Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers

Behold…the magic, the mystery, the complete and absolute marvelousness! I have been scouring the earth (and by earth I mean online recipe database…) far and wide for literally a year and a half for an easy veggie burger recipe that doesn’t make your tastebuds shrivel in repugnance.

I have tried an endless amount of different combinations; quinoa and black bean, white bean and spinach, a variety of expensive nuts…and not one…ONE, I tell you, has tasted like anything but spiced up snippets of cardboard.  I wasn’t too hopeful about taking yet another stab at the whole vegan burger brigade, but I am beyond thrilled that I did.

 Chickpeas and lentils form the base, while a mix of seasonings like cumin and chili pepper give them their Indian-spice feel. They are a tiny bit spicy, so if you are a wimp not into heat, take out some of the chili peppers and jalapeños.  Also duly noted, these vegan and gluten free babies actually hold together just like their meaty equivalents!  This means we can cook them in the pan without fearing for their survival post-pan-flip.  What a concept, right?  Mind= blown.

These are fantastic for quick make-ahead lunches and dinners.  Or breakfasts if you’re a total weirdo (Hi, right there with you) and just reallllllly fancy these veggie burgers. Make them now, eat as many as humanly possible, then wrap the rest in tin foil and freeze.  Absolutely perfect on a toasted bun with hummus, tahini, or avocado. Perhaps all 3 if you’re feelin’ fine n’ fancy. Get some.

Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers 

  • 1/2 cup dried red or green lentils, cooked according to package
  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion diced finely
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup oat bran or oat flour..perhaps a little more (you can make this by simply putting rolled oats into a blender or food processor)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  1. Place chickpeas, lentils, garlic, and spices into a food processor and blend until the beans are very smooth.  If you don’t own a food processor, don’t worry.  Just smash the smithereens out of them until they become a paste.  Warning: this may require muscular arms….
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in the red pepper, onion, jalapeño, and carrot.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.  Add in the oat flour slowly…use only as much as you need so that the burgers bind together and don’t fall apart.  You don’t want them to be droopy gooey hot messes but you don’t want a bunch of crumbly patties either.  Strike a balance here. Form them into normal sized patties.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat…make sure it’s non stick!  Spray the pan with olive/canola oil before you drop each burger in and, if needed, in between while flipping them.  Place a couple burgers in at a time and brown each side. Repeat until all the patties are done.  Stick ’em between burger buns or even lettuce rolls or on top of a fresh salad.  Some ahhhmazing toppings are hummus, guac/avocado, tahini, tomatoes, and duh…mustard&ketchup.
  4. These make about 9 burgers depending on how hideously ginormous or pathetically teeny you make them…wrap them individually in foil and freeze if you want to keep them around longer.  They will last for several months before tasting the way the back of the freezer smells 😉

Lastly, while I was crafting up these burgers and every nook and cranny of my house was filled with the smell of Indian food, I began to reflect on the time I saw Ravi Shankar perform in Santa Barbara at the Arlington Theatre. What an amazing performance, the sitar and the tabla never cease to move me.  They say that George Harrison was greatly influenced by Shankar, and here is a Beatles song to play while you cook.  I recently heard a slowed down acoustic version of Dear Prudence while dancing the night away at an old crumbling saloon in historic Folsom, and I can’t stop listening to the original… Dear Prudence- The Beatles

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