Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers

I’ve been dreaming about the veggie burgers I had in Europe ever since I got back.

Black bean burgers, soy burgers, cauliflower burgers-ugh it’s like a vegan’s playground! Vegetarianism is pretty uncommon in Zimbabwe, so it’s incredibly difficult for me to find something to eat whenever we go out to dinner. So you can imagine my delight at finding that most European food establishments in fact have a separate menu for vegetarians/vegans. Even McDonald’s had a vegan menu. You heard me, MCFREAKINDONALDS STOCKED VEGGIE BIG MACS + VEGGIE MCNUGGETS. Absolute insanity.

On a brighter note, the supermarkets in Zimbabwe have recently started re-stocking vegan frozen foods, i.e. vegan chicken burgers, vegan nuggets and vegan sausages. These are incredible options for veggies who don’t always have the time to prepare their own burgers from scratch (I know I don’t). If you’re not big on the taste of commercially produced frozen food, then hey, this post is for you! Top tip: prepare these burgers in bulk, shape and freeze them to consume at a later date!

These burgers are packed with intense flavour, and are amped up with the addition of toppings. I’m a huge fan of loading burgers with as many toppings as possible, just look at these loaded burgers I made a couple of months ago. For these particular burgers I spread the toasted buns with some honey mustard sauce, topped with burger, followed by sliced tomato and fresh sprouts! Other alternatives include sliced avo, caramelised onions, crispy onions, an extra burger (cheeky) or even some good old tomato sauce. Make sure not to skip out on the sweet potato fries, they are heavenly! Or crack open a cold one with the boys on a warm summer afternoon with these burgers!

Spicy Chickpea Veggie Burgers


  • 1×14 oz tin of canned chickpeas or 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ½ red or white onion, diced finely
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or water if you want them oil-free), optional
  • For serving: 4 bread rolls (gluten free if desired), sliced tomato, sliced avocado, fresh sprouts, sweet potato fries


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl. Use a fork to mash them as best you can, it’s okay if some of them are still whole, at least half should be mashed. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and use your hands to mix until the ingredients have been evenly distributed.
  2. Shape into 4 patties. If you’re finding the patties difficult to shape or they keep falling apart then add the olive oil (or water) and try again. You should be able to shape them easily after this.
  3. Lightly grease a rimless baking sheet and gently transfer the patties to the pan. Bake for 15 minutes before gently flipping and baking for another 7 minutes. The burgers should be golden brown and crispy on the outside. Enjoy on top of a freshly baked roll topped with tomato, avocado and sprouts!



Loaded Quinoa Lentil Burgers with all the Fixings 

Today, I’m pulling out all the stops. 

This week, I felt like putting together something big. Enormous. Sensational. Between experimenting with my new camera and trying out recipes from my vegan cookbook, I thought about what to bring you next. Since the recipes I post usually go with what I’m feeling at the time, I opted for these vegan burgers. I cannot tell you how many burgers I’ve made in the past month. 

I’ve been craving umami a lot since I stopped eating meat. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, umami refers to one of the flavours your tongue can detect, along with sweet, sour and bitter. Umami is what you would call the savouriness of a dish. Unfortunately for me, I tried to replicate that by eating a lot of salt- obviously not a good idea. 

 Good old Google came in handy here, by suggesting that I introduce umami rich foods into my diet, such as mushrooms, sweet potatoes and balsamic vinegar. So what did I do? I incorporated all these elements into the ultimate feel good vegan burger. Mushrooms fried and dressed in a balsamic vinegar reduction, sweet potato fries on the side and gorgeous crispy onion rings, how could one ask for more? 

But wait! There is more!!!! These pickled red onions are about to be your next guilty pleasure. The crisp bitter flavour of the onions just works perfectly with the soft mild avocado, and don’t get me started on what it does for the burger as a whole. It just works and I don’t know why yet- but when I find out, trust that you’ll be getting a post about it. 

I’m working on a couple more science posts to bring you because I realized that I haven’t been doing that a lot lately and I send you all my apologies in the form of this burger. Don’t take my word for it – go out and try it! 

Loaded Quinoa Lentil Burgers with all the Fixings.                                          makes 4 patties


For the burger patties:

  • ½ cup uncooked brown lentils
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • A handful of fresh rosemary
  • 4 burger rolls

For the pickled onion:

  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 150ml of white vinegar
  • 2 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 250ml water

For the onion rings:

  • Enough vegetable oil for shallow frying (my estimate is 1 cup)
  • 1 large white onion, sliced cross-sectionally to yield rings
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

For the sweet potato fries:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into fries
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced tomato
  • Mayonnaise/Vegannaise
  • Barbecue sauce



Make the burger patties:

  1. In a large saucepan combine the lentils and quinoa and cover with the water. Cook for 20 minutes or until you can see the white tails on the quinoa and the lentils are soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil on high heat and fry the mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms are dark brown and have softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently until the balsamic has reduced and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. Add the lentil quinoa mixture, mushrooms, parsley and rosemary to a food processor. Pulse until you have a thick mixture that holds together and can easily be shaped into patties. This took me about 2 minutes. If your mixture is too heavy for the food processor, then you can add 2 tbsp of water to ease it along.
  4. Shape the mixture into 4 patties and at this point you can either refrigerate them to cook later or cook straight away. This recipe is freezer friendly, separate the patties with parchment paper and seal in an airtight plastic bag.
  5. Heat a skillet on high heat and brush with olive oil. Cook the patties for 5 minutes on either side before flipping. Serve immediately

For the pickled onion:

Dump the red onion at the bottom of a 500ml glass jar. In a measuring cup, stir together the vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Pour it over the onion and fill up the jar with as much liquid as possible. Give the jar a good shake and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the sweet potato fries:

Start by soaking the chopped sweet potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain before adding the cornflour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and sugar and tossing to coat. Lie in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes without turning. Serve hot.

For the onion rings:

Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and water to make a thick batter. In a shallow dish, crush the cornflakes till they resemble breadcrumbs and stir with the cayenne pepper. Dip the onion rings first in the batter then the cornflakes and fry for 3 minutes or until deep golden brown, turning once halfway. Serve immediately.