Friday, February 22, 2013

Chickpea Burgers

OK, I admit I'm on a real "bean-lentil-and-chickpea" kick right now.
But winter seems to inspire these sorts of ingredients and recipes - AND my pocketbook is a bit crunched (even more than usual!) these days, so I'm getting creative with some frugal ingredients in my cupboards...

I LOVE cooking chickpeas in my Crockpot. They come out so soft, creamy and delicious, completely different than those from a can. If you've never tried cooking them this way, give it a shot - super easy too!! (I won't go into cooking details, that's easy to look up online. But do try it if you have a chance.)
While I use home cooked chickpeas for this recipe, the canned one will work just fine too, though they may be just a bit more crumbly.

There are a million chickpea burger recipes all over the vegan universe, including many (probably easier and more delicious ones) by favorite cookbook authors of mine; so if this one doesn't suit your family's tastes, there are other options out there.

This is a very flexible recipe though - you can adjust seasonings as you prefer. My daughter likes the addition of red pepper flakes and a chopped jalapeno pepper for some spice. I love adding more garlic and fresh dill. Do what you like. Chickpeas make a quick, easy and very tasty burger, but can sometimes be a bit dry, so be sure to serve with lots of juicy tomatoes, pickles, dressing and whatever other burger "fixin's" you prefer!

Chickpea Burgers

2 &1/4 cups (or 1 15 oz. can) cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzos)
1 cup cooked brown or white rice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 bunch chopped green onions (or about 1/3 cup)
1 small carrot cooked and mashed (I usually cook this in the microwave or on the stovetop while assembling the other ingredients)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried mint (I use part of a plain peppermint tea bag)
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs, or more as needed
1/4 cup oats
2-3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2 Tbsp water
a squirt of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

 Mash/mix together the chickpeas and rice - this works MUCH better with hot, freshly cooked rice. Pulse together in your food processor very carefully - making sure to leave some texture but getting mixture well incorporated and very sticky - if not "sticky' textured, slowly add just a bit of the chick-pea juice (from can or cooking pot) to the mixture until it is very clumpy and sticky. Put in large mixing bowl.

Chop the red pepper, green onion, garlic and parsley; either finely chop by hand or "pulse" in a food processor, making sure to leave some texture. Add mashed carrot to the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the chickpea mixture and stir.

Add remaining ingredients and stir again, very well.
Let mixture sit for about 20 min to allow flavors to blend and oats to absorb moisture.

Taste and add more salt, pepper or whatever seasonings you might like. Stir again, I use my hands at this point, smooshing the mixture together - you want the mixture almost like dough.
If not holding together, add a tablespoon of flour, more breadcrumbs and/or a little more liquid, depending on the texture needed. Form into 6 - 8 patties and cook on medium heat in a well greased skillet, flipping when medium brown.

Serve with all your favorite burger toppings!