Veggie Burger #6: Easy Garbanzo Bean Burgers – Victory!!

I have cracked it!  My previous veggie burger was delicious, but too much work.  I wanted easygarbanzobeanburgersan easier version that featured inexpensive ingredients you are likely to have in your kitchen. These got rave reviews, and took about 30 minutes prep, plus an hour to chill. If you have a food processor to chop the veggies, they would be even faster.  I used the simplest methods I could – this is a good recipe for beginners.   They freeze very well, so make a big batch and stock your freezer for a quick meal.  These would also be fine on a grill, so are a good option for the sad vegetarian at the barbecue who would like something besides the inevitable potato salad.

I still want to try more burgers, especially trying out more mushroom and nut bases, but I am proud of this one.

Easy Garbanzo Bean Burgers

Makes 18 medium burgers.  30 minutes prep, 1 hour to chill, 10 minutes to cook.

  • 1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans and 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs (or 3 pieces whole wheat bread, preferably the old dried out pieces)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, about 1 cup mashed ( white potatoes are also okay, but the sweet potato holds it together better and gives more flavor)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 bell pepper (any color;  I like the red for the pretty red flecks it gives the burgers)
  • 4 Tablespoons canola or olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt,
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (you could substitute white vinegar)
  • 1/2 chopped cilantro or italian parsley.
  • optional:  1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped walnutes
  • optional:  1/2 cup frozen peas or corn

If you don’t have breadcrumbs , toast 3 slices of bread, then toss them into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until pretty fine, but not  as fine as flour.  Set aside.

Wash the sweet potato, nuke it in the microwave until soft, about 3 minutes.  Set aside, let cool.

Empty the can of garbanzo beans into the blender or food processor, including the liquid from the can.  Puree until soft.  Peel the sweet potato, toss it in, blend until mixed.

Grate the carrot, and finely chop the garlic, onion, bell pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, then add the vegetables, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 2 minutes.

Pour the bean and potato puree into the vegetables, and cook for about two minutes on medium heat, stirring.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the bean mixture, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, chopped cilantro or parsley, soy sauce, vinegar.  Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and vinegar if needed.

Optional (but delicious!): Stir in 1/2 cup chopped nuts or sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup frozen peas or corn.

Cover mix and chill for 1 hour.

Put 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or plate.  Shape the mix into 18 patties, in a hamburgery shape. The mix  should be easy to work, but if is too sticky to shape easily, stir in extra breadcrumbs. If you are planning to freeze them, make the patties pretty flat – they’ll cook faster that way.  Dip both sides into the breadcrumbs, so they are nicely coated.

Heat up your frying pan again, and add about 2 Tablespoons of oil – enough to generously cover the surface of the pan.  Cook the patties over medium high heat about 2 minutes for each side, or until you have a beautiful golden brown crust.  Remove from heat onto a paper towel to absorb extra oil.

Eat right away.  I like them in a pita pocket with lettuce and tomato, and a little salsa verde.  If you have extra uncooked patties, wrap them individually and freeze.  They make a great quick meal.  If you are frying the frozen patties, do so at a slightly lower temperature and give them a longer cook time.





Swiss Chard with chick peas and coconut milk

I bought a beautiful bunch of swiss chard at the farmers market (see previous post), and realized I didn’t know how to cook it.  I associate it with bitter well-cooked greens that my grandfather used to try to make me eat.  I came up with this simple dish that changed my attitude.  It’s so simple I almost didn’t bother to write it down, but everyone who ate it agreed it deserves a recipe.  I served it over polenta – delicious, fast and easy.

Swiss Chard with garbanzo beans and coconut milk

The coconut milk smooths out the slightly bitter flavor of the swiss chard., but doesn’t drown it out.  You can substitute spinach or other greens for the swiss chard.  If you use spinach, reduce the cooking time.  Try serving it with polenta – you can cook the polenta in the time it takes to prepare this dish.

1 large bunch swiss chard
1 onion chopped
1 can, 8 oz garbanzo beans or 1 1/2 cups, cooked
1 can, 8 oz coconut milk
1 Tbs thai chili paste
1 Tbs canola oil (or other low saturated fat oil)

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan or wok.

2. Add the chopped onions, cook until clear and soft, about 3 -5 minutes.

3. Add the chili paste and garbanzo beans, cook briefly on medium heat, stirring constantly.

4. Rinse the swiss chard thoroughly, remove coarse stems, then chop into bite sized chunks.

5. Add the chard to the pan, cook stirring frequently, until the chard is bright green and tender enough to easily chew, about 3 minutes.

6. Reduce heat to medium low, add the coconut milk.  Cook stirring constantly until it is heated and the flavors have a chance to meld, about two minutes.

Servings: 6

Total Time: 15 minutes

Author: Janet Gastil
Source: Gastil Family Cooking Class

Awful Falafel (and delicious hummous) – Class 3

  • Falafel    B-  (A- for the cooks, D+ for the cookbook)
  • Falafel sandwich

It wasn’t really awful.  Just deeply flawed.  We decided to go middle eastern, with falafel and hummous.  I started going through my cookbooks and was surprised to find the only one with  falafel was good old Joy of Cooking.  David and I were both doubtful (Joy doesn’t exactly specialize in middle eastern cuisine) but gave it a shot.

David was too busy and I’m much too impatient to follow the standard garbanzo bean cooking method- soaking overnight, and a few hours simmering on the stove. We used my tried and true technique – six hours in a slow cooker with plenty of water.  This always works, giving perfectly cooked, unburnt garbanzo beans.

Once the beans were done, we revisited the recipe and realized that half of the instructions were missing.  A key paragraph was missing, which resulted in a recipe that told us to take uncooked beans, mix them with tahini, and deep fat fry them.  Abandoned to our own devices, we mashed the beans with tahini and other ingredients in the recipe, and proudly made a bunch of little patties.

They were suspiciously sticky, but we forged on and heated up a couple of inches of oil in our cast iron frying pan.  Most of the patties rapidly disintegrated as soon as we placed them in the oil.

Disintegrated falafel

Falafel that survived the frying trauma

We managed to keep enough in pieces large enough to make falafel sandwiches for five people.

It was delicious.  Actually, the scraps weren’t bad either!  We ate them like pretzels.

Hummous    A-

Still life with hummous

There are lots of great hummous recipes out there.  It’s so simple to make, I don’t know why I’m always buying those overpriced little containers at the grocery store.  You basically just mash the garbanzo beans up with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Toss in a little parsley if you want to be fancy.  It’s delicious.  We only got an A- because we had trouble getting it completely smooth – a food processor would do the trick, but since all we had was a potato masher, it was a little lumpy.  However, our hummous consumers said they like it that way.