Recipe: Quinoa and chickpea burgers (vegan, gluten free)

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Our Sunday dinner
 
I love quinoa, but Mr. C&V is not a fan. Actually, he has been known to say that he hates it, and even to dismiss it as “garbage”. I made a small batch of these burgers back in June to serve at a dinner party. Imagine my surprise to come home from pre-party activities and find a few pieces of browned quinoa in our skillet. Mr. C&V had cooked himself a burger for lunch–and enjoyed it! He even ate a second burger at dinner the same day. With that ringing endorsement, I decided it was time to size up the recipe and add chickpea and quinoa burgers into our batch cooking rotation. In fact, I was so excited about the prospect of re-quinoaising my diet that I purchased a 4-lb bag of the stuff. We’ll be making these again.

 
We like to do some kind of burger as part of our batch cook days because they require no cooking at the time of preparation. Instead, we form the mix into patties and freeze them, then retrieve a few at a time to cook as needed. I found that this burger also tastes good cold, so on the nights we have these burgers, I will cook an extra one and then crumble it over a green salad for an easy packed lunch the next day.
 
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Most home-made vegetarian burgers rely on egg as a binder, but I found that finely processing some of the chickpeas in the food processor helped things to bind well also. Frankly, unless the recipe really loads up on eggs, I find their binding properties are a little overblown anyway. The quinoa helps to keep the burgers from feeling too dense and dry. For those of you unfamilar with quinoa, it’s also a nutritional powerhouse, 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein, 5 g of fiber, and almost 3 mg of iron, among other things. And it’s a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
 
Chickpea and Quinoa Burgers
 
Ingredients (makes 16-20 patties)
6 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 bunches parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste (I started with 1 tsp, then added a few more dashes as I was preparing the mix)
1/4 c water or vegetable stock
1 c. pine nuts (optional)
3 c. cooked quinoa (for some extra flavor, try cooking in vegetable stock instead of water)
 
Method
1. Combine 2 c. chickpeas, water, and parsley in a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, pause to scraped down sides of the processor, and then continue to blend until mixture resembles a thick paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
 
2. Place remaining 4 c chickpeas, cumin, paprika, and salt in food processor. Blend for 10-15 seconds, add pine nuts (if using), and blend for another 5-10 seconds. The mix should still be a little chunky. Transfer to the same mixing bowl as the chickpea-parsley paste from step 1, and stir until the two sets of chickpeas are well combined. Add quinoa, again stirring to combine thoroughly. Add additional salt, if needed.
 
3. Add quinoa, again stirring to combine thoroughly. Add additional salt, if needed. At this point, you should be able to form the mix into patties and have them hold together. If the mix is too dry, add more water or vegetable stock, 2 tbsp at a time.
 
4. Using your hands, form the burgers into patties. If freezing, place in a freezer-safe container and separate using parchment paper:
 
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5. To cook, heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is heated, place 2-4 patties in pan. Cook for ~8 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Note that these burgers can fall apart a bit when you flip them over, I recommend using a turner with a large surface and exercising a little care to minimize burger collapse. If you are starting with frozen patties, cover the skillet for the first 8 minutes of cooking to trap heat and facilitate thawing.

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