These chickpea burgers are a hugely satisfying plant-based dinner! Here they’re painted with BBQ and served topped with vegan bacon and spicy mayo.
Eating plant based food doesn’t mean giving up the burger! Veggie burgers can be seriously satisfying, and that doesn’t mean processed meat substitutes. These vegan chickpea burgers full of whole foods can be your new go-to! They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with a hint of nuance from smoked paprika. Painted with BBQ sauce and served with shiitake bacon and spicy mayo, they’re pretty darn tasty (if we do say so ourselves). Ready to get cooking?
What’s in these chickpea burgers?
True story: Alex and I tried a vegan burger from one of those popular plant-based meat companies that’s in the news these days. It tasted good, but we both ended up with a stomach ache afterwards. Something about them did a number on us (maybe because we don’t yet understand the effects of this processed food). So it’s back to homemade veggie burgers over here! Not only are these burgers tasty, they’re filled with healthy whole foods.
Here’s what’s in these vegan chickpea burgers (nothing weird, promise!):
- Mashed chickpeas: you’ll use a potato masher or fork to mash them by hand
- Onion, carrot and red onion: grate these down so they integrate well; you can use a hand grater, food processor or high-speed blender
- A little flour: It’s needed to hold these babies together (trust us!). You can use gluten-free flour if you need to, or all-purpose or whole wheat.
- Tahini: this sesame paste holds it all together! (What’s tahini?)
- Cumin and smoked paprika. Big flavor comes from cumin, and a back-end smoky nuance from smoked paprika.
- BBQ sauce, for painting (optional). Use your favorite store-bought version, or our homemade BBQ sauce. (Check the label to find an organic version without high fructose corn syrup.)
They’re pan fried, then baked.
These chickpea burgers are lightly pan-fried to get a crispy crust, then baked to cook them through. Why the two steps? When we tried them baked only, the texture wasn’t quite what we wanted. Pan frying adds a nice crispness to the outside of the burger without it getting too dried out in the oven.
When you make your chickpea burgers, shape them so they’re about 3-inches in diameter and about 3/4-inch thick. This will help them to stay together when pan frying and get an even golden brown. We had a 3-inch round biscuit cutter that we used to shape them this size.
Serve with shiitake bacon for extra wow.
It’s totally optional, but you’ve got some time while the chickpea burgers are on the oven. Why not whip up a unique topping? This shiitake bacon is just that: vegan bacon made out of shiitake mushrooms. It sounds a little odd, but once you taste the salty, smoky flavor, you’ll understand! Since Alex and I first made it as a loaded potato soup topping, I’d been dying to try it on a burger. It’s absolutely worth it! It’s only 5 ingredients, and it’s not hard to do while the burger bake.
Creamy sauce makes chickpea burgers shine! (Or any veggie burger.)
These chickpea burgers are made perfect with a creamy sauce. Because veggie burgers don’t have the same natural fat like beef burgers, they can taste dry. You really need to add a creamy sauce to get the right textures on a bun. Here we’ve used Spicy Mayo, which also adds richness making for an overall enhanced experience! Here are a few more creamy sauce toppings you could try:
- Special Burger Sauce This is all your favorite condiments in one: tangy, savory, and irresistible.
- Yum Yum Sauce This savory sweet drizzle is incredibly tasty, made with mayo, ketchup and spices. (Yum!)
- Easy Russian Dressing Basically = Big Mac Sauce. This tangy mayo-based sauce is out of this world good.
- Guacamole We love using guac as a creamy, savory sauce to top a vegan burger! (Like in our Grillable Veggie Burger.)
Make ahead and reheating instructions
These vegan chickpea burgers save well, making them great for making ahead! You could meal prep them on a weekend and then refrigerate them for eating throughout the week. Here’s what we’d recommend:
- Store in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days. When you reheat them, place them in a 375 oven and reheat until heated through (about 10 minutes or so).
- Freeze for 1 to 2 months. These burgers freeze well, so pack them in a sealed container and store for a few months. You can also make a double recipe if you know you’d like leftovers and do the freezing option. Let them thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat as per above.
Ways to serve chickpea burgers
You don’t have to serve these burgers with BBQ sauce, of course! There are lots of great topping suggestions: here are a few ways we thought of:
- Mediterranean style. If you eat some dairy, top with Tzatziki, red onion and feta.
- Mexican style. Top with Guacamole and Spicy Chipotle Sauce. Oh and Pickled Jalapenos for more heat.
- Ranch style. Add Pickled Radishes, lettuce, and slather the bun with Healthy Ranch or Vegan Ranch.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.Print
These chickpea burgers are a hugely satisfying plant-based dinner! Crispy on the outside, they’re painted with BBQ and topped with vegan bacon and spicy mayo.
For the chickpea burgers*
- 15-ounce can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 large carrot
- ½ red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup all purpose, whole wheat or gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Use a potato masher or fork to mash them in a bowl until they’re mostly mashed with some chunks. Use a large size grater to grate the onion and carrot, then finely grate the garlic OR place them all in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add them to the bowl with the chickpeas. Stir in the tahini, flour and spices. Mix with a spoon and then your fingers until a sticky dough forms. Form 4 round patties and place them on a cutting board, about 3 inches wide by about 3/4 inch thick (we had a 3-inch circle biscuit cutter, which you could use if you have one).
- In a medium frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Carefully add the patties to the pan. If you have one, top with a splatter screen. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown on one side. Flip and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown, turning down the heat as necessary.
- Transfer the patties to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and baked through.
- Remove the patties from the oven and let them cool for at least 15 minutes to firm up. Paint liberally with BBQ sauce. Top with toppings (make sure to have a creamy rich topping like the Spicy Mayo to enhance the flavors and textures. The burgers save well in the refrigerator, so they’re great to make ahead and eat throughout the week. They also freeze well!
If you’d like more servings, double the ingredients and pan fry in batches, then bake 8 burgers on the same tray. The burgers stay well refrigerated or frozen (see Step 6).
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Chickpea Burgers, Vegan Burger, Vegan Chickpea Burger, Veggie Burger, Veggie Burger Recipe
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.