I love, love, love Lebanese food - I could eat it everyday. To make these burgers, I wanted to combine the flavors of some of my favorite dishes. I used the spice flavors of chickpea humus, the veggies of tabbouleh, and topped it with a yogurt cucumber sauce.
The cucumber yogurt sauce is very slightly adapted from Kamal Al-Faqih, Classic Lebanese Cuisine. The recipe is so simple, easy, and delicious, I dare not mess with it too much. I have only doubled the original recipe and suggested that you use Greek or strained yogurt, as a thicker consistency works best for staying on the bun.
Tip: Bean burgers are notoriously dry. All of the veggies in this burger and the yogurt cucumber salad certainly help keep the burger moist - but another component that can help, are the buns. I suggest choosing ones that are fresh and not super bready. This will keep the entire burger from tasting too dry. Alternatively, you could also try pita pockets or wraps. —Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom
chickpeas, drained and rinsed
garlic cloves, minced
small red onion, finely chopped
frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess moisture squeezed out
extra-virgin olive oil
Yogurt Cucumber Sauce, very slightly adapted from Kamal Al-Faqih, Classic Lebanese Cuisine
large garlic cloves
plain Greek or strained yogurt
fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
English cucumber, seeded quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, eggs, salt, cumin, and coriander. Pulse the mixture until it's slightly chunky.
Pour the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Add the red onion, lemon zest, spinach, bulgur wheat, and parsley. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the bulgur wheat to soften and absorb some of the excess moisture.
In the meantime, work on the yogurt cucumber sauce. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic cloves and salt into a smooth paste. Transfer the garlic and salt mash to a medium-sized bowl and add the yogurt, tahini, and mint. Stir well to combine. Gently fold in the cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Once the chickpea burger mixture is ready, give it another good stir - you should notice that the bulgur wheat has absorbed some of the moisture, though the mixture should still appear fairly wet. You want a good amount of moisture remaining so the burger doesn't dry out while cooking. If you feel that the burgers are too wet and won't hold a form, you can add a little more bulgur wheat, but do so very slowly as it takes time for it to soak up moisture. Conversely, you can add a little water if you feel the mixture is too dry.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop out the mixture and form patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick. Add the patties to the skillet (careful not to crowd the pan), cover, and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the patties, cover, and cook the 2nd side for another 6-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and allow to cool on a wire rack or paper towel. Continue to cook the remaining patties in the same fashion, adding more olive oil as needed.
After you have cooked all of the patties, add the sliced hamburger buns to the skillet to lightly toast the inside, approximately 1 minute. This will add a nice crisp without drying out the rest of the bun.
Top each burger with the yogurt cucumber sauce and your favorite toppings. Serve immediately.