Main Course, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Roasted Garlic Chickpea Burgers

0 Comments 30 April 2014

Recipes tend to get measured around here in varying ways, depending on what’s being made. This time, going the vegetarian route, it was a high compliment paid when the hubby went back for seconds with these burgers. Folks, he’s as carnivorous as they come and he raved about them. To friends, too! High praise, indeed.

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I shouldn’t be surprised by now, but there was a problem ingredient in the recipe – the tahini. Problem as in, after searching three area grocery stores for it, we gave up and looked for substitutes instead. Now, tahini is just about as mainstream as you can get in most foreign food aisles, and I’ve seen it plenty enough myself, but when we want it? Big ‘ole Nope. So what if you can’t find tahini? Sis Blogging Partner managed to find a bottle of green goddess salad dressing, which is a tahini-based sauce. It’s also got lots of other great flavors that turned out to be perfect for everything else in these burgers. We used about half the amount of the tahini called for and the burgers weren’t too wet when forming patties.

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This recipe also requires a little extra work, such as roasting garlic and preparing some brown rice ahead of time. Neither are hard to do, just be aware of the added time. In fact, if you have the time, do them the day before and refrigerate till ready to use. For tips on roasting garlic, Google can point you to thousands of posts on oven-roasting methods that are pretty much the same.

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A food processor is also handy to have for this one since the chickpeas and rice especially need to be broken down a little. Don’t puree to the point of becoming a paste, just until about half the chickpeas and rice are broken down into smaller pieces with a little bit of a mashed effect happening. The reason you don’t want to go too all out with the processor is that the mixture would then be way too wet to form into patties and then cook in a skillet.

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And here we have the food processor mixture ready to be incorporated with the rest of the burger ingredients. Still some almost whole pieces in there.

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The rest of the ingredients to be added in are just a little fresh parsley, lemon zest, salt & pepper, an egg for binding and some yummy sauteed onions and celery.

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OK, so they did get a little goopy and wet, but the more you have to handle them, the more so they will get. Work as quickly as possible and plate them before storing in the fridge for a short while to firm up.

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When cooking them in a skillet, just be extra careful when turning them. Ours wanted to come apart, but we were careful to turn them gently and it worked fine for the most part.

Hubby and others were curious if you could grill these, and you definitely could not directly on a grate. If you have a skillet suitable for grill use or a grill pan, you can probably do so, again just being sure to turn them as gently as possible. Do still use the oil.

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I’m really game some days for a true meaty hamburger, juicy and full of savory flavor. But other times I’m not up for the upset stomach that sometimes follows. Veggie burgers are a great way to enjoy a burger-esque meal without a lot of the consequences of their meatier cousins. These were pretty darn good, and as mentioned above, the biggest surprise was when hubby went back for seconds. Serve them up with a little more tahini or the goddess dressing, whatever you use, and the tomatoes and cucumbers suggested are a must. Loved these – hope you do as well!

Roasted Garlic Chickpea Burgers


Prep Time: about 1 hour    Cook Time: about 4-5 minutes per batch    Level: Easy    Makes: 6

For the burgers:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, separated
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 8 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 3 pocket pitas cut in half crosswise, or 6 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Optional toppings:

  • 2 oz. sprouts
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cored and sliced
  • 3 oz feta, crumbled

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, celery and thyme and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve. Wipe skillet clean.

Place chickpeas and rice in a food processor, along with garlic, tahini, and zest. Pulse until chickpeas and rice are chopped, but not yet a paste, about 8 pulses or about 10 seconds. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the onions. Add parsley and egg, season with salt and pepper, and mix well to combine. Divide mixture into six 4 oz. patties, about three inches wide by half an inch thick. Place on a plate and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium high heat and cook burgers in batches of 3, flipping once halfway through until toasted on each side and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining oil and burgers.

Assemble burgers with sprouts, sliced cucumber, tomato and feta between pita pocket halves or buns and enjoy.


On substituting a green goddess dressing for the tahini, in case you can’t get tahini: start with 1/8 cup dressing. If the mixture seems too dry you can add a little more, but our dressing seemed looser than tahini, so we were cautious. Turned out great.

Things to do ahead:

The day before or earlier same day you make them, roast the garlic and make the rice. Cool and store in refrigerator till ready to use. Since these are ingredients that require their own cooking time prior to the burgers, it will save you about 40 or so minutes of time.

The patties are easier to handle while cooking in the skillet if they’re nice and cold. You could make the patties the day before, too (or again, earlier the same day you need them), cover and refrigerate till ready to cook.

Check the original recipe source link above for other good tips on things to do ahead.

I tagged this recipe as gluten-free because the patties themselves are indeed gluten-free, but of course you will want to use a gluten-free bread or pita bread if necessary.

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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