Vegetarian can be a bad word in some circles. Weirdoes, tree-hugger, liberal...all these are stero-types some might associate with vegetarians. Vegetarian cooking, when done right, can open both your kitchen and pallet to worlds of culinary bliss. I few months ago I condemned meat from our kitchen and went vegetarian. It was fun. I found when going strictly vegetarian we ate far more veggies and beans. The kids LOVED everything I cooked. The texture and flavor of vegetarian cooking was very pleasing to their young pallet. I am by no means pro-vegetarian, just pro creativity.
I have since re-introduced meat into our kitchen, hello, it was the holidays! But, I have tried to move our dining experience to be less meat focused and more in the mindset where every dish counts. Everything is not centered on the meat, but each thing on the plate has equal importance to our meal.
Here is a quick, and I mean quick, recipe I found in Rachel Ray's new magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray. I did mix mine up a bit from the original recipe. Her version was a bit blander, using parsley instead of cilantro. Of course many people do not enjoy the pungent flavor of cilantro, and parsley is the perfect substitute. To add more zest use curry powder or cumin in the mix.
Warning, this is not for the faint of heart. If you do not like chickpeas, or if you are in the mood for hamburgers, this is not the dish for you. This is definitely for people that like to try new things.
Make is what you want! Enjoy.
Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* One cipotle chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
2/3 cup packed cilantro
Salt and pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* *4 thin slices of cheese
Dijon mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise, for serving
1. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, chipotle pepper and cilantro until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl a stir in the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg and form the mixture into 8 small patties or 4 large ones. ***
2. In a large skillet or grill pan, heat the oil over med. heat. Cook the burger for 4 min, then flip and cook for 3 min. more. Top the patties with the cheese slices for the last minute of cooking. Serve the cheeseburgers on bun with mustard, ketchup or mayo.
* You can use a can of green chilies instead of chipotle.
** Feta is incredible on these
*** Small patties turn out crunchier but they do not fit on buns. Great for low-carb lovers!