I've done it. I've finally created a stand up veggie burger. I'm crossing it off my list in permanent marker. This burger has happily become my go to. It's taken some time to get here friends. It's been anything but smooth sailing in the veggie burger department. More like high winds and tumultuous waves. If I had to come face to face with one more sub-par burger, I was going to declare myself lost at sea. I take these things seriously and so I ventured on, traveling the course. Onwards and upwards.
If you've ever tried creating a veggie burger, you can probably relate to my troubles with crumbly versions that fall apart, those that are too dry, or too wet. It's a tricky balance. I've tried for longer than I'd like to admit to achieve the right consistency. I went back and forth, testing versions with grains and versions with breadcrumbs. Then it hit me. I needed both to achieve a moist burger that would hold together. Brown rice and creamy chickpeas do just that. What I like about using the brown rice is that it makes for a moist burger, one that's dense, but not 'bready.' I've added an onion, lemon zest, and parsley into the mixture. You don't necessarily need the parsley if you don't have it, or you could swap cilantro instead. I've made them both ways. Add in some spices or heat if you like.
Veggie burgers are a perfect do-ahead sort of thing. Sure, it's a little work initially, but I'm happily rewarded with an instant meal when I just don't have the energy to make one. Sitting on the top shelf in my freezer are individually wrapped patties at this very moment. It's my mealtime security blanket. I've gotten into the habit of doubling this recipe. I make some for now, some for later. Defrosted, warmed, and slathered with grainy mustard, this burger has become my lunch of choice lately. They really hit the spot.
~Brown Rice Chickpea Burger Recipe~
Adapted from Whole Living, Jan/Feb
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/4 tsp sea salt
few grinds pepper from a pepper mill
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, add chickpeas and brown rice. Using a potato masher, mash chickpeas and brown rice together until they form a paste. This will take some arm work. If there are still chickpeas in tact towards the end of the process, you can also use the back of a fork to scrape them down. (I would resist the urge to use a food processor, as the texture won't work out the same way). Stir in onion, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add in the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Use your hands to combine. Form mixture into one large mass. Score the mixture with your hands, creating four equal portions. This will ensure all the burgers are the same size. Form four round patties, approximately 1" in height.
Heat a skillet pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add the patties. Cook for about 7 minutes. The burgers should have a nice brown crust on them. Flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve with your favorite toppings. I like grainy mustard or tzatziki, sliced onions, avocados, and tomatoes. But really, anything goes. I also l like to wrap these in various types of lettuce instead of using a bun. Serves 4.