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Grilled Chickpea Burgers with Creamy Lemon Tahini Sauce

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Serves 6

  • by Pamela Anderson from Fine Cooking
    Issue 111

Forget beef burgers. Chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon come together here in creamy, hearty bean burgers that taste like a cross between hummus and falafel.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 or 5 six-inch pitas
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 Tbs. tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 English cucumber, thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • Harissa (or other hot sauce; optional)

Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire.

Heat the oil, garlic, and cumin in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the garlic is soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside off the heat.

Tear one of the pitas in half and toast in a toaster until golden-brown and crisp. In a food processor, grind the pita into fine crumbs; transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and measure them—you’ll need 1/2 cup. If necessary, toast and grind a second pita.

In the food processor, purée 1 can of the chickpeas with the oil mixture, 2 Tbs. of the tahini, 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the egg, and 3/4 tsp. salt until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and the pita crumbs, parsley, and cilantro; pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped and the mixture is well blended.

Put the remaining 3 Tbs. tahini in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 2 Tbs. water and the remaining 3 Tbs. lemon juice (the tahini will thicken at first and then smooth out).
Shape the chickpea mixture into 6 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick. Brush both sides of each with oil. Grill, covered, until heated through and nicely marked on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Cut the remaining 3 pitas in half and heat briefly on the grill. Layer the burgers in the pitas with the sliced cucumber and tomatoes, drizzle with the tahini sauce and harissa (if using), and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve these delicious burgers with Tabbouleh.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 540; Fat (g): 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): 3; Protein (g): 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 67; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6; Sodium (mg): 660; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 13;

Photo: Scott Phillips

The flavors were not that strong, the sauce was not very good. The burgers are crumbly and maybe on the dry side, so a sauce is a must, but maybe a different one (with yogurt maybe?). With little changes is an ok recipe, and an alternative to traditional burgers.

Love this recipe. I placed some foil on the grill first then cooked the burgers-turned out perfect.

The whole family loved these, even my meat-eating husband! They are quite sticky when forming them so I put them in the refrigerator for a little bit (20-30 min?) before I brushed them with olive oil and put them on the grill. They stuck a tiny bit but not enough that I would change anything. The sauce is excellent and the cucumbers are a must!

These were great! I cooked them in a pan rather than the grill. Were delicious. Will definitely make them again. Next time will try the grill. I think if they aren't too soggy it would work.

These were super-easy, fast to make, light, and tasty. My 6-year-old even gave them two thumbs up! We cooked them in a frying pan, as did the previous reviewer. I found them to be a bit crumbly-- I can't imagine they would hold together on the grill.

We cooked in a pan, not grill I think it would have stuck too much to the grill.

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