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Chickpea Burger Recipe

June 01, 2012

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If I had to pick one cuisine to stick with for the rest of my life, it would be a tough a call.  But I could easily live off of Mediterranean food every day.  I love the emphasis on fresh vegetables, olive oil, legumes and whole grains, cheeses and fish.  Whether it’s Italian, Greek, or Israeli, this way of eating is definitely my comfort zone.  And living in Southern California makes cooking Mediterranean-style quite easy with an availability of similar varieties of fresh produce, nuts, dates and olives.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things to do is to take a not-so-healthful food that I love and turn it into something I can enjoy regularly.  Many years ago I decided to try making falafel (the deep-fried Middle Eastern chickpea nuggets) a little less “deep-fried.”  (Ok, not everything Mediterranean is healthful.)  Many iterations later I found myself with a delightful, substantial chickpea burger which in turn began my obsession with veggie burgers.  I don’t love meat and poultry so much, although I think they are excellent sources of protein if you can find organic, pastured varieties.  But I do love hearty, flavorful vegetarian food that makes me feel satisfied, especially anything bean-based which is loaded with low-fat protein and tons of insoluble fiber.  I also like having recipes like this for entertaining when I always like to offer a vegetarian option (you’d be surprised how many people choose not to eat meat these days.)

These chickpea burgers are a favorite of mine and my whole family, even Mr. Picky who I am pleased to announce tried one for the first time last week with ketchup.  Do what you’ve gotta do, friends.  They are definitely a far cry from falafel, though.  In fact, the only ingredients that falafel and these chickpea burgers have in common are chickpeas and cumin.  But if I do it right, they’re crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and with flavors that remind of falafel.  I usually eat veggie burgers sans bun since I find that they are plenty starchy without adding bread.  But when serving them to family and friends, I offer warmed, whole wheat pita halves and an array of yummy toppings including sprouts, avocado, tomato slices, lettuce, cooked onion and most importantly, a creamy and refreshing sauce.  In my opinion, it’s all about the condiments!

Chickpea burgers (and veggie burgers, in general) are fabulous for entertaining and for busy weeknights since they are best formed in advance and refrigerated so they firm up a bit.  Out of the fridge, they cook up in minutes on a hot griddle or skillet.  Once you realize how tasty these are, you’ll make a double batch and freeze half.  If you freeze them, just don’t forget to place a piece of wax or parchment in between each patty so that they don’t stick together (ask me how I know this.)  These burgers may not take you back to your last visit to the Mediterranean, but I hope they’ll keep you from visiting the freezer section of your supermarket!  Enjoy~

chickpea burgers

makes 8 patties


4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned

2 large eggs, preferably free-range

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

zest of 2 small or 1 super big lemon

¼ cup flour (whole grain flour, cornmeal or almond meal all work)

6 Tablespoons (or a heaping 1/3 cup) chopped parsley

2 carrots, grated

½ red onion, small dice


Yogurt-Tahini Sauce 

¾ cup plain yogurt (full fat or low fat)

3 Tablespoons tahini

1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup chopped parsley, mint or a combo (my favorite)

¼ – ½ teaspoon sea salt


Oil or ghee for sautéing

4 6 ½ -inch whole wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired

Suggested accompaniments:  sprouts, avocado, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions


  1. Place the chickpeas, egg, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne, lemon zest, flour and parsley in food processor.  Pulse until a coarse mixture forms that holds together.  It should be moist and sticky.
  2. Place chickpea mixture in a bowl and mix in grated carrot and red onion.  Take a ½ cup of the mixture and firmly press it into a patty about 3 ½ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick.  You can also form these into mini-patties for appetizers.  Place on a plate or a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.  Cover if refrigerating for more than a few hours.
  3. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking.  Add patties to the skillet (do this in batches, if necessary) and cook until crisp and golden brown on the underside, about 6 minutes.   Carefully turn over and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3-5 minutes more.
  4. Serve with or without a warmed pita half or a hamburger bun and suggested toppings.

34 Responses to “Chickpea Burger Recipe”

  1. TommieJay says:


    I made a batch of this and they are great for a single person. Just freeze the uncooked portion. But really delicious, served it on pita bread with Tahini and Yogurt!

  2. Lillian says:

    I just made these, love them! I’m not a big fan of parsley so I used cilantro instead, that was the only substitution and they are fantastic!! Next time I’ll make the sauce. We ate ours over a spinach salad with avocado and some salsa on top…think you for another great non-meat burger recipe!!

  3. Pia says:

    Hi, if I freeze half the batch…. Are they uncooked or cooked. Thank u

    • Pamela says:

      You can do either, but I think they turn out better if you freeze them UNCOOKED. You can actually cook them straight from the freezer. They just take a few extra minutes. :)

  4. Kim says:

    Soooo good and healthy!!!! Will definitely make again and again!!

  5. Ashley says:

    Hi Pamela, Just to clarify, are you supposed to refrigerate the mixture before forming the pattys? Step 3 is throwing me off. Thanks!

    • Pamela says:

      Um, hello? I can’t believe you’re the first person to catch that GIGANTIC typo! Thank you. Corrected! And yes, form the patties and refrigerate for a bit before cooking. It helps them stay together better. :)

  6. Cicely Spee says:

    I couldnt agree more. Just took 2 minutes to read that and It totally worth it.

  7. kim rodberg says:

    Hi Pamela,
    I made your lentil soup earlier today and it was amazing !
    I have left over lentils, could I use them in place of chickpeas for
    burgers ?

  8. Mariam says:

    Just served these to my 3 year old and myself. They taste like a dream!! (and I am from the middle east myself..) sooo moist and yummy. I will be making them again and again! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  9. J.L. says:

    Have you tried quinoa flour in this recipe? Does it make a difference whether you use canned vs. dried chickpeas?

    • Pamela says:

      Nope, but I think it would work well. I have made the recipe with both canned and cooked-from-dried chickpeas and I can’t tell a difference. :)

  10. J.L. says:

    My daughter is allergic to eggs. Can you suggest an egg substitute?

    • Pamela says:

      I have a vegan student who made these without eggs and she said they turned out fine. Make sure you give them time in the fridge to firm up and cook them on a reasonably hot pan so a nice crust forms. That really helps them stay together. Otherwise, my favorite egg substitute is 1 Tbs. ground flax meal + 3 Tbs. warm water mixed together and allowed to sit for 15 minutes. Use that for 1 egg. I think it should work great with these. Let me know if you try it out!.

  11. Melissa says:


    I could not believe how good these were!

    Thank you so much!

  12. Marli says:

    Omg I’m eating healthy and liking it :) thank u these burgers are delicious i mean i haven’t cooked them yet but i tasted them for seasoning and they were perfect no changes yummy can’t wait to have them cooked… Thank u for another amazing dish. I’m making them with ur kale chip recipe i taught i would go good like a sandwich and chips but a very healthy version :)

  13. Lora says:

    This was sooooo delicious and everyone loved it!!!!!!

  14. Lauren says:

    These were so delicious! Love the mediterranean flavor! And the yummy sauce was a perfect accompaniment! I made them on Sunday for Monday’s dinner and I loved that all I had to do was throw (not literally) them in a skillet! Voila, perfect, easy weeknight dinner!

  15. lora says:

    should I use cornmeal or almond meal to make it gluten free?

  16. Cristina says:

    This looks amazing and easy to follow. My son and I love chickpeas. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for another great idea for dinner!

  17. Melissa says:

    YUMMY.. THank you for a twist to burgers that require NO meat!

  18. Catherine says:

    Can I substitute navy beans for the chick peas?

    • Pamela says:

      Well, I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not. Navy beans are a bit softer than chickpeas and have a little blander flavor. But I have used similar beans in veggie burgers just fine. If anything, you might need an extra spoonful of flour or some texture from cooked rice.

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