Over the weekend I cooked up a gallon of chickpeas. I use them to make hummus at least once a week, and I needed some to work on my recipe for falafel burgers. They’re also really good to snack on with just a sprinkle of sea salt. The little chickpea, or garbanzo bean, has an incredible array of health benefits tucked into its rather plain-looking exterior. One cup has 50% of the fiber, 26% of the iron and 29% of the protein that our bodies need every day. It has a whopping 85% of manganese, a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells. You can buy canned garbanzo beans almost anywhere, but the 70% daily recommended amount of folate that the dry beans provide is reduced by about 40% during canning. Instead, it’s healthier (and cheaper) to buy dried garbanzo beans in bulk and cook them yourself. They keep for days in the refrigerator, or you can put them in baggies and freeze them.

This falafel recipe calls for the burgers to be sautéd in a tbsp of oil, not deep-fat fried like most falafel recipes. I added quinoa to boost the nutritional value and to provide a little texture. (The first time I made these they seemed too mushy in the middle.) If you want to cook these on the grill, I’d suggest using a vegetable basket, as these are a bit fragile when you flip them.

Falafel Burgers

  • 1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp corn meal
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • toppings: diced tomato, avocado, lettuce, salsa, grilled onions, etc.

To cook dried garbanzo beans:
  1. Put garbanzo beans in a large pot and cover with at least four inches of water. Soak for eight hours or overnight. Drain the soaking water, add new water, bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about an hour, with the pan partially covered. If any foam develops, skim it off. Drain, lightly salt, and enjoy!
Falafel Burgers:
  1. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until tender.
  2. Put garbanzo beans, sautéed onion and garlic in food processor and pulse a few times (leave it a bit course.)
  3. Put this mixture in a mixing bowl and add the remaining tbsp of olive oil, the cooked quinoa, tahini, coriander, cumin, salt, and whole wheat flour.
  4. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Shape into four patties and dust both sides with cornmeal.
  6. Heat canola oil in a skillet until hot. Saute the falafel patties for about four minutes on each side, until browned.
  7. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!