Meatless Monday: Chickpea and Rice Vegan Burgers

This time of year is all about burgers and backyard barbecues. I know when I am invited to a friend’s place, it usually means I better start thinking about what I’d like to eat because chances are I’ll be the only (or one of the few) vegetarian guests and my options will be limited to chips and salsa, maybe some guacamole and hummus if I’m lucky.

I love playing around with different burger recipes so that I always have something tasty, but different to enjoy.  Chickpeas are one of my favorite burger ingredients because they are hearty and have a great texture and flavor. The posted recipe utilizes precooked rice, so it’s a great way to use up leftovers, and it is versatile in many ways. You can change your herbs and spices, use different beans, eliminate red pepper or substitute with boiled carrots, mix in different vegetables like peas and corn, use cilantro or basil instead of parsley… you get the idea. They are really quick to throw together with the use of a food processor or blender.

The recipe as listed is also gluten free and soy free, but if you’re not worried about that, you can season with soy sauce/tamari and use bread crumbs in place of rice and/or flour.

Chickpea and Rice Burgers
1 medium bell pepper, roasted, skin and seeds removed
1 can chickpeas, divided (about 2 Cups)
1 C cooked rice
¼ C onion, small dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ tsp chili flakes
¼ C minced parsley
¼ C grated carrot, optional
2 T to ¼ C chickpea flour

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and sweat onions. Cook until translucent and soft and start to caramelize, about five minutes. Set aside. You may skip this step if you want raw onion crunch.

2. In a food processor, puree bell pepper, half of the chickpeas and spices until smooth.

3. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add carrots, if using, parsley, onion and remaining chickpeas and mash slightly with a masher to break up chickpeas a little. Fold in chickpea flour little by little. You want the mixture to be wet, but not too sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

4. Form into patties of desired size. I use a cookie scooper for evenly sized burgers.

5. Heat skillet and coat with a thin layer of oil. Cook burgers for about 3 to 4 minutes, on each side, until golden and crispy on the outside. Alternately, preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20 minutes, until burgers are slightly firm to the touch. They will firm more after removed from the oven.

Makes 6 to 12 burgers, depending on size.

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