Spinach-Chickpea Burgers

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This is one of my favorite veggie burgers. It has everything I want: hearty chickpeas, fortifying spinach, a hint of nutty toasted cumin seeds, and final finish of fresh lemon. It's also very easy! As with most burgers in this book, be sure to reserve a portion of the beans and mash them by hand, rather than blitzing all of them in the food processor, as this gives the burger texture. I like to serve them accompanied by traditional burger fixings: lettuce, tomato, and mustard.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 eggs
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour (see note) or more if needed
Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the cumin seeds and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the spinach is completely wilted, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof plate and allow to cool until safe to handle. Drain if necessary, wrap in a towel, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely.

3. Combine 1 1/4 cups of the chickpeas, the eggs, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles a chunky hummus.

4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the remaining 1/4 cup beans and mash coarsely with a potato masher. Add the bean-egg mixture and stir thoroughly. Fold in the chickpea flour. The mixture should be sticky but somewhat pliable. Add more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, if too wet, or a bit of water if too dry. Shape into 5 patties.

5. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.

Note: While it's easy to make your own chickpea flour by grinding dried chickpeas in a spice grinder or blender, it can now be found at most grocery stores — but at a hefty price. It's a standard ingredient in Indian cuisines, used to make a breading batter for pakoras and in some flatbreads, and can thus be found readily and less expensively at Indian groceries, where it is sometimes called gram flour.
Cook time: 
Yield: 
Makes five 4-inch burgers
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