Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recipe: Dilled Chickpea Burgers

Oh my goodness, these were delicious! My sometimes not-so-easy-to-please almost vegan yet technically still an omnivore husband LOVED these. He even surprised himself! He had his first chickpea burger plain, in a pita pocket (which he had at first protested because he had a pita pocket about 15 years ago and didn’t like it). He does not eat yogurt (vegan or not) so his second burger he added ranch dressing and lettuce (when he requested the lettuce, I had to check and make sure I heard him correctly). He has already requested that I make these again.

My daughter, age 4, had her chickpea burger in a pita pocket with a little bit of yogurt sauce. She said  it was too spicy and burned her tongue, even though I used a quarter of cayenne than what the recipe called for. So I wiped it off so she could finish her lunch. The boy, age 2, preferred not to have a pita pocket but ate his completely plain. I had mine with everything on it: tomato, lettuce, onion, and yogurt sauce.
Dilled Chickpea Burgers

Recipe Origin: “Mayim’s Vegan Table” by Mayim Bialik
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, well-drained and rinsed
1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped (Harris Teeter has large bunches of fresh dill right now)
½ cup shallots, minced
2 Tbsp. plain dry breadcrumbs (I used 6 whole wheat Ritz crackers)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used lemon juice form the bottle)
2 Tbsp. tahini
½ tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground cumin
About ¼ cup vegetable oil for oiling the pan (I added a bit of oil before each batch)
6 pita pockets or buns
1.       Lightly mash half of the chickpeas in a medium bowl. (This task was surprisingly difficult. I ended up using my fingers to squish the whole chickpea and then I was able to easily mash them with a spoon.) Add the dill, shallots, bread crumbs, and lemon juice and mix well.

2.       In a food processor, combine the remaining chickpeas, tahini, salt, pepper, and cumin until smooth. Add to the mashed chickpeas, mix well, and form into six to eight patties.

3.       Oil a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and cook the burgers until very crispy and dark golden on both sides, about 6 minutes. Don’t flip them too much! Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags on a wire rack.

4.       Stuff the patties in pita pockets.

Spicy Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain vegan yogurt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ tsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (I used about 1/16 tsp. since I was feeding this to my children)

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until blended thoroughly.

Now about the yogurt sauce: I am actually not a fan of yogurt being used this way, but for the sake of staying true to the recipe, I tried it. For yogurt sauce it was okay, but I didn’t love it. I’m sure for people who like yogurt sauces with savory dishes that it’s a great match. I still prefer yogurt to be accompanied by sweet things, like granola and fruit. But I did make the effort, and chose to still include the yogurt sauce recipe here as well. But next time I will be doing without it. Besides, the chickpea burger is delicious enough as it is.

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