chickpea spinach burger vegan vegetarian gluten free

Chickpea Spinach Burgers with Tomato Jam and Yogurt ‘Aioli’

Veggie burgers are one of my favorite foods ever – they’re a great way to eat vegetables and grains that you normally would not eat as is (case in point: my millet burgers). We often eat them as a side with salads, zucchini pasta or frittatas; also in a classic burger form with lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, cheese, etc. I experimented a bit last week and tried this chickpea spinach burger. It’s somewhat inspired by the chickpea burger at Ellary’s Greens, a small restaurant in the West Village in New York. They have great excellent vegan and vegetarian options and an avocado chocolate mousse to die for! A must visit if you are in the area.

chickpea-burger-lettuce-tomato-aioli

Since I was making burgers, I decided to do it right – ketchup and mayo are kind of necessary. But my version of ketchup and mayo….

Up until about a year ago, I needed ketchup with eggs, sandwiches, burgers, etc. Now I actively avoid it because it’s basically just concentrated sugar and salt and some other additives. I came up with a recipe that works really well as a chunky tomato jam to go with just about anything.

tomato-jam

As for the mayo, I’ve been meaning to make my own for a while now. I looked up a bunch of recipes and it doesn’t seem difficult but for the pasteurized yolk bit and the time it takes. I will admit that I was lazy that day so I decided to just forego the real mayo and do my own thing. (most kinds of mayo available on the Indian market has tons of preservatives AND hydrogenated oils so avoid them/ read labels before you buy). I have a bottle of potent mustard from Kolkata that works so well in dressings and sauces – so I stirred it into a few spoons full of greek yogurt, added crushed garlic and it was perfect! A fake aioli if I may say so, but so good and healthy too.

Yum! A much, much healthier version of mayo-based aioli.

This is the perfect weekday meal – easy to pack for a lunch at the office or to assemble for dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Chickpea Spinach Burgers with Tomato Jam and Yogurt 'Aioli'
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
For the burgers:
  • 400g chickpeas, cooked
  • ¾ cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper/red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp multigrain breadcrumbs OR 1 egg (to bind the mixture)
  • Salt, to taste
For the tomato jam:
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar or sugar of your choice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the yogurt aioli:
  • 4 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp grainy dijon mustard
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lettuce leaves and multigrain bread, to serve
Instructions
For the burgers:
  1. Blanch spinach and chop finely when cooled.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil until cooked, adding the ground cumin, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper while the onions cook.
  3. Add the spinach and cooked chickpeas, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the flavors all meld together. Remember you can always add more spice and salt later on - these burgers require a fair amount of masala as we say.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and mash all the ingredients together. Allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Add one tsp of breadcrumbs OR one beaten egg - this helps to hold the mixture together. Form patties about 2.5" in diameter and cook on a nonstick pan for 8-10 minutes, flipping in between.
For the tomato jam:
  1. Heat one tsp of olive oil in a pan. Add the sliced garlic and chopped tomatoes; cook on high heat for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes reduce.
  2. Lower the heat and add coconut sugar, salt and the white wine vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes. It should now resemble a chunky tomato sauce. Set aside and allow to cool.
For the aioli:
  1. Stir together four tbsp of greek yogurt, a tsp of grainy mustard and one crushed garlic clove. Add salt to taste.
Notes
Assemble the patties and sauces as you like - I enjoyed one in a lettuce wrap form, topped with the tomato sauce and aioli, and one like a classic burger sandwiched between bread layered with the aioli. The best part is you can eat two (or three, or four!) and not feel guilty and overly sickly full at all.
For a gluten free/paleo option, use an egg to bind the mixture.
For a vegan option, use breadcrumbs to bind the mixture and skip the yogurt aioli/ use dairy-free yogurt.
If greek yogurt isn't readily available in a packaged form near you (i.e. most places in India), you can make your own! Just hang yogurt in a cheesecloth for about an hour.

They take a while to cook, so allow yourself about 10 minutes from when you set them on the pan.

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