For a big chunk of the 90s, when I lived in Vancouver, I subsisted for considerable periods of time on veggie burgers.
Since returning to the east coast, I’ve tried to come up with a decent version of my own.
There have been some notable failures: the crumbling red lentil atrocity, the acrid split pea disaster, the Veggie Burger That Shall Not Be Named… and a few close-but-not-quite-theres (hello ho-hum black bean bore that stuck to the grill and had to be scraped onto the bun with a spatula).
But this one works. It is my truly Favorite Veggie Burger.
It’s made with chickpeas and brown rice, some lemon juice, a few additional veggies, spices and herbs and a bit of chickpea flour for binding. (If you don’t have any chickpea flour on hand, some breadcrumbs or oatmeal will do).
Whizz it all in the food processor until mixed (but still with a bit of texture) and you’re ready to form your burgers.
The mixture holds together really well, so you can form decent patties. I dredge them in some cornstarch to crisp the exterior.
You can make the mixture a couple of days in advance and refrigerate it until needed, or make the burgers and keep them on hand until you are ready to cook them.
The burgers are soft inside, but hold up well in a bun and go great with all the usual fixings.
These are gluten-free and vegan, but that wasn’t really on purpose. It just kind of worked out that way.
If it’s not warm enough where you are to fire up the grill quite yet, just pan-fry the burgers and pretend that it is.
(FYI: I didn’t take the picture in the post. It is a veggie burger, but it’s not my veggie burger. I had some camera (photographer?) issues when I tried to get a decent pic today, but will update the post as soon as I do.)
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup / 250 ml)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups / 500 ml chickpeas
- 1 cup / 250 ml cooked brown rice
- ¼ cup / 60 ml lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml cumin
- ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml chopped parsley
- 1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup / 250 ml)
- ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup / 125 ml)
- ½ cup / 125 ml chickpea flour (you can substitute breadcrumbs or oatmeal)
- ⅓ cup / 80 ml cornstarch
- Heat a frypan over medium-low heat. When the pan is heated, add onions and cook until soft (about 2-3 minutes). Do not let the onions brown: if they start to brown, turn down the heat.
- Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat.
- Put chickpeas and rice in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times to break the chickpeas up a bit. Add the remaining ingredients except cornstarch (cooked onion and garlic, lemon juice, salt, oregano, cumin, ground pepper, parsley, carrot, bell pepper and chickpea flour).
- Process in food processor until the ingredients are mixed. Process in short intervals and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. The burger mix should not be too smooth - it should still have some texture.
- Make burgers with approximately ½ cup / 125 ml of the mixture.
- Place the cornstarch on a plate or in a flat bowl. Place each burger in the cornstarch, then turn over to dredge the other side. Repeat until all burgers have been coated.
- Pan fry burgers in a lightly oiled pan or grill until they are browned and crisp. Turn over to brown the other side. Keep warm until serving.