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Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 8 burgers

Toasty spices and chickpeas give this burger a flavor evocative of falafel. Serve it in or on a pita with some store-bought or homemade tzatziki and a salad of chopped tomato, red onion, parsley, lemon, and olive oil.


  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. (3 cups) baby spinach
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 1/2 cup cracked freekeh
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 200
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 110
  • Fat (g): 13
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 470
  • Carbohydrates (g): 15
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 10


  • Heat 1 tsp. of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a sieve, let cool slightly, and press to remove as much liquid as possible. Chop, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Add the broth and freekeh and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the freekeh is tender and the broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Add the freekeh, chickpeas, panko, parsley, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and zest, cumin, and coriander to the spinach. Mash with a potato masher until the chickpeas are mashed and sticky but still a little chunky. Season totaste with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg. Chill the burger mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  • Portion the burger mixture into 8 balls. With moist hands, form into 3-1/2-inch patties about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add the burgers, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently flip with a thin spatula and cook until browned and heated through, another 3 to 4 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

Wrapped well in plastic, the shaped, uncooked burgers keep in the fridge for a few days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Frozen burgers may be a bit more crumbly in the pan, but they’re still more delicious than the ones from a box. Cook frozen burgers straight from the freezer a little lower and a little longer.


Freekeh, roasted young (green) wheat, is an ancient grain gaining in modern popularity. More supermarkets carry freekeh these days, and it’s mostly sold cracked, which is quicker cooking than whole. You can find it in health food and Middle Eastern markets, too.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • kak59 | 07/23/2017

    These came out pretty well. I made some substitutions based on what was in my pantry (farro instead of freekeh, toasted pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds, fresh bread crumbs instead of panko), but otherwise followed the recipe closely. The burgers held together very well and were pretty flavorful. I served them with tzatziki and chopped kalamata olives, which were good accompaniments. I would make them again, maybe adding more spinach and spices.

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