Monday, April 9, 2012

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers

I've always wanted to make homemade veggie burgers.

This is for many reasons. I love them, for starters. But the ones at the store have always seemed too processed, and processed never taste quite as good as homemade. And of course, they can make for a very healthy, complete vegetarian meal. They're great on a whole wheat bun, or simply eaten straight as photographed with a little organic ketchup (one of the best condiments in the world, don't you think?).

These burgers are made with lots of healthful things. The base is quinoa (I love a tri-color blend that I buy at Trader Joe's) and chickpeas, both protein powerhouses. I also use a little yam and egg white as a binder, but if you want to go vegan on these, just eliminate the egg white and turn them a little more carefully. I also throw in sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (healthy fats and protein).

For the veggie part of the burger, I used a mix of sautéed carrot, shallots, and bell pepper and raw spinach, which I chopped in a food processor. Finally, I love adding sesame tahini, lemon juice, and cumin, and hot sauce.

This recipe is fungible. You're welcome to play around with different combinations of beans, whole grains, and vegetables. I know I do. For inspiration, here's a great veggie burger recipe round-up.

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Makes about 6-8 patties
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegetarian (with easy vegan conversion); dairy-free


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, prepared per package instructions
  • 1 14 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 yam, cooked and skin removed (this can be done quickly in the microwave)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • flour for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and cook for a few minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the carrot and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes under just becoming tender. Remove from heat.
  3. In a food processor, chop the veggie mixture. Add the raw spinach. Process a little more until combined. Place the veggie mixture in a mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add the chickpeas and tahini to the processor and pulse until broken down.
  5. Place the chickpeas, veggie mixture, quinoa, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and yam in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, cumin, egg white (optional), and hot sauce (optional). Stir with a spoon until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Using your hands, shape the mixture into individual patties. Dust each one with flour.
  7. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan or cast iron skillet that can transfer to the oven, heat the remaining one tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Place the burgers in the pan and cook until nicely browned (about two minutes). Carefully flip the patties.
  8. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another ten to twelve minutes, until the patties are nicely browned on the bottom and cooked through. 
  9. Remove from the oven and serve with or without buns and ketchup. Enjoy!
Advance Preparation: The patties can be shaped up to 3 days ahead of time and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until you're ready to brown them. They can also be made in advance and then reheated in a low oven or on the stovetop. 


  1. I have never commented before, but have enjoyed many of your great recipes. This one, however, was so amazing I simply had to say thank you! I have attempted & failed many times what I was able to achieve with your recipe here.

    My two year old loved them too!

    This will become a standard in our house hold. One adaptation I made was in the process. Because I made a double batch, I moved the burgers to a cookie sheet in order to bake 12 of them. It worked fine.

    Thanks again!

    1. I so appreciate you writing to let me know!! I love this recipe also and make it all of the time. I'm thrilled that your son loved it, too.

      And baking them sounds like a very smart idea.

      Check back soon—I'm working on a black bean veggie burger recipe now.


  2. I think these taste awesome! But mine are so mushy. Anything I can do to keep them together better?

    1. Thanks for trying them! You could add an egg or just an egg white to help them hold together better if you're having trouble. You can also use more flour to absorb any excess liquid. But the egg is a great bet if you feel you need a binder for them.

      Let me know how it goes!


  3. These taste awesome but mine are so mushy. What can I do to keep them together better?

  4. Hello Jennifer,

    I found your blog, looking for quinoa burgers :-)
    This looks delicious!

    I only had some veggy burgers yesterday actually :-) but with leek & potato & soya flour, which worked nicely, too. Ok, I admit it, I sneaked some salmon in, as well...

    Genius idea to add quinoa.

    One question though: When all the ingredients are combined, what texture should the mixture have? Mine were super sticky despite or because of using 2 eggs?! So I had to add lots of flour. Wondering if that can be avoided somehow. Any ideas? Perhaps quinoa is what is needed in my burgers, hehe.

    P.S. I mentioned your lovely chickpea quinoa burgers in my latest blog post about quinoa :-)

    1. The stickiness may well have been due to the two eggs. You can use breadcrumbs or flour to reduce it. I use one egg white usually if I feel I need a binder. And some stickiness comes with the territory. xx

  5. Could these be frozen? Before or after cooking? My daughter and I like to prepare ahead so meal times are quicker and easier!

    1. Yes, they can be made and frozen ahead of time. Here's how:

      Line a baking sheet (that will fit into your freezer) or plate with wax or parchment paper. Form the veggie burger mixture into patties and place on the baking sheet so they’re not touching. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 60-90 minutes until solid. Place the patties into a large zip-top bag.

      To use, simply defrost the patties on the counter for 30 minutes or in the microwave for minute. Pat dry then pan-fry or grill.

      Since most of the work with veggie burgers is in making the mixture and forming the patties, just make plenty of extra at one time, then freeze up the leftovers. When you’re in need of a quick, no-fuss dinner, just pop a few out of the freezer and you’ll be good to go.

  6. I just made these but lightly fried on two sides. What do you mean by: Place the burgers in the pan and cook until nicely browned (about two minutes). Carefully flip the patties. Do you fry on both sides and then bake them or fry on one side and flip and then put them in the oven. Thanks. They look great. I didn't have any carrots so used two red peppers.