I’ve always been afraid of making my own veggie burgers. With all my previous attempts, some kind of minor disaster had happened: most of the times, the burgers would fall apart while cooking, not keeping the perfect round shape I wanted them to keep after being cooked. So today, I was determined to make the perfect veggie burgers I was dreaming on for such a long time. I had some cooked chickpeas sitting on the fridge, so I haven’t thought twice: I’d be making chickpea burgers.
I came to a conclusion: my previous attempts failed because there wasn’t any ingredient binding all the other components of the burger, hence their loss of structure. How I wish I had realised that sooner… This time around, not only the burgers kept their shape, thanks to the addition of ground flax seeds and tahini, but were also delicious in their own right. I served these guys on top of a grilled portobello mushroom and topped them up with an homemade apple and zucchini chutney. But feel free to use whatever condiments and fixings you like – I bet they would go particularly well with tzatziki and/or a peach salsa.
(makes 6 burgers)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons flax seeds
5 tablespoons water
95 grams extra firm tofu, crumbled
½ cup cornmeal
zest of ½ lemon
1. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, breadcrumbs, ground cumin, coriander seeds, curry powder, pepper, minced garlic, salt and crumbled tofu. Set aside.
2. In a coffe grinder or food processor, grind the flax seeds. Add the tahini and slowly pour the water, processing everything until you get a mixture with the consistency of a thick sauce. This will work as a binder.
3. Add the flax seeds and tahini mixture to the large bowl. Mix well all the ingredients.
4. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until everything comes together. Don’t bother if the mixture isn’t totally smooth; it’s actually great to find some small bits of chickpeas in there, as they add some crunchiness to the burgers.
5. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. With your hands, form round patties that are about 8 centimeters in diameter and 1 centimeter thick.
6. In a deep plate, combine the cornmeal with the lemon zest. Dip the patties in the mixture, shaking off the excess cornmeal.
7. Put a large grilling pan, previously brushed with olive oil, over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, but not smoking, add the patties.
8. Cook the patties for about 8 minutes on each side, turning them only once.
9. Serve them right after cooking.
Note: The burgers are quite firm and really hold their shape while grilling. Due to the low content of fat in the recipe, it’s really necessary to brush the grilling pan with olive oil to prevent them from sticking. For this very same reason, I don’t think that baking them would be a great idea, as baking usually absorbs a lot of moisture and would make the burgers a bit too dry, even if you brush the baking sheet with oil. On the other hand, and as an alternative to grilling, you could heat a large skillet with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil and cook them over medium-heat for the same amount of time (8 to 10 minutes on each side) until golden brown on both sides.