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Healthy Chickpea Burger

Bye-bye greasy sliders! The riot of spices in this chickpea burger make it good and good for you.

Healthy Chickpea Burger

These chickpea mini-burgers are similar to falafel, a traditional Middle Eastern food made of ground chickpeas.

The Amer­icanized version of falafel is usually more like carnival fare, deep-fried in some unhealthy oil. That’s a shame, because falafel done right is so delicious and nutritious. It’s all in the blend.

Here, the secret ingredient is basmati rice, which holds the chickpea mixture together and creates a complete protein. The heady herbs and spices add zing, plus studies show that turmeric not only reduces inflammation but also helps lower cholesterol.

The whole-wheat bun dresses things up, kind of like putting falafel in a top hat and tails. Gently pan-seared or baked, these little burgers are bountiful bites of health.


2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained, rinsed and mixed with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2½ cups cooked brown basmati rice

3 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely diced

¼ cup loosely packed fresh parsley, minced 


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine chickpeas, salt, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, oil and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides occasionally. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in rice, bell pepper and parsley.

3. Moisten your hands to keep mixture from sticking, then shape mixture into ¼-inch-thick patties about 2½ inches in diameter. Place them on prepared pan and bake for 22 to 25 minutes until patties start to get dry and crisp on the outside. They’ll firm up as they cool.

Variations: For a crispy burger, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook patties for about 3 minutes on each side till golden brown. Want a delicious dip for fresh veggies? The chickpea and spice puree from the food processor makes a delicious hummus.

Makes 17 patties

This recipe is from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz. Published by Ten Speed Press, a registered trademark of Random House, Inc.

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