After years of experimenting, I’ve finally found the perfect mix of ingredients for a home-made veggie burger that is easy to make, tastes delicious, and doesn’t fall apart; a burger that both your meat-loving and vegetarian friends can enjoy.

I’ve tried countless recipes, but none of them gave me the burger I wanted. Most of my patties fell apart on the pan, or – on the off chance they survived the short journey to my plate – they disintegrated the second my teeth went near them. Many of them were either too wet or too dry. None of them had the texture I was after. And while I believe in celebrating plants rather than using them as a stand-in for something else, the time-honoured burger is one of those rare meals that defies tampering. A grilled mushroom isn’t fooling anyone.

A special combination of ingredients

But here we have a recipe that really celebrates the simplicity and wonder of plant-based food without trying to be something it’s not (here’s looking at you, wheat gluten). Just look at that vibrant green and those chunky golden chickpeas sprinkled throughout. You’re going to love this vegan burger. It’s moist and full of flavour, has a great bite and –most importantly – it does not fall apart during cooking and eating. It celebrates veggies and pulses. No egg, flax, chia or other binders necessary. It does everything a meat patty does but with more pizzazz.

Actually, it takes cues from the good old falafel, which uses chickpeas that are soaked overnight and not pre-cooked. In some ways those uncooked chickpeas are the secret to this recipe – they have a magical ability to add bite without being crunchy. Chickpeas are hands down the one pantry staple I can’t go without. They are absurdly versatile and they cross cultural borders in a way that polyglots can only dream about.

To those chickpeas we add black and navy beans. Together these add some moisture, deepen the flavour of the patty, add protein and – in a bit of serendipity – they are remiscent of nicely charred patty. Oats – which form a thick gel when heated above 40 degrees – help to bind the patty. And the whole mixture is rounded out with fresh parsley and seasonings. A sprinkle of baking soda also adds some alkalinity, which in turn helps the chickpeas gelatanise faster for the short time they’re in the pan.

The process

We blitz it all up in a food processor, until it’s just come together into a coarse meal. About 10 seconds. We don’t want to push it too far and end up with a slop. Aim for breadcrumbs instead. It’s all of those different textures that make the patty a delight to eat.

Once the mixture hits the frypan, you’ll get a hint of why it’s so special. We spoon it into egg rings to make perfect rounds, and to compress the mixture into a cohesive whole. If you do that, you can push it around and flip it and it’ll still hold together. No warnings about handling with care necessary. This patty can take some force. Just fry it for a few minutes on each side and you’re done.

I like to serve it in a sourdough brioche bun with home-made vegan mayo (click here for our easy and creamy recipe), thickly-sliced tomato, baby gem lettuce, and red onion. Chips. A cold drink. But it’s such a versatile recipe that you can have it between two slices of bread, or in a pita for a nod to its middle-eastern heritage.

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The easy veggie burger that doesn't fall apart

Serves 4 Makes 8 patties Prep Time: 6 hours 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  1. 6 hours 30 minutes
    • Cast iron pan
    • Egg rings
    • 0.5 cup dry chickpeas (not canned)
    • 0.25 cup cooked black beans
    • 0.25 cup cooked navy beans
    • 1 small onion finely diced
    • 1 bunch parsley
    • 2 cloves finely crushed garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 0.5 teaspoon pepper
    • 0.5 teaspoon salt
    • 0.5 teaspoon cumin
    • 0.5 cup oats
    • 0.25 teaspoon baking soda
    1. 6 hours
      Soak chickpeas Soak the chickpeas until they have swollen and softened a little. Allow about 6 hours for this.
    2. 5 minutes
      Add to food processor Add all of the ingredients to a food processor.
    3. 5 minutes
      Process mixture Run the food processor for about 10 seconds or until the texture of the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
    4. 5 minutes
      Heat pan Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat.
    5. 2 minutes
      Grease pan and rings Arrange the egg rings on your pan. Grease the pan and the rings well.
    6. 2 minutes
      Add mixture to pan Dispense about a third of a cup of the mixture into each of the rings.
    7. 6 minutes
      Fry Fry for about 3 minutes on each side.
    8. 5 minutes
      Serve burger Serve the burger with a brioche bun, faba-ulous mayo, onion rings, tomato, lettuce and tomato sauce.

Comments

  1. Hi I’m really looking forward to making these. I have some issues fully digesting beans so I wanted to ask, have you tried this recipe using cooked chickpeas instead of just soaked? Would that affect the burger falling apart?

    1. Hi Louise, glad to hear it and please do let me know if you give them a go! I haven’t made this particular recipe with cooked chickpeas, but I’ve used cooked chickpeas in lots of other burgers. Short answer: you’ll still end up with a delicious burger, but cooking the chickpeas will take away some of the strength that makes these hold together so well. If you find them a bit fragile, you can increase the amount of oats or add some flax meal. If you do adjust the recipe, just be sure to keep the moisture in check — it’s easy to end up with a sloppy mess!

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