Moroccan Chickpea Burger

Veggie Burger You can have too much of a good thing — like all of this beautiful snow we’ve been digging ourselves out of in the Northeast — but that maxim just doesn’t apply when it comes to my Moroccan Chickpea Burger. With this one, you are allowed to eat all you want and then some more.

I am a huge fan of Moroccan food, both while eating in and dining out. For one, the food is really vegetarian-friendly, which means there’s no need to go looking for too many substitutions and alternatives. For another, it’s extremely delicious with all of those spices and herbs and beans and grains. What’s not to love?

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Chickpea BurgerFor my Moroccan Veggie Burger, I used chickpeas and bulgur as the base for the patty and then built up a ton of flavor using the ingredients in a Harissa paste– a flavoring of oil, garlic, chilies and cumin often added to Moroccan stews. Because I wanted to make the burger patty fat-free I skipped the oil. You can use an oil spray to coat the pan when you cook the patties.

The buns were made with my own, foolproof recipe for Whole Wheat Burger Buns. If you are still buying hamburger buns, please, stop and try these just once. You’ll never want to buy bread again.

I slathered my burger with a vegan mayonnaise, called Nayonnaise, into which I mixed in some Harissa paste for some added zip. You can absolutely leave it out or use another chili flavoring, like the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies.  Your imagination’s the limit. For some green muscle I added baby spinach, but feel free to use mixed greens or lettuce or even baby kale.

This burger patty has a wheat product– bulgur– but you can easily make it gluten-free by using quinoa instead, like I did in these veggie burgers. This recipe is also extremely easy to make and really fast– you can go from start to done in 30 minutes or less– which makes it perfect for weekday and weekend eats.

Is everyone looking forward to the weekend? I know I am because Desi and I are seeing some old and very dear friends after a long time. May yours also be filled with friends, sunshine and fun.


Oh, and I have something to ask of you too– a favor, really. Holy Cow! has been nominated for The Kitchn’s Homies awards in two categories this year– Best Daily Read Cooking Blog and Best Health & Diet Blog. First of all, many, many thanks for nominating me — I love you! And if you, dear reader, enjoy the blog, please, please head on over to the links above and vote for me. You do need to sign up first, but I will love you double for it. If you don’t, no ill feelings. Thank you!

Now here’s the recipe:

Chickpea Burger

Moroccan Veggie Burger
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Nutrition information is for 1 burger patty
  • [b]For the burger patty:[/b]
  • 2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas, drained of all liquid and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup bulgur (cracked wheat).
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour (besan or garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp allspice powder (use a combination of cloves and cinnamon if you don’t have this)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • To build the burger:
  • [url href="" target="_blank" title="Hamburger Buns"]6 whole-wheat burger buns[/url]
  • Tomato, onions, greens to top the burger
  • Vegan mayonnaise, mixed, if you like, with some [url href="" target="_blank" title="Harissa Paste"]Harissa paste [/url]or adobo sauce
  1. Cook the bulgur by placing it in a saucepan with salt to taste and 2/3rd of a cup of water, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, slap on a lid, and let the bulgur cook 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and mash with a heavy ladle or potato masher. Leave some larger pieces in for some texture.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients for making the burger patty, including the bulgur, and mix them well. You should have a mixture that holds together when you press it into a patty.
  4. Make six patties, each about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.
  5. Spray a nonstick griddle or cast-iron skillet with oil. Cook each patty for about 3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat or until charred and golden-brown.
  6. To build your burger, cut each hamburger bun along the middle, and then slather on some vegan mayonnaise. Add greens, an onion ring, top with the burger and more veggies if desired, and serve.
Calories: 191 Fiber: 8.7 grams Protein: 7.5 grams Cholesterol: 0

Vegan Chickpea Burger

A Moroccan Feast: Vegetable Tagine, Black-Eyed Peas Stew and Everyday Bread

I’m late catching the plane to Morocco for this month’s edition of It’s A Vegan World, started right here on Holy Cow! and hosted this month by the gracious Lavi of Home Cook’s Recipes. So I thought I’d make up for it by cooking up a feast.

It is not really a feast but more like every day Moroccan food. Still, it tasted so good to me, I couldn’t call it anything else.

There is a vegetable tagine here with tons of colorfully delicious vegetables. A stew made with one of my favorite beans– the rakish black-eyed peas. And a simple, utterly delicious and fluffy bread that was, honestly, the easiest bread I’ve ever baked (and I’ve baked a few), requiring just one single one-hour rise.

The natural flavors of these wholesome foods are infused and highlighted by the fragrance of herbs and some very simple spices, like cumin, paprika and anise.

All three recipes are loosely based on ones I found in the World Vegetarian which, as I’ve often said before, is one of my favorite cookbooks. Loosely because I changed many ingredients and some of the procedure based on what I had in my pantry and the time I had to cook.

Since I’m posting three recipes here, I’ll keep the chatter short. But this I’ll say– it was one of the most flavorful meals I’ve ever had.

Thanks, Lavi, for highlighting a country with a cusine so rich and wonderful. Enjoy, everyone!

Moroccan bread

Mix in a large bowl:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

Let stand for the yeast to start “flowering” and bubbling, about five minutes.

Now add to the bowl:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I always use unbleached)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp anise seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

Mix by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer set to low, trickling in warm water (about 1 cup) until combined.

On low speed, or by hand, knead the dough for another 8 minutes, until it is soft and smooth.

Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it lightly and sprinkling some corn meal on it.

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased surface (I did this on my kitchen platform)

Pat out the dough to a disc about 1/2-inch thick.

Pick up carefully with both hands and transfer to the baking sheet.

With a very sharp knife, score a star or sunburst pattern in the center of the loaf.

Cover the loaf with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in height, around 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Now pierce the loaf on both sides with a fork, and place in the hot oven.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until the top has browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

Vegetable Tagine

Slice thinly into rings or discs:

2 red bell peppers (capsicum), seeded

2 medium potatoes, sliced

4 carrots, peeled

1 zucchini

Set aside and prepare:

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and green and white parts chopped

You will also need:

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp black pepper, ground

Salt to taste

1/4 cup coriander or cilantro leaves, minced

2-3 sage leaves, minced

7-8 shoots of garlic greens (optional)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

(A tagine, an unglazed clay pot, is typically used to make this dish, but I just used a cast-iron pan with an oven-safe lid. Be careful lifting it in and out of an oven because it tends to be heavy.)

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, layer the vegetables in the following order, sprinkling equal portions of the cumin powder, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic, and the herbs over each layer:

Zucchini and carrots


Spring Onions


Red Peppers

Once you have sprinkled all the remaining herbs, spices and salt over the red peppers, mix together the olive oil and water.

Pour evenly over the vegetables.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid or with tin foil.

Place in a 350-degree preheated oven. Bake 60-70 minutes. In the last 20 minutes of baking, use a bulb baster or a spoon to scoop up liquid from the bottom of the pan and pour it over the veggies.

Serve hot.

Black-eyed Peas Stew

1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked and cooked until tender.

1 hot red dried chili

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

3 bay leaves

1 fresh sage leaf, chopped

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp garlic paste, or finely minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves)

Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet

Add the chili, and when it turns a few shades darker, in a few seconds, add the garlic and stir for a minute.

Now add the black-eyed peas with any cooking water that’s left, all herbs, and salt.

Add water if needed, so the stew is fluid and not too thick.

Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Specks of oil will rise to the top of the stew.

Check for salt and turn off heat.

Serve hot with the bread and vegetable tagine.

For another great Moroccan stew, try out Holy Cow’s Chickpea Stew.

Michael Jackson’s dead, and the world is devoid of music, at least for a day.

Michael was one of my first connections with my adopted country, America, when I was a little girl growing up in Bombay. I would listen to his music all the time, any time, even when I sometimes couldn’t discern the lyrics sung in his quicksilver voice.

Later, it was a dream come true when I was among the reporters at the Telegraph assigned to cover the Michael Jackson visit and concert in Bombay in the mid-90s. While I hated covering celebrity stories, this was a huge exception.

My colleague Anita and I spent hours waiting to catch a glimpse of him in the lobby of the Oberoi Hotel when he arrived. With us in the crowded lobby — so crowded you could barely move an elbow– were thousands of guests from around the world, each one eager as a child. When we did see Michael, stepping out of the elevator, a shout of excitement went up in the lobby such as I’ve never heard before or since.

When his car was en route from the airport to the hotel, people lined the streets. People of all ages, people you’d think wouldn’t be interested in his music, so far from America. At one point, he got out of his car and danced with the slum kids of Bombay whose plight finally resonated in Hollywood last year with Slumdog Millionaire. It was a thrill not just for the kids, shouting “Michael, Michael,” but for every resident in the city.

At the concert, people passed out, which is apparently something that happened all the time at Michael Jackson concerts. A young woman who was plucked from the audience and called on stage became a tiny celebrity herself for days afterward, with every newspaper clamoring to interview her.

Years later, I saw Michael sing again, this time in DC, as part of the United We Stand concert to remember the September 11 victims. Many other musical stars had sung at the concert that evening, but no one else commanded the applause, awe and attention that Michael Jackson did.

What a loss this is for the whole world. We’ll always remember you, Michael.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Berber Pizza

A vegan pizza recipe for the Moroccan Berber Pizza
I found the recipe for this Berber Pizza in a book evocatively titled “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis of the much-lauded Berkeley, Calif. restaurant Chez Panisse.

Although many of the recipes in here call for the addition of meat, I was pleasantly surprised to find one that sounded delicious and was really easy to veganize. The original recipe had some butter– I just substituted with olive oil for healthier and, dare I say, equally tasty results.

This past week, I had an old friend and her family, including her charming two-year-old son, visit for dinner. I made this pizza, among other things, and the vote was unanimous– we all loved it.

The Berber Pizza, which is from North Africa, is a covered pizza and the filling is so simple yet so delicious, it’s almost mindblowing. Don’t let the word “pizza” mislead you– this is not your average takeout-style pizza. Instead it’s elegant and unusual and what’s best, it couldn’t be easier to make. All you need are some onions and some everyday spices, and some flour.

Enjoy the recipe, everyone, and have a great week!
A covered North African pizza stuffed with onions and spices
Berber Pizza

(Adapted from “A Platter Of Figs”)


For the dough:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I didn’t try substituting with whole wheat even partially because I wanted to keep the crispiness of the crust)

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

For the filling:

4 medium onions, sliced thinly

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and powdered

1 tsp red chilli powder, like cayenne

2 tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro

To make the dough, mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Set aside until the mixture becomes foamy, about 10-15 minutes.

Now add four more cups of flour, salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1 cup of warm water.

Knead into a soft but smooth dough. Add more flour if necessary.

Cover and allow the dough to rest for at least 2 hours or even overnight, in a refrigerator.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Now add the onions and stir quickly over high heat until lightly browned but still crunchy. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powders and black pepper as well as salt to taste.

Stir in the coriander leaves and set aside to cool.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into six equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Set the dough balls aside to rest for 10 minutes, covered.

Roll out two of the dough balls into 8-inch discs, using a little flour if necessary.

On one disk, spread out a third of the onion mixture evenly.

Moisten the edges of the second disc by brushing on a smidgen of water, then press down on top of the other disc with the filling. Press the edges together to seal.

Roll out the pizza into a 12-inch round. Make two more pizzas the same way using the remaining dough balls.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pizza on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake each pizza in the oven, one or two at a time, for 22-23 minutes or until lighty golden and crisp.

Brush the top with olive oil as soon as it comes out of the oven. I also brushed a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp dijon mustard + 1 tsp garlic powder on one, and the added flavor was delicious.

Cut into wedges, and enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Moroccan food is among my favorites when we eat out. For one, it is never hard to find vegan dishes in Moroccan restaurants because the cuisine of that region is rich in vegetables and grains and legumes and spices. Then there are the candles, the belly dancing, and all those other fun trimmings. What’s not to love?

But if you are willing to forego the extras, it can be quite easy to whip up a divine Moroccan dinner right in your own kitchen. Better, you can make it really healthy.

This Moroccan Chickpea Stew that I’m serving up today is just such a fragrant concoction, and I’ll bet you will want to eat every last drop of it right at one sitting.

I love chickpeas– they’re quite possibly my most adored legume– and I sometimes really, really crave them. As I was this weekend, when I decided to make this stew. I use a number of veggies in this stew, so it makes for a complete meal with some couscous, bulgur, rice or even some polenta, which is what I served it with.

The chilli paste I stir into the stew at the tail end is called Harissa, and it is a traditional North African paste that is just bursting with flavor. Don’t skip it, because it really makes a huge difference.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Moroccan
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for a few hours or overnight, then cooked until tender in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 red bliss or yellow potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved, or about 5 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp coriander + 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground into a powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp thyme, remove leaves from stems and run a knife through them.
  • For the Harissa paste
  • 15 red chilies, soaked for about 2 hours and then drained
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds + 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted, then powdered in a spice grinder.
  1. Make the Harissa paste by putting all of the Harissa ingredients in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. You can freeze the remaining paste in an air-tight jar.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onions.
  3. Fry until the edges are browned. Add the ginger and garlic and saute another minute.
  4. Add the chickpeas and about 2 cups of liquid. Add tomatoes, coriander-cumin powder, potatoes, turmeric and salt to taste.
  5. Cover and cook about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the thyme, carrots, zucchini and green peppers. Cook another 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  7. Check salt. Stir in 2 tbsp of the Harissa paste (recipe follows).
  8. Serve hot.


Here’s Freddie out for a leisurely morning walk. He loves to walk really, really slow, taking his time to sniff every calling card he finds along the way. Strange, those dogs.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.