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Chickpea Burger Recipe

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~

5.0 from 4 reviews
Chickpea Burgers
Author: 
Serves: makes 8 patties
 
Ingredients
  • 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 ⅓ cup) chopped parsley
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ red onion, small dice
  • Oil or ghee for sautéing
  • Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt (full fat or low fat)
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1½ Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped parsley, mint or a combo (my favorite)
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Oil or ghee for sautéing
  • 4 6½ -inch whole wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired
  • Suggested accompaniments: sprouts, avocado, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions
Instructions
  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.

 

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Comments

60 Comments

  1. My husband and two older sons loved this – they were dubious when they heard what was on the dinner menu, but declared them ‘delicious.’ I dried the chickpeas super well (increased recipe by half for the big eaters my three sons are) and then added back 6 tbs of aquafaba instead of using eggs, and they held together perfectly. I also sautéed the onions beforehand, as I was nervous the raw onions wouldn’t get cooked enough for my youngest. I’m so happy to have a veggie burger that my carnivorous boys will eat!!

    • That’s so great to hear, Allison! Brilliant idea using aquafaba.

  2. My mix turned out very wet – I added extra almond meal to try to absorb some moisture, but it is still very wet. Can I bake in the oven instead of frying to help dry them out?? Similar to your falafel recipe but maybe add more time?

    • When you drain and rinse your chickpeas, make sure they are not soaking wet before you add them to the food processor or bowl. This mixture should not be super wet. If you need to bake them, grease a piece of parchment and brush the tops of the burgers with oil. Bake at 400 degrees until somewhat firm in the center. Not sure how long that would take, but I would try for at least 20 minutes.

  3. This was delicious! My daughter (9) and I just had for dinner. I think I could put that Tahini Yogurt dressing on everything (totally fab with broccoli).

    • Yes! That’s what I love to do with recipes. Adapt and extrapolate. That sauce is amazing on a grain and veg bowl for sure!

  4. Hi, what if I don’t have a food processor? Could I use a potato masher or a vitamix? Or maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and purchase one? Thanks!

    • Honestly, my food processor is my favorite and most used kitchen appliance. That said, you can absolutely use a potato masher here. Don’t use a Vitamix though.

  5. I made these for dinner last night. Flavor is absolutely delicious. I refrigerated the patties for one hour before I cooked them. I had some trouble with the patties breaking apart both as I turned them over in the pan and after cooking. Any suggestions?

    • Hmmmm…..if you used canned chickpeas, after you drained and rinsed them, were they super wet? Sometimes I make sure the beans have been really well drained so they don’t add too much moisture to the patties.

  6. Made it last night so good. We will definitely make it again.

    • Great, thanks for letting me know!

  7. Hi Pamela,
    Have you ever tried baking these instead of sautéing? Any DF suggestions besides the mayo I saw someone else comment on for the tzatziki?
    Thanks,
    Brett

    • I have tried baking them on a greased baking sheet and I brushed the tops of the patties with oil. They don’t get that same crispy coating, but they’ll cook! If you can’t do dairy, I would go a different direction and make the lemon-tahini dressing from either my Buddha bowl or the salad with the lemon-tahini dressing – both on the blog!

      • Sounds great thanks! Any thoughts on mushrooms instead of onions?

        • In the patties? My thought is that the mushrooms will have more water than the onion and might make the patties mushy. Not 100% sure though!

  8. I LOVE THESE! Such a delicious recipe– I made it last week for the first time and am making it again this week. I like to do lettuce wrap versions and stuff them with greens and tomatoes, or do as a salad. Both drizzled with the sauce. (I’m DF so I used a little mayonnaise and water in place of the yogurt–worked great!). Thanks for another fantastic recipe! Can’t wait to get your book! Congrats! 🙂

    • Thanks for writing in! So glad you enjoyed these — I love them too. And awesome swap with the mayo for the yogurt! 🙂

  9. My son has a teacher this year that has the same taste in good, clean food that I do. She is loving any leftovers I bring her from anything I cook from your blog. I had some of these leftover last week and she LOVED them. I put one on a bed of lettuce with some tzatziki sauce I made. She said they were amazing. Thank you as always. : ).

    • Thank you for sharing that. You are a lovely lady to bring leftovers to your son’s teacher. What a generous gesture!

  10. Pamela, This is right up our alley and will be our dinner for tomorrow night. I was going to soak the dried chick peas and was wondering if I should soak 4 cups of dried or less? Many Thanks to you for feeding our soul as well as our bodies.

    • Great question! Actually chickpeas increase in size by about 2 1/2 to 3 times after they’ve been cooked. So I would start with 1 3/4 cups dry chickpeas, then soak and cook. Does that make sense?

      • Absolutely and it is done as I type. So appreciate you. Have a terrific Sunday.

  11. I made these last night and they were super yummy. Everyone liked them. My son said he thought they wouldn’t taste good but he really liked them. (He just had it in a plain pita). I have a good recipe for tzatziki sauce from Lisa Leake that I love and I made that to put in the pitas. My husband even ended up using the tzatziki sauce which he normally doesn’t do. The leftover ones are going to be their lunch today. I think these may be good for lunches when we head back to school. Thank you for another reason to sneak some meat out of our diet. 🙂

    • So nice to hear, Monica. And a bonus — they freeze well!!

  12. Hi, I love your recipes and am looking forward to trying this one. What is the ratio of tahini to yogurt in the yogurt-tahini sauce (it looks like the number of tablespoons was erased)? Thanks!

    • Thank you so much for letting me know, just fixed it in the recipe. Enjoy!

  13. Delicious!

    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!

    • Great idea to freeze them! Love these!

  14. 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!!

    • WOW. That sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing, Lillian!

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

    • 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. 🙂

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

    • Nice to hear, thank you!

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

    • 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. 🙂

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

  19. 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 ?

  20. 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 🙂

    • You’re so welcome Mariam!

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

    • 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. 🙂

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

    • 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!.

  23. Pamela-

    I could not believe how good these were!

    Thank you so much!

    • Thanks, Melissa :). I love them too!

  24. 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 🙂

    • I love your healthy “sandwich and chips” idea, Marli!

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

  26. 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!

    • I like how you think!

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

    • You can use either. They’re both gluten-free!

  28. 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!

    • SUper easy, you’ll love them!

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

  30. Can I substitute navy beans for the chick peas?

    • 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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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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