I have no idea how I’m making it happen, but somehow, I’m actually still participating in VeganMoFo.
This has been an overwhelmingly busy week full of high emotions (the good and the bad kind — but mostly the good kind), epiphanies, and one near death experience. The fact that I’m awake right now writing this, let alone cooking and not just eating prepackaged junk is, literally, a miracle. I should be dead. Or asleep. Or just dead asleep. I feel like I’ve been participating in a version of Iron Chef where the challenge is to create something meaningful of high stressful situations and the secret ingredient/challenge is to do it all without sleeping and without falling apart and still staying positive.
And so, of course, when I saw the first VeganMoFo Iron Chef Challenge, I had to take it! There are no rewards in this challenge except the reward of having created something new and delicious and then sharing it with the rest of the world. That’s plenty rewarding if you ask me. Unfortunately for my theme this month, there are no “Autumn” flavors in this recipe, but the other half of my theme — the “New England” part — is fully satisfied. In classic New England fashion, in the midst of a cold season, we had a warm, summer day. And that to me, means burgers and beer for dinner.
The challenge was to create something using chickpeas. I’ve been wanting to make something light and flavorful and reminiscent of a chicken patty, but without the not-so-good breaded/fried/animal element typical of chicken patties. So basically, something not at all like a chicken patty. I mostly just wanted to use the flavors typically used in dishes with poultry. So, I reworked an older recipe for black bean burgers into one that fits the bill a little more, for people who like lighter flavors. New ingredients, new seasonings, and this time, you don’t need a food processor. These are so easy to make, especially after a long day or week, and they are so tasty you’ll have no excuse not to try them sometime!
(makes 4 patties)
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/8 tsp savory
1/8 tsp marjoram
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 2 tbsp water)
Nonstick cooking spray
For assembling the burgers:
4 burger buns, lightly toasted (FYI: Whole Foods’ new brand are vegan)
4 tomato slices + 4 yellow onion slices + lettuce/spring greens/spinach for dressing
Vegenaise or Earth Balance’s Mindful Mayo, or olive oil
Organic ketchup (I like: Organic Heinz — despite the rumors, the “natural flavors” are vegan, Muir Glen, and Organicville are also vegan.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, make the flax egg by whisking the water and ground flax seeds together with a fork. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix the salt and spices. Set aside.
In a non-stick pan on medium high heat, heat the oil for 30 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the pepper and mushrooms, and saute for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the salt and spices and stir for another 2 minutes, until well blended and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine half of the chickpeas, the veggie/spice mixture, carrots, bread crumbs, and flax egg. Mash this mixture with a potato masher. Add the remaining chickpeas and gently mash them into the mix. Don’t worry if don’t mash every single chickpea. You want some to be whole.
Remove about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the mixture to form one patty. Repeat to form remaining three patties. The mixture is sticky, you may need to moisten your hands with water to keep the mix from sticking to your hands while you form the patties.
Lightly spray the same non-stick pan you used to make the veggies with cooking spray and place the patties on it (you may need to work in batches). Cover and cook over medium heat, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Very lightly spray the tops of the patties with cooking spray and then flip them to brown the other side, again, covered for 4 to 5 minutes.
Once the patties are done, place them on a baking sheet covered with foil. Bake for 12 minutes. Assemble burgers and enjoy!