Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce

 Simple Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce come together in no time and utilize several pantry staples which mean dinner is never too far away. 

Simple Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce come together in no time and utilize several pantry staples which mean dinner is never too far away. 

One of the things I find so shocking to see in the "wellness" world (and society in general) are the labels we so blindly apply to our eating patterns. From being a vegan to paleo to keto, it's like you can't combine one with the other without betraying some unspoken oath. 

While I totally understand (and respect) that sometimes there are ethical (avoiding animal products), allergy (avoiding gluten) or even religious reasons for adhering to these concepts, so often I see it being used as a broad way to restrict food intake in the hopes of being "healthy". Instead, I wish people would focus on their individual needs when it comes to nutrition and how certain foods may affect them.

Truth be told, I've used some of these labels myself when trying to figure out how to feed my body. I've been vegetarian, completed a Whole 30 and even dabbled with keto/low-carb but what I've learned is that my body does best when I keep everything in moderation and don't put any additional stress on myself by thinking something I eat is "wrong". 

So what does that look like for me?

Almost daily I enjoy a slice of sourdough bread but still love experimenting with gluten-free baked goods. I eat pasta when I feel like it but don't mind zucchini noodles instead sometimes - especially when it's really hot out! Most of my meals include lots of fruits and vegetables but they're not the only things exclusively on my plate. I love a good, juicy, grass-fed cheeseburger hot off the grill but am more than happy to enjoy a vegetable based option, like these Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce, as well. 

These meat-free burgers are packed with fresh flavors from parsley and fresh mint leaves but have an extra kick from the spicy harissa yogurt sauce. Harissa is a hot chili paste from Tunisia and is used in several ways in Tunisian cooking such as a condiment for grilled meats or being stirred into soups and stews. While you can always make your own, I usually keep a store-bought jar in my pantry for whenever I need it. Typically I buy mine at Trader Joe's or Thrive Market! 

Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Harissa Yogurt Sauce

Serves: 4

Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the CHICKPEA BURGERS

15 oz. cooked chickpeas, drained (if using canned) and rinsed

1 cup diced red onion (about 1 small)

1 cup diced carrot (about 2 medium)

1 clove garlic, minced

4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided

1 cup parsley, stems removed

5-6 mint leaves, stems removed

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

For the SPICY HARISSA YOGURT

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 - 2.5 teaspoons harissa*

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

For the TOPPINGS (optional)

4 whole wheat burger buns or Bibb lettuce leaves

Sliced red onion

Sliced tomato

Parsley

Instructions:

1. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the diced red onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute before adding in the carrots. 

2. Cook the onion, garlic and carrot mixture for 8 minutes or until the carrots have softened. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Add the mixture to a food processor along with the chickpeas, parsley, mint, tahini, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to start combining the mixture then blend for about 25-30 seconds or until mixture is crumbly and can be formed into a patty when pressed together. Be sure not to create a paste! My food processor has a "Chop" function which works great. 

4. Form the mixture into 4 equal patties and set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons in a large skillet (I use my cast iron!) over medium heat. Place the burgers in the pan and cook for approximately 5-6 minutes each side or until the are lightly browned and easily release from the pan. 

5. While the burgers cook, prepare the spicy harissa yogurt sauce by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

6. Once burgers are cooked, assemble using your choice of bun and toppings. Place a generous dollop of the yogurt sauce on top of each burger and enjoy!

* Harissa is a hot chili paste from Tunisia and is used in several ways in Tunisian cooking such as a condiment for grilled meats or being stirred into soups and stews. While you can always make your own, I usually keep a store-bought jar in my pantry for whenever I need it. Typically I buy mine at Trader Joe's or Thrive Market!