians in England in the 19th century used it to dye their hair. 
  • Sugar beets were first cultivated for their sugar in the middle of the 18th century in Germany and then in France in the early 19th century. The United States started growing sugar beets commercially in 1879 in California. Sugar beets have at least twice the amount of sugar as regular beets.
  • The world's heaviest beetroot weighed 52.88 pounds and was grown by a group of people in the United Kingdom in 2019. The longest beetroot was 28 feet, also produced in the UK, by Joe Atherton, in 2020.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • A beet, or beetroot, is the edible taproot of the beet plant. The taproot is the dominant, central root of a plant. Beet leaves are also good to eat. 
  • Beets are a member of the order of flowering plants called Caryophyllales, which includes bougainvillea, cacti, amaranth, carnations, spinach, chard, quinoa, and even Venus flytraps! 
  • Red beets get their color from betalain, a natural pigment. Betalain comes from the Latin name for beet, Beta vulgaris, and it's also responsible for the red color of bougainvillea flowers.
  • The word "beet" is from the Old English "bete," from the Latin "beta." 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Beets are ready to be picked about seven to eight weeks after planting. The beet or root will be golf ball size or larger. To harvest, grab the plant's leaves or greens, down by the root, and pull. 
  • If you plan to cook the beet greens, cut them off from the root, wash them, and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for one to two days. The beetroots will keep refrigerated for one to two weeks in a plastic bag.
  • Today there are several varieties of commercially-grown beets. The most common type in the United States is the Red Ace.
  • You can use beet juice to measure the PH level or acidity in a substance. When you add it to an acidic solution, it turns pink, but it turns yellow when you add it to an alkali.
  • To remove the inevitable pink stains from working with beets, rub your fingers with lemon juice and salt and wash with soap and water. There are several suggestions for removing fabric stains, but when rinsing, it's best to use lukewarm or cold water rather than hot to avoid making the stains permanent. 
  • You can boil, steam, roast, or pickle beets and add them to salads, soups, dips, sauces, sandwiches, and even desserts, like red velvet cake!
  • A soup made from beets, "borscht," originated in Ukraine in the late 17th or early 18th century and is considered a staple in Russian and Polish cuisine.
  • In Australia, they often put pickled beets on their hamburgers.


  • Beets are loaded with manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, many other minerals, and vitamins, especially folate. Folate is a B vitamin vital for the growth and function of cells in our body and helps DNA and RNA production.
  • Beets are a good source of betaine, which is associated with proper liver function and cellular reproduction, and it helps the body metabolize homocysteine, an amino acid.
  • One cup of beets contains less than 60 calories.


History of the Hamburger!

Photo by Brent Hofacker/ (homemade smash burger with fries)
  • The hamburger sandwich is generally associated with the United States, although it may have originated in Hamburg, Germany. A 1758 English cookbook referenced a "Hamburgh sausage" that was "roasted with toasted bread under it." 
  • The "Hamburg steak" was developed in 18th-century Hamburg and consisted of a mixture of minced meat, onions, bread crumbs, egg, milk, and seasonings shaped to look like a steak and served with gravy. German immigrants to the United States in the 19th century brought the dish with them, and it became popular at restaurants in the port of New York.
  • The stories are varied about who invented the hamburger sandwich as we know it today in the United States. These possible hamburger creators lived in Connecticut, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin. However, we do know who created the hamburger bun and when. In 1916, a fry cook named Walter Anderson invented the hamburger bun. He co-founded White Castle five years later.
  • Today's hamburger sandwich is made up of one or two seasoned ground beef (or turkey or veggie) patties, served between two halves of a hamburger bun. Sliced cheese, lettuce, pickles, and tomato are sometimes added on top of the patty, and condiments, like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard are spread on the inside of the bun. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers are often served with french fries.

Let's Learn About Germany!

Photo by Oksana Trautwein/
  • The central European country of Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is known as "Deutschland" (DOYCH-lunt) in the German language. It is a federal parliamentary republic with a president, a chancellor (the head of the government), and a legislature.
  • Germany has over 83 million people in an area of 137,847 square miles, a little smaller than the U.S. state of Montana.
  • The capital and largest city in Germany is Berlin, but only since 1990 when East and West Germany reunified. Before that, East and West Germany were divided by the Berlin Wall, built after World War II to keep Eastern citizens from fleeing to the West. The Berlin Wall kept the two sides of Germany separated for 28 years. The wall finally crumbled in November 1989, and you can see segments of the original wall in many places in Germany and other countries.
  • Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight Savings Time. This was done in 1916 during World War I to conserve fuel.
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Germany, and the German Football Association is the largest single-sport league worldwide. Motorsports are also big in Germany, with three well-known German carmakers heavily involved, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche.
  • Hamburg, Germany, has the most bridges in the world. The city has more than 2,300 bridges!
  • In Germany, undergraduate university education is free, even to international students. Although a few programs are taught in both English and German, a student would need a firm knowledge of the German language to attend most universities. Germany also has a vocational education system that combines learning with company apprenticeships.
  • Germany is known for its sausages, and some, like "bratwursts" or "brats," are popular in the United States. Over 850 million "currywursts" (curry sausages sold on the street) are eaten in Germany per year! Bread, cheese, and beer are also significant parts of German cuisine.
  • During World War II, Coca-Cola syrup could not come into the country due to a US trade embargo with Nazi Germany. This resulted in the company's German division inventing Fanta soda, what we now know as an orange soda. However, the modern version was developed in Italy in the 1950s. They initially made the early German version with whey (the liquid left after making cheese), apple pomace (the pulp left from making apple juice), and beet sugar. 
  • The Autobahn is a famous access highway in Germany. It is over 8,000 miles long, and many parts have no enforceable speed limit. People travel from around the world to drive fast cars on the Autobahn. It's illegal to run out of gas on this highway!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Germany?

  • In Germany, often both parents work, and every child under three can go to daycare. Kids can start kindergarten from 3 to 5 years old. 
  • On the first day of first grade, parents give their children a giant cone filled with toys, candy, and school supplies. The school cone is called a "schultüte," celebrating an important rite of passage in their young lives. 
  • Popular sports for youth include football (soccer), handball, and gymnastics. Kids primarily participate in a sport through a sports club, and there are thousands of sports clubs in Germany for almost every sport. 
  • German kids can visit one of the biggest zoos in the world, the Zoologischer Garten Berlin (Berlin Zoological Garden). Although its size isn't the largest, it houses the most animal species worldwide. The zoo opened in 1844 and its aquarium in 1913. 
  • There are several amusement and theme parks in Germany, and if kids are familiar with stories from the Brothers Grimm, families can drive the German Fairy Tale Route (Deutsche Märchenstraße) that runs 370 miles. The route passes through scenic nature parks and charming villages, and several places on the way relate to the fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood's house, Sleeping Beauty's castle, and the Pied Piper's town of Hamelin. Speaking of castles, you can also visit the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, which may have inspired Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Lettuce Joke Around

Did you hear about the carrot detective? 

He got to the root of every case.

Lettuce Joke Around

What vegetable are all others afraid of? 

A Scarrot!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the veggie band sound horrible live? 

They were missing the Beet.

THYME for a Laugh

The date on my vanilla must have expired.

It just doesn't make any scents!

That's Berry Funny

What’s a vegetable’s favorite martial art? 

Carrotee! (Karate)

The Yolk's On You

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

Lettuce Joke Around

"Knock, knock."

"Who’s there?"


"Beets who?"

"Beets me!"

The Yolk's On You

What is a snowman’s favorite lunch?

An iceberger!

Lettuce Joke Around

What bean is the most intelligent? 

The Human Bean!

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