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Spinach-Chickpea Burger

(recipe, Truman Phelps)

Introduction

From the August 21, 2010 show. Excerpted with permission from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way: Fresh, Flavorful and Healthy Vegan and Vegetarian Burgers-Plus Toppings, Sides, Buns and More by Lukas Volger. © 2010. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment, LLC. This is one of my favorite veggie burgers. It has everything I want: hearty chickpeas, fortifying spinach, a hint of nutty toasted cumin seeds, and final finish of fresh lemon. It’s also very easy! As with most burgers in this book, be sure to reserve a portion of the beans and mash them by hand, rather than blitzing all of them in the food processor, as this gives the burger texture. I like to serve them accompanied by traditional burger fixings: lettuce, tomato, and mustard. Prep and cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  1. * 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. * 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  3. * 5 ounces fresh spinach
  4. * 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  5. * 2 eggs
  6. * Juice of ½ lemon
  7. * 1 teaspoon salt
  8. * ⅓ cup chickpea flour (see note), or more if needed

Steps

  1. 1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the cumin seeds and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the spinach is completely wilted, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof plate and allow to cool until safe to handle. Drain if necessary, wrap in a towel, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely.
  2. 2. Combine 1¼ cups of the chickpeas, the eggs, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles a chunky hummus.
  3. 3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the remaining ¼ cup beans and mash coarsely with a potato masher. Add the bean-egg mixture and stir thoroughly. Fold in the chickpea flour. The mixture should be sticky but somewhat pliable. Add more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, if too wet, or a bit of water if too dry. Shape into 5 patties.
  4. 4. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
  5. Note: While it’s easy to make your own chickpea flour by grinding dried chickpeas in a spice grinder or blender, it can now be found at most grocery stores — but at a hefty price. It’s a standard ingredient in Indian cuisines, used to make a breading batter for pakoras and in some flatbreads, and can thus be found readily and less expensively at Indian groceries, where it is sometimes called gram flour.