Winter’s perhaps not the most intuitive time for a burger, unless, of course, it happens to be a vegan burger. And when it’s a hearty, juicy one like my Vegan Chickpea Quinoa Burger served over a whole wheat bun on a bed of sauteed greens, well, you’re talking comfort food that will put a spring in your step on the coldest, darkest of days.
So here’s the big secret about this sunny winterburger: it’s made almost entirely out of pantry stuff. Yep. So hate me, but don’t pretend that the thought of not having to put on that coat and that scarf and that hat and those gloves and then trudge down to the grocery store while the wind chill tries to eat up your fingers does not thrill you. Because it does.
The chickpeas used here came from a can (yep, that big one from Costco that lasts forever, oh joy), the quinoa is a pantry staple hereabouts, and the greens came from the freezer. The rest of it– herbs and such– came out of little jars from the herb and spice rack. In the end, when all of these ingredients came together to make the burger, they made a little bit of magic.
Of course, if you’re a stickler for cooking your own beans (and I am, most of the time), feel free to do so, and good for you! You also have to cook the quinoa, of course, and saute the greens, but that hardly takes any time at all. Even if you’re someone who takes forever to do the smallest kitchen thing, this Vegan Chickpea Quinoa Burger, I promise, will come together in minutes.
Then all you have to do is eat it.
- 3 cups cooked (or canned) chickpeas. If using canned, drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly under running water
- ⅓ cup dry quinoa, washed and drained
- 1 16-oz package of chopped, frozen spinach
- 1 tsp extra virgin oil to saute the spinach
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne (use less for less heat)
- ¼ cup chickpea flour (besan)
- 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Cook the quinoa by toasting it in a hot pan. When the grains separate, add ⅔rds of a cup of water. Bring to a boil, slap on a tight-fitting lid, and let the quinoa cook over a low flame for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand, covered, for at least another 10 minutes.
- Heat the oil and add the spinach, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the spinach thaws, then cover with a lid and let the spinach cook to perfect tenderness over a low flame. This should take no more than five minutes. Turn off the heat.
- In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas. You want some large-ish pieces in there for texture, but nothing so big that the patty won't hold.
- Add the cooked quinoa, chickpea flour, ½ cup of the cooked spinach, paprika, cayenne, Italian seasoning and garlic. Add salt to taste.
- Divide the mixture into eight, and pat each portion into a round, flat patty. You can make yours smaller or larger, if you wish.
- Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet. Spray with some oil and, when hot, place the burger patties on it, at least an inch apart.
- Cook for a few minutes until the underside is golden brown, then flip over and continue cooking the other side.
- Serve on my Whole Wheat Burger Bun with some onion, vegan mayo, tomatoes (if you have 'em) and on a bed of some of the reserved sauteed spinach.