Chef Jose Andres has stated that the future of cooking is in fruits and vegetables (and that meat is boring). While we'll never be vegetarians (giving up foie gras, steak, and pork belly is just too hard for us), we are trying to lighten up and eat more vegetables. For the past year, we've enjoyed Meatless Mondays - but with the start of Lent (Mar 9), I decided to up the ante and cook exclusively vegetarian (and a few seafood) dishes for the entire 40 days.
So far I've enjoyed the challenge, but have found that for me, it's easier to conceive a dish with meat. Meat naturally has umami flavor in it so I'm aware that I need to replace that flavor (so far mushrooms have been our staple and luckily my husband loves all varieties of mushrooms!) Another challenge I'm facing is that it's still really cold here in NYC and the availability of local fruits and vegetables is scarce (compared to the summertime when I feel it's so much easier to for us to increase our vegetable and fruit intake because they're so fresh and abundant during the warmer months). We regularly eat salads with our meal - but for the main entree, I find that I'm oftentimes using canned or frozen vegetables. This Chickpea "Burger" recipe is one of those recipes.
I found this "vegetarian burger" recipe on the wonderful blog 101 Cookbooks.com. I changed the recipe a bit to reflect our tastes and ingredients we had on hand. We like cumin in our turkey burgers so I added this spice into this patty mixture. Also, when we make meatballs, we use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs because it's lighter so I used oats in this recipe as well. I like this recipe because it's easy to make and it uses ingredients that most people would have in their kitchen - even in the dead of winter!
Chickpea Burger (adapted from 101 Cookbooks.com)
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 large eggs
1/2 t sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 large red onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup broccoli, chopped (I used frozen broccoli and defrosted it in the microwave)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 t cumin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, sliced and caramelized
1 large orange pepper, sliced and roasted
1 avocado, sliced
1. In a medium-large mixing bowl, mash the canned beans with a fork. Once you have a chunky mix, add the eggs and salt. (The original recipe calls for a food processor, which will make this step quicker, but I used fork because the beans were easy to mash and I prefer a chunkier texture)
2. Add cilantro, onion, lemon zest, cumin, and broccoli chunks into the bowl. Add in the rolled oats (we like using rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs because we find it lighter). The mixture should be on the moist side, so you can add a bit of water if the mix is too dry.
3. Form patties from the mixture (about 1 inch thick, makes about 8 patties).
4. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, and brown both sides. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.
5. Serve the patty on a plate of lettuce, topped with avocado slices, roasted peppers, and caramelized red onions. Or you can serve the patty, as my husband prefers, like a regular burger on bun with toppings and condiments.