Chickpea Burgers and Tahini Sauce

This versatile falafel-flavored chickpea patty is loaded with flavor and one of our all-time favorites. With a few slight changes in spices and sauces, the recipe easily adapts to Middle Eastern, to Indian and even Mexican cuisine! Add a few crunchy elements for texture, such as sunflower seeds or grated carrot, when the mood strikes.

INGREDIENTS:

Patties
1 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 6-1/2-inch whole-wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired

Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini, (see Ingredient note)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt

METHOD:

Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.)

Using a large spoon, divide mixture into roughly four equal portions. With wet hands, gently form each portion of the sticky mixture into a ball, and place on a square of waxed paper or piece of plastic wrap. Gently flatten dough evenly, using the palm of your hand. (Using a square of waxed paper will be a great help when it’s time to move the patties for cooking.) Patties can be refrigerated at this point, if desired.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.

Meanwhile, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

To assemble, divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the uncooked burger mixture and tahini sauce for up to 2 days.

VARIATIONS:

  • Instead of using tahini sauce, make a raita with lowfat plain yogurt, ground cumin, salt, fresh mint, chopped seeded cucumber, and quartered grape tomatoes.
  • Add some curry powder to the mix and serving with Major Grey Chutney.
  • After processing, mix in grated carrot and sunflower seeds for added texture.
  • Add cumin, chile powder, and a minced jalapeno to the mix. Make small patties and serve on warm corn tortillas, with taco toppings (lettuce, tomato, salsa, etc.) and guacamole.

SOURCE: Recipe adapted from EatingWell: August/September 2006, The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook (2006)

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