Meatless Monday: Chickpea & Red Pepper Veggie Burgers

Last summer, I was obsessed with 1) grilling vegetables and 2) veggie burgers.

It’s not quite time to break out the grill just yet – as long as it’s still cool enough in my apartment to use the oven without getting heat stroke, I will take my veggies roasted, thank you! But last week after seeing veggie burgers on both Ashley and Jessica’s blogs, I started getting a craving for them.

Last summer I tried a few different chickpea patties: one that was curry flavored, and a pesto variety. None were quite burgers though…maybe small patties, or fritters. I’ve always had trouble getting them to stay together any time I tried to make a patty bigger than a mini slider. My best ever attempt is my spicy black bean burgers, which happens to be one of the most viewed recipes on my blog.

When I got a craving for veggie burgers last week, the only legumes I had on hand were chickpeas. Inspired by the red pepper present in both Ashley and Jessica’s recipes, I was determined to make it work!

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Last summer, I didn’t have a food processor when I made my chickpea patties. This may have been the missing link!

The result was extremely flavorful, and the texture I got from adding crunchy red pepper and chewy brown rice was awesome. For the most part, the burgers stayed together, but they had their crumbly moments. It’s definitely easier to eat them with a fork, but if you’re really opposed to that, a bun will work nicely too 😉

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Next time I make them, I may try an egg as a binder instead of my usual tahini to see if that works better. But this time? I have no complaints!

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No bun? No problem!

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Chickpea & Red Pepper Veggie Burgers
makes 4 burgers

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed {if you aren’t using a food processor, you may want to peel the beans as well if you have time!}
1/4 cup onion, diced {about 1/2 of a small onion}
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup quick oats {many people blend oats into flour for veggie burgers; quick oats aren’t full flakes but aren’t as powdery as oat flour}
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chile powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt & pepper
about 1 tbsp oil, for frying

IF USING FOOD PROCESSOR:

Chop onion, bell pepper, and garlic into smaller pieces and put in the food processor. Pulse until everything is finely diced. Add about half of the garbanzo beans and pulse to combine. Once broken down a bit, add the rest of the beans and continue to pulse. You do not want this to turn into hummus, just pulse until most of the beans have been broken into pieces. See photo above. Then follow remaining instructions below.

IF NO FOOD PROCESSOR:

Dice onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Add to a medium-sized bowl. Add half of beans to the bowl and mash with a potato masher or (my favorite) a soup ladle. Add remaining beans and use a fork to combine everything, lightly smushing the beans together as you do.

NEXT STEPS:

Add remaining ingredients (rice through salt & pepper) and mix gently with a fork. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout. Gather about 1/2-3/4 cup of the mixture and shape into a patty, being sure to mold the outside edges so that it’s all compact and will stay together.

Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add first two burgers. Cook for 4 minutes on each side. For best results, keep saute pan covered while they cook. Repeat with remaining burgers. Serve with or without a bun, crumbled onto a salad, or however you please!

Notes: Patties reheat best in the microwave, but in a pan or the oven may work as well. Try and let me know how it goes!

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Meatless Monday: Pesto Chickpea Burgers

It’s October.

So here’s the deal.

I know everyone’s ready for pumpkin, apple cider, hot cocoa, and the like.

But I’m not.

And neither is Mother Nature, apparently:

Yeah. HIGH NEAR 100F today. Greetings, October! may we interest you in a sauna?

I wore boots to work on Friday in protest of the heat. Contrary to my super realistic expectations, it didn’t make fall arrive…it just made my feet hurt. So I’m not protesting anymore. I’m embracing the heat. I’m makin’ some burgers.

I’ve made veggie burgers before, and I’ve made chickpea patties before…But this time, I put the 2 together and something magical happened.

I was inspired when I bought these Oven Fries with Olive Oil, Rosemary & Garlic from Alexia Foods…I knew I wanted to eat them with a sandwich or burger, and I wanted it to be something that would complement the herbs in the fries. I decided something with pesto would be best, and I used garbanzo beans because they were what I had on hand. (I’m sure this recipe would be just as delicious with black or white beans!)

The pesto works as a great binder for the burger (no egg or tahini needed for this one!) PLUS, it adds a powerful flavor punch and a pretty (or is it creepy?) green hue.

I used the same pesto recipe from the pasta I made a couple weeks back, but you can make or use whatever pesto you want!

Let summer live on. Make these burgers.

Pesto Chickpea Burgers
makes 4 small patties, or 5 sliders

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed, drained & skins removed
1/4 cup chopped eggplant (see note below, use whatever you have on hand to add some texture!)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pesto
water, if needed

Gather about half of the beans in a bowl and coarsely mash. Don’t make it too smooth, but you definitely don’t want to have any fully intact beans. Next, stir in remaining beans, eggplant and rolled oats, being careful not to overmash. Next, add pesto and again stir to combine. If it seems like the mixture is not moist enough, add a tablespoon of water to help everything come together.

Form into 4 equal sized patties.

To cook on stove, heat a small amount of oil on pan at medium-high heat then add burgers. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted buns! (I used whole wheat sandwich thins)

I wanted to cook these on the grill to avoid adding more oil than they already had in them (due to the pesto), but I’m not so confident that they wouldn’t fall apart. You could probably bake them successfully too!

Notes: I used eggplant because it was what I had on hand, but this would be great with diced onion, mushrooms, or shredded zucchini. Also, this makes some pretty small burgers…a potato side dish is key to making it a complete meal!