Chickpea-falafel burger: Vegetarian for dinner

I love falafels. I love chickpeas. I love (veggie) burgers. So this meal seemed like a winner
By Karma Brown

With chef in training out of town I decided it was a good week to go vegetarian, at least for my meals (mini sous chef has a deep, deep love of ham that can’t be denied). I’d been hankering for homemade veggie burgers, so I flipped open Chatelaine’s Summer’s Best cookbook and dog-eared the chickpea-falafel burger with cucumber.

I love falafels. I love chickpeas. I love (veggie) burgers. So this meal seemed like a winner, at least for my taste buds. I was curious how all the ingredients and flavours would mingle (chickpeas, lentils, cucumber, egg, parsley, green onion, garlic, oats, chili powder), but I trusted Chatelaine’s kitchen: they have yet to steer me wrong. So while the mini happily gobbled her eggs and ham, I worked on the burgers.

First you whirl the oats in the food processor until they become a rough flour consistency. Then you add the chickpeas, onions, egg, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano (which I left out – not a fan), and whirl again until the mixture is smooth. You’ll need to scrape the sides to make sure everything gets mixed well, but within a couple of minutes it was done. Then the mixture is stirred in a bowl with the lentils, cucumber, and parsley, and you’re ready to make the patties. This is the point where I began to have some doubts. The mixture was gooey, far too soft to form easily into any kind of patty. So I did the best I could and placed the burgers carefully in the oil sprayed pan. Luckily, after the first flip they had crisped up enough on one side to hold together and I was back in business.

Now this isn't the prettiest burger you’ll ever make, but it tasted so much like a falafel I was practically drooling for a doughy pita to accompany it. Instead, as I was pita-less, I enjoyed my burger with tzatziki and fresh cucumber and tomato slices. And while the chili powder didn’t overpower, if you have spice-sensitive dinner guests you may want to reduce it or eliminate it entirely. These burgers kept well for lunch the next day, by which time I had (thankfully) restocked my pita supply. Craving curbed.


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