Veggie burgers seem intimidating but are so simple to make. While they are easy to buy at the grocery store, making your own will save you money, won’t be as wimpy as the freezer aisle versions and certainly won’t contain strange preservatives or thickeners. The ingredients you use can easily be swapped around, as long as the finished product has the desired sticky to dry ratio, so the burgers don’t stick on the grill or in the pan but also don’t crumble into pieces. That being said, as long as you have rice, beans and a binder of some sort on hand, you’re ready to make veggie burgers.
What I love most about veggie burgers is that once you get the ratios memorized, you can whip these up at the last minute with basic ingredients. Cut up any veggies you have on hand, and mix with cooked beans, rice, bread crumbs or cornmeal, oil and spices. This recipe is for chickpea and brown rice burgers, but any bean and rice combo will work. Chickpeas, which are also called garbanzo beans, contain a ton of protein and have a mild flavor that lets the flavors of your vegetables shine through. If you have black beans and white rice on hand, don’t fret. The recipe is also easily adaptable to in season veggies–right now radish and carrot are being harvested, but in the winter throw in some leek and parsnip!
I tend to use a blender or food processor to make veggie burgers, but it’s certainly not necessary. Your hands or a potato masher will smash the beans and rice enough to form patties. Once the patties are made, you can freeze them for later–either uncooked or cooked. For uncooked patties, I’ve found they gain a noticeable amount of moisture during the freezing and thawing period and benefit from a little dusting of breadcrumbs or cornmeal before cooking them. If you cook them before you freeze them, then you’ve got a fast meal for a busy or lazy day in the future.
Yields 4 patties
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (gluten free if necessary)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/3 cup finely chopped radish
- 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and finely dice onion, radish and carrot.
- Measure 2 cups of chickpeas and place in a mixing bowl with brown rice, chopped vegetables, bread crumbs and spices. If using a food processor or blender, pulse until all ingredients are evenly distributed. If not, mash and combine the ingredients by hand or with a potato masher.
- Add oil slowly, mixing as you go. Depending on how much moisture was left in your beans, you may not need all 2 tablespoons. The mixture should be slightly sticky but should not clump onto your fingers. If necessary, add extra breadcrumbs at this point to achieve the correct consistency.
- Form mixture into uniform, palm-sized patties. The patties can be frozen at this point.
- Preheat your grill or skillet and cook patties until they are brown on both sides, approximately 3 minutes each side on medium-high for stovetop.
- Place on buns, cut up for salads, or eat by their lonesome!
A special thanks to Brittany J Reid Photography for the photos in this post… except for the last one, because we were too busy eating to get a final shot!