“Let’s have burgers” – this is a sentence which until recently never escaped my mouth. I had never had a fast food hamburger, and when I gave up meat many moons ago the idea of a patty sandwiched between two pieces of bread just didn’t appeal to me. But when I went vegan last Spring, I started cooking from scratch and following recipes more often. I realized that a veggie burger didn’t have to mean something highly processed, found in a box in the frozen section of the supermarket and meant to resemble the carnivorous BBQ favourite.
With my eyes wide open to this brave new world, I started experimenting with various vegetables, pulses, legumes and nuts to make a plant based burger that I could make to enjoy with the family all Summer long. This Crispy Chickpea and Spinach Burger might just be my go to for 2016 cottage weekends.
It isn’t too far off from a falafel, but the spinach make it something different from this classic Middle Eastern dish, as does the way it’s cooked.
The following recipe made 12 medium sized patties. They were enjoyed by vegan, vegetarian and meat eater alike at my table, but if you want to save them all for yourself (I wouldn’t blame you) they freeze well and can be thawed individually and tossed on the BBQ.
2 tbsp Chia Seed
6 tbsp Water
4 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 sml Cooking Onion
5 cloves Garlic, pressed
3 cups Spinach, chopped small
2 Cans Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin
2 sml Avocados
1. To prepare chia seed mixture, add chia seeds to water and set aside. After 5 minutes whisk until mixture becomes gelatinous
2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil and cook onions and 3 garlic cloves until translucent – about 5 minutes
3. Add spinach, turmeric, cumin, and continue cooking – about 3-5 minutes – turn off heat and set pan aside
4. In a food processor or high speed blender, pulse the chickpeas until mostly smooth, leaving about 1/3 in a chunky texture
5. Add chickpeas to saute pan with vegetables and mix to deglaze and combine before transferring to a large bowl
6. Add in chia seed mixture and fold
7. Shape mixture into burger form and place on parchment lined baking sheets
8. Create your garlic topping by combining the 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 cloves pressed garlic – then use this to spoon a dollop on top of each burger and spread to coat
9. Place in preheated oven (350°F) and bake for 10 minutes
10. Remove from oven and flip burgers before returning to oven for an additional 15 minutes
11. Turn oven to broil and finish cooking to create a golden brown topping.
12. Place burger directly on a plate, or add to the bun of your choice, and top with mashed avocado.