No, veggie burgers don’t need a billion ingredients. Or even a dozen. In fact, this recipe—fresh from the Big Little Recipes cookbook—only includes three, and no one will be the wiser. The trick is to start with soaked, not canned, beans. Such is the time-tested strategy for Middle Eastern falafel: Grind soaked chickpeas (or in Egypt, fava beans) into oblivion, shape the mixture into little balls, and fry them until they’re crunchy outside, juicy inside, and impossible to eat just one. But I never thought to falafel-ify veggie burgers until I read Joe Yonan’s wonderful cookbook Cool Beans and gawked at his Black Bean–Chipotle Falafel Burgers in our Genius Recipes column. Unlike the canned sort, which hold together well but mush out at first bite, rehydrated then pan-fried beans yield a crackly crust and meaty center. Once you’ve soaked and food-processed your chickpeas, all you need are marinated artichokes (tangy and herby, thanks to their soak in vinaigrette) and sun-dried tomatoes (make sure they’re oil-packed for that bouncy texture and rich flavor) to get something that’s as flavorful as it is minimalist. Note: Because these chickpeas start out simply soaked, it’s important to make sure the burgers cook through in the pan.
Adapted with permission from Big Little Recipes by Emma Laperruque, published by Ten Speed Press, October 26, 2021. —Emma Laperruque
- Prep time 13 hours 15 minutes
- Cook time 8 minutes
- makes 6 burgers
(180 grams) dried chickpeas
Diamond Crystal kosher salt
(12-ounce/340-gram) can marinated artichokes, drained
(70 grams) drained, julienned sun-dried tomatoes
Neutral oil, for pan-frying
Your pick of bread (like a potato bun, English muffin, pita, or grainy toast)
Your pick of toppings (say, sliced cheddar and juicy tomato, spicy mayo and raw onion, or Dijon mustard and sweet pickles)
- Soak the chickpeas in water for 12 to 24 hours.
- Drain the soaked chickpeas, then add to a food processor with the salt. Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until the beans are finely minced and easily hold together when squeezed. Transfer the ground chickpeas to a bowl.
- Add the artichokes to the food processor. Pulse until minced, then mix into the chickpeas. Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the food processor, pulse until minced, then mix into the chickpeas and artichokes.
- Use your hands to form the mixture into 6 burgers. Refrigerate them in an airtight container or on a covered plate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. This helps them hold their shape in the pan.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add enough neutral oil to thickly coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, use a spatula to carefully add the burgers—if you’re cooking all of them, you may need to do this in batches. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until deeply browned, crusty, and cooked through. (Resist the urge to press or shuffle the burgers as they’re cooking—this could cause them to crack.) Transfer to a plate or wire rack to cool for a few minutes.
- Grab a potato bun or English muffin or pita or some grainy toast. Now sandwich your burger with whatever toppings you’d like.