Time’s are a-changin’ and when it comes to BBQs, cookouts, and potlucks of the sorts, it’s not just about meat-heavy mains. No friend, it’s about delicious, flavorful, plant-based options that everyone will enjoy. Starting with these Chickpea Burgers.
Chickpeas have a way of adding texture and protein, which makes them perfect for meatless recipes. They’re definitely here to change not only the BBQ game but the game day game, and any darn time you’re craving a burger game.
These burgers are bursting with flavor, and they hold together (!!!), staying moist with a crisp exterior. And even better? If you’re an air-fryer fanatic, then I’ve recently included instructions for how to make them in the air-fryer, too!
So boring burgers, step aside, curried chickpea burgers are here to change the game.
What’s in these meatless burgers?
Meatless burgers, you say?! Yes, that’s right, and they pack a punch.
Chickpeas are the main hero here, as they are in our crispy falafel and vegetarian meatballs, for their texture and protein. I haven’t tested them with any other canned bean, so I can’t say for certain if it would work as a substitute.
Here’s what else you’ll need:
- Short Grain Brown Rice: part of the magic that holds these burgers together. Don’t use long-grain brown rice though, it’s not as sticky as short-grain brown rice so it doesn’t do as good of a job holding everything together. Also, use freshly cooked rice – more on that below!
- Shredded Carrots: additional texture, color, and nutrients! Use storebought or shred them yourself (it’s cheaper to do this!).
- Shallot and Garlic: the aromatics and the first point of flavor in the burgers. You can substitute another onion for the shallot. I like shallot because it’s a mild, slightly sweeter onion flavor. Red and white will have a sharper onion flavor, and yellow will be more similar to a shallot.
- Greek Yogurt and Lemon Juice: add a little tang and moisture to the burgers, complimenting the spices.
- Turmeric, Curry Powder, Coriander, Cumin, Cinnamon: those are our pantry spices going into the burgers for, yep, you guessed it…capital F Flavor! By the way… be sure you’re adding freshly ground black pepper in addition to these because it helps your body absorb the goodness that comes from turmeric!
- Flour and Panko: both help bind together the burgers.
How to Make Chickpea Burgers
Be sure to see the full recipe card below for detailed instructions.
The first thing you’ll want to do is cook the brown rice if you haven’t already. I like to use my instant pot for rice – it makes it quick and easy. Another alternative is to buy a packet of microwave-ready rice – this will keep the recipe time down, too.
It is important to use warm rice because it’s still sticky and will help bind together the burgers. Leftover rice from the fridge is far too dry to work in these burgers.
In the bowl of a food processor, first, pulse the shallot and garlic until coarsely chopped (photo 1). This saves you from chopping them separately before combining the rest of the ingredients.
Then add the chickpeas, brown rice, carrot, lemon juice, greek yogurt, and spices (photo 2). Pulse until coarsely combined (photo 3), then add the flour and panko (photo 4), pulsing again until the mixture begins to form together into a cohesive mass (photo 5). I like to be sure to leave some texture to it, so don’t pulse it too finely.
The mixture is pretty sticky, so place it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to help it cool down before forming the patties.
Form the patties into four evenly sized portions (photo 6). Use a kitchen scale to help you out! You can place them back in the fridge if you need to wait, or go ahead and cook them up!
I tested 3 different methods of cooking these burgers, so you can choose how you’d like to enjoy them depending on what is easiest for you to do. I will say that pan-frying is the method that I like the best; it’s fast and results in a crisp exterior with the best texture.
Pan-Fry on the Stovetop
Use a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan on the stovetop to cook up the burgers. Heat it over hedium-high heat with a little oil and cook on each side until golden brown.
You’ll likely need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
Bake in the Oven
You can also bake these in the oven, although the texture will be softer. When I originally created this recipe, I baked, then pan-fried the patties so they were cooked throughout but still got a crispy exterior. You could always do that, but upon retesting a side-by-side, I didn’t find it necessary and would just stick with one or the other.
It always helps when baking things that you want to get crispy (like cauliflower bites) to place them on an oven-safe cooling rack. This helps the heat circulate evenly around the item, crisping it up on both sides.
Air Fry Method
Well, the handy-dandy air fryer was released after I first tested this recipe, so upon the update I knew I needed to try these in the air fryer! And it works, just like with falafel!
I will say, the edges tend to get extra crispy when air frying, which I don’t really mind, but if you do, you may want to consider reducing the heat on your airfryer.
Keep in mind that each airfryer model may differ in heat settings, etc, so be sure to keep an eye on them as they cook.
Topping Chickpea Burgers
Because of all the warm, curry-type spices in these burgers, I love serving it with a slather of yogurt sauce; a quick mix of greek yogurt, lemon juice, and cilantro is perfect. Even better? It’s a wonderful way to use up the greek yogurt that might be leftover from what you used in the burger!
It would also work well with a simple dairy-free avocado sauce or a swipe of classic mayonnaise.
Garnish with lettuce leaves – I love using butter lettuce leaves for sandwiches – a tomato slice, maybe some shredded cabbage, microgreens, or pickled red onions, too!
What Not to Garnish Chickpea Curry Burgers With
Because these burgers have so much flavor within them from bold, warm spices, I don’t recommend serving them with equally bold sauces like a garlic herb sauce. I also don’t recommend the classic ketchup and mustard either, since the flavors are not similar to a traditional burger.
Side Dish Ideas
When it comes down to what to serve with chickpea burgers, I do recommend some more basic side dish recipes given that we don’t want competing flavors happening. I also air on the side of less fiber-filled sides given that these burgers are already packed with beans.
Honestly, they’re great with the classic french fry side dish, or even good ol’ potato chips. Another great option would be a potato and carrot foil packet, roasted broccolini, steamed carrots, or simply some fresh fruit. Another classic go-to side in the summer is a crudités with veggie dip.
Recipe Tips, Make Ahead, and Storage
- Keep in mind that turmeric will stain so be careful when measuring and forming the burgers.
- Fresh, warm rice will work best; cold and leftover rice is generally too dry to help bind the burgers together.
- Not into burgers? The patties are excellent tossed on a salad and served with tzatziki sauce!
- Make Ahead: prep the burger mixture and store in the fridge, either as a whole or in patties, for up to 2 days before you’re ready to make them. Just be sure to either cover the patties with plastic wrap or cover the bowl if storing the entire batch.
- Storage: store leftover burgers wrapped or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop, oven, microwave, or air fryer, similar to the intial cooking method, until warmed through.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Curried Chickpea Burgers
- 1 cup short grain brown rice, cooked
- 3 Tablespoons shallot, approx. 1 large
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 ½ teaspoons curry powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons panko
- 4 burger buns
- Lettuce, tomato, red onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Yogurt sauce, see notes
- Begin cooking the brown rice according to package directions, if you haven't already. The microwave packets are great to make it quick and easy.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the shallot and garlic until coarsely chopped. Then add the remaining ingredients except for the flour and panko. This includes: cooked brown rice, chickpeas, lemon juice, greek yogurt, turmeric, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Pulse until coarsely combined.
- Add the flour and panko and pulse a few more times until the mixture forms together but there is still some texture left to it. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You can form them now, too, but they will likely be extra sticky.
- Form 4 equal sized patties (you may want to use lightly floured hands if they are sticky; just work quickly!). Cook patties according to your method of choice:
- Stovetop (preferred method): Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with an oil of your choice. Once hot, place patties on pan and cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through when golden brown on the first side.
- Air Fryer: Set the air fryer to 345°F (no need to preheat). Lightly spray the rack and the top of the burgers with cooking oil. Place the patties evenly in the basket of your airfryer and cook for 18 minutes or so, flipping halfway through. Do note that time may vary depending on your model, so keep an eye on it once you flip.
- Baking: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or it with parchment paper. Place the patties on the pan with space between, using an oven safe cooling rack if you have one. Bake for 24-26 minutes until slightly golden brown.
- Serve the burgers with buns (brioche buns are amazing!), fresh cilantro, yogurt sauce (see below), tomato, and lettuce as desired. Also great on top of a salad!
- Yogurt Sauce: stir together yogurt, cilantro, salt and pepper, and a little lemon juice to taste.