I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
If I had to pick just one legume to subsist on for the rest of my life, it would without a single shred of doubt, be chickpeas. They really are the perfect bean – high in protein and fiber, soft yet starchy in texture and incredibly diverse in nature. Throw them in hummus, pile them on top of a salad, stir them into a pilaf or bake them into these za’atar spiced brown rice chickpea burgers.
I’ll be honest – these burgers were the result of a spur-of-the-moment/hodgepodge/ “let’s throw a bunch of things together and see if it works” kind of kitchen experiment. I had discovered a practically unused jar of organic za’atar a few days prior and had been racking my brain for ways to use it up. I also happened to be running low on groceries save for a few staples (chickpeas, of course) and had a batch of brown rice sitting in the fridge when the inspiration took root.
While they may not seem like the most obvious burger constituent, I really love using leftover grains, brown rice and quinoa in particular, as a base for bulking up veggie burgers. In addition to packing a powerful nutritional punch, they also add great bite and texture.
Paired with just five more easy-to-find ingredients, you have yourself, a winning veggie pattie. Armed with the perfect marriage of flavours and textures, these burgers are fragrantly spiced, perfectly nutty and deliciously savoury, not to mention filling and protein packed to boot.
- 1 cup cooked brown rice, cooled
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (equivalent of 1½ cups)
- ¾ cup red onion, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp za'atar spice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Olive oil spray
- Start by sautéing the chopped onions in a little olive oil until softened and slightly browned.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the chickpeas and mash roughly with a fork, until most of the mixture is broken down (a few whole chickpeas here and there is okay).
- Add the sautéed onions, brown rice, za'atar spice, parsley, tahini, lemon juice and seasonings to the same bowl and mix well using your hands to bind everything together. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Preheat your oven to 176 °C/ 350 °F and grease a baking tray using a little bit of olive oil.
- Shape into 4-6 equal sized patties and place on tray. Bake for 18-20 minutes, flipping once in between.
Since these burgers don’t follow the typical flavour profile of a veggie burger (ie. smoky and BBQ-infused) – you may be stuck on ideas for how to serve them, but believe me when I say they are super versatile in their own right.
My favourite way to have them is alongside a mountain of kale salad (as pictured), but I also adore them crumbled up into a falafel style wrap with some herby tahini dressing, lettuce, tomato and pickles. You could also bake them into bite-sized appetisers and serve with hummus – because what goes better with chickpeas and tahini than even more chickpeas and tahini.
Onwards, to the cooking notes:
- These burgers freeze beautifully and also cook from frozen quite well (although remember to add about 5-7 minutes to account for defrosting). I find they’re also less crumbly when cooked from frozen.
- To shape the patties I use a 1/4 or 1/3 measuring cup lined with clingfilm to scoop out the mixture then flatten it gently using my hands on a foil or parchment paper-lined tray – not only does this give you consistently equal sized patties it also minimizes clean-up as the mixture comes clean off the clingfilm.
- For me this recipe typically makes 6-7 small-ish patties, but you could also make them into 4 larger patties.
Until next time, dear readers!