Never really liking beef (hamburger) or turkey burgers, when out with my hubby, I would order a veggie burger while he ordered the turkey burger. For years, I suffered through eating dry tasteless veggie patties, while my hubby would look at me smirking while enjoying his turkey burger. Fortunately, in the past few years, chefs have become more creative with ingredients, making better tasting veggie patties. That’s when the tables turned – I would order a fabulous looking and tasting veggie burger, smirking at my hubby, while he ate his same old turkey burger. It didn’t take long before he decided to try one of my veggie burgers. Surprisingly, he began ordering veggie burgers too. Now, anytime I suggest veggie burgers for dinner, he is all for it! In fact, it was my husband who inspired me to make this chickpea veggie burger.
Served on grilled pita bread with tzatziki, this chickpea veggie burger resembles the Greek falafel. You can use store-bought tzatziki, or make my easy breezy tzatziki. I also topped my chickpea veggie burger with the quinoa Greek salad that I had on hand. Makes for a perfect side salad with this chickpea veggie burger too. If you follow my blog, you would have seen that I recently posted both of these recipes. I told ya I would be posting something amazing using my easy breezy tzatziki.
Not only are chickpeas the star ingredient in this veggie burger, but the ancient grain Freekah, roasted young (green) is a star as well. Use freekeh as you would other grains in pilafs, salads, soups, and stews, alone or mixed with quinoa or brown rice.
Unfortunately, this chickpea veggie burger, like most veggie burgers, uses a lot of ingredients to make. Don’t feel overwhelmed with the ingredients. Instead, take the extra time at the beginning to correctly chop the spinach, onion, garlic, parsley, pine and pine nuts. Then measure out all of your ingredients. The more organized and prepared you are, the easier and better your outcome will be. So get your freekeh on and have some fun!
- 2 tablespoons plus 1-teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 ¼ cups organic vegetable broth
- ½ cup cracked freekeh
- 15 ounce can organic chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and patted dry
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1-½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1-teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-teaspoon ground coriander
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- In a large skillet, heat 1-teaspoon olive oil. Add the spinach, using tongs to toss, cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer spinach to a sieve, using wooden spoon press spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. Allow cool, then chopping and transferring to a large bowl. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add the broth and freekeh and bring to a boil. Cover pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the freekeh is tender and the broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. When the freekeh has finished cooking, remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes uncovered.
- In the large bowl with the spinach, add the cooked freekah, chickpeas, panko, parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, zest, cumin, and coriander. Using a potato masher, mash mixture until the chickpeas are mashed and sticky but still a little chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg. Chill the chickpea mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Portion the chickpea mixture into 8 balls. With moist hands, form balls into patties about ¾ inch thick.
- In a large skillet or cast-iron pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the burgers, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until browned on one side. Gently flip with a thin spatula and cook until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve burgers on grilled pita bread with tzatziki.