I wish the story behind these cajun chickpea burgers came from a place of "wellness", but it is a little more dubious. The other week Adam and I basically pulled an all-nighter, staying up with friends playing records, debating ways to deal with climate change, and even some flamenco dancing, well into the night until it was basically time to get up. If this had occurred ten years ago, I'd now be telling you about how I went to work the next day or took a final in my Sociological Theory class, but it's not. Instead, being the thirty-year-olds we are, we were goners. We spent the next day recoöperating like coffee addicted zombies in our sweats, binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix, and telling ourselves we'll never do that again.
To feed our self-pity, I bravely ventured from the house to pick us up some ingredients for veggie burgers. After spending far too long in the Frozen Food aisle aimlessly looking at the unpronounceable ingredients of pre-made patties, I simply just grabbed a can of chickpeas and headed home.
Cajun chickpea burgers are something we both love and they are perfect for this time of year, with all its outdoor eating and BBQ-ing (and subsequent BBQ hangovers). Based on the 'meaty' cajun chicken burger, this version utilizes canned chickpeas and our favourite veggie, cauliflower. Roasting the cauliflower helps to caramelize the sugars while also reducing the overall water content in the veggie. This helps prevent a soggy patty and the need for adding too much flour to the finished product.
Chickpeas add a boost of protein and a great texture, lending themselves perfectly to whatever flavours you throw at them. The first time we ate these I used a chilli powder my mum had gotten from the Punjabi market, which was much spicier than the regular grocery store variety. So, if you're like me and like a little bit of heat, feel free to use a hotter kind of chilli, or even a little more than the recipe calls for.
- 1/2 Cauliflower, cut into smallish florets (about 3 cups)
- 4 1/2 tsp Oil (plus a little more for cooking the patties)
- Sea Salt
- Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
- 2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
- 1 Can Chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 Batch Cajun Mix (Recipe Below)
- 2 Tbps. Chopped Parsley or Cilantro
- 3 Tbsp. Chickpea Flour
Cajun Spice Mix
- 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Dried Oregano
- 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Lemon Dressing
- 1/2 Cup Yogurt (Plant-based or otherwise)
- Pinch Sea Salt and Pepper
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 Garlic, Grated
- 1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Parsley, or Chive)
- Heat the oven to 205 C (400 F). Cut the cauliflower up and measure about three cups. Toss it with 3 teaspoons of your favourite cooking oil, a big pinch of sea salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring after 20. You want them nice and crispy and delicious.
- Meanwhile, add the chopped onion to a heavy frying pan over medium-low heat, along with 1 1/2 tsp of oil. Sweat until it begins to soften, then add the garlic for a few minutes before removing from the heat. You'll have plenty of time now to slice up avocado, tomatoes, make the Garlic Sauce, Cajun mix, or watch some Netflix.
- Once the cauliflower is cooked, you can begin to make the burgers. In a food processor (or in my case the dry container for a Vitamix), add the Cajun Spice Mix, Chickpeas, cilantro, and onions and garlic and puree until it's about halfway smooth but with a few chunky beans remaining. Scrape down the sides if needed then toss in the cauliflower and pulse a little more. You want it fairly uniform in texture with some chunky cauliflower goodness. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and work in the flour. Let it hang out for a few minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid.
- Divide into four burgers and fry in a little oil (I used the pan from the onions) on both sides until crispy and brown. Once cooked I like to pop my burgers in a 190 C (375) oven (I used the cauliflower roasting tray...see a theme here), for about 10 minutes.
- Serve on toasted buns with garlic sauce if desired, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, avocado, mustard, or whatever your faves are.