I swear, a simple, satisfying meatless burger has the power to change the world, and these delicious Chickpea Veggie Burgers are contenders, for sure — they’re just as tasty as beef, but so much better for you!
I have nothing against eating beef occasionally, but if we could replace even a fraction of the beef burgers we all consume with a healthy, sustainable, veggie version, what a difference it could make not only to our own well being, but the well being of the planet as a whole. I eat and make veggie burgers often, and lately I’ve come full circle from some of my earlier recipes. Those recipes were great, but a little bit more, let’s just say, complex. In my quest for that perfect meatless burger I’ve tried just about everything and I’ve come to the conclusion that simple is best. For one thing, if we’re going to eat veggie burgers on a regular basis we want the process to be streamlined and convenient, otherwise most of us just won’t bother.
When I say I’ve come full circle, I really mean it, this burger is based on the very first one I learned to make back in college when I was cooking at Hal’s Restaurant, in Hanover, NH. Hal’s was a student hangout tucked away down a little alley, and they served up the best simple vegetarian food to dirt poor and very hungry, students. While I worked there I learned to make fluffy whole wheat pancakes, home grown sprouts and yogurt, paper thin cheese omelettes, and soy burgers that I dream about to this day. These chickpea veggie burgers follow that same recipe, except that I’ve used garbanzos in place of soybeans. You can use the soybeans for sure, if you can find them.
These burgers are made from chickpeas that have been blitzed in a food processor with a few seasonings and a little whole wheat flour to bind it everything together. I think the resulting texture is perfect.
TIP: There are 2 methods for cooking dried chickpeas. You can soak the beans overnight in water, or you can bring them to a boil, boil for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and let them quick soak for about an hour. Then drain, add fresh water, and cook until tender. I like to add seasonings to the water so the beans absorb flavor while they cook. Go ahead and salt the cooking water, it’s a myth that it toughens beans.
This recipe makes 6 burgers, but feel free to double or triple it so you can keep a batch in the freezer.
TIP: An inexpensive tortilla press makes perfectly round, flat, uniform burgers in an instant. Just place a ball of bean mixture on the plate and press down — they’ll look so professional! You can use a heavy skillet to get a similar effect if you don’t have a press, and little sheets of waxed paper help keep the burgers from sticking.
I always concoct some sort of special sauce for my burgers, it adds extra flavor and makes such a difference. It can be as simple as whisking mayo with some chipotle chili powder.
TIP: Thin is best, and to get a nice crispy crust make sure to cook the burgers in a little butter on a hot grill. Flip them gently, they can be fragile.
TIP: A great veggie burger is only as good as its accompaniments. A fluffy bun, (not too big or thick!) a piece of your favorite cheese, a slice of ripe tomato, a handful of fresh sprouts, and of course a fabulous mayo or sauce are essential!
- 1 heaping cup dried chickpeas
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried rosemary or thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste, sauce, or ketchup (I used spicy ketchup)
- about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
- Rinse the beans and soak them in cold water overnight. Drain and put in a large pan with cold water to cover by several inches. Add bay leaves, cumin powder, onion salt, garlic powder, rosemary or thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the beans are tender.
- Drain the beans, (you should have about 3 cups) remove the bay leaves, and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 15-20 times.
- Add in the ketchup and flour and run the machine until the mixture is combined and holds together when you press it between your fingers. It will be crumbly.
- Measure out 1/2 cup scoops of the bean mixture, compressing it so it holds together, and flatten with a tortilla press into thin 5-inch patties. You will get six burgers.
- Store the burgers in the refrigerator until ready to cook. You can freeze them, well wrapped, too.
- Cook the burgers on a hot grill in a little melted butter until crisp and golden on each side. Flip them gently as they are fragile.
- Serve on buns with mayo, cheese, onion, tomato, and sprouts.
- I like to use dried beans because I think they give the best texture, and I haven’t tried this recipe with canned. If you decide to try, drain and rinse them well to remove the canned flavor. You will need 3 cups for the above recipe. You might need more flour as the canned beans may be moister.
- I sometimes add the spices to the cooking water, and other times I add the spices directly to the cooked beans, it’s your choice. I liked the results either way.
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