Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vegetarian Greek Chickpea & Walnut Burgers

I needed a vegetarian day today....I've been eating way too much meat since grilling season is upon us here in the Midwest. These are an awesome meatless burger - somewhere between a falafel and souvlaki!

2 eggs

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used Panko because I had some leftover from the chicken tenders the other night)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 medium carrot - shredded
1/3 cup of feta cheese - crumbled
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of Greek olives  (I had leftover tapanade with Greek olives, so I just used that instead)
a handful of fresh parsley
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 (15 oz.) can of drained & rinsed chickpeas/garbanzo beans

5-6 whole wheat pitas

If you are lucky enough to have a large food processor, combine the first 13 ingredients and pulse until well combined and chopped. (I had to do this in batches because I have a wimpy food processor) Add the chickpeas and pulse until thoroughly combined/chopped. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

After refrigeration, form into patties (it will make 5-6 patties) and place each on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap each one up and put on a flat surface in the freezer for an hour or two. This will help them to hold their shape and stay together.

In the mean time, whip up some tzatziki sauce and put in the fridge.
Tzatziki Sauce
- 1/4 cup English cucumber - grated finely and squeezed as dry as possible
-1cup of plain Greek yogurt (If you can’t find Greek yogurt, use regular plain yogurt & strain thru cheesecloth for an hour or so - you just want it thick. I think even sour cream may substitute OK)
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- ½ tsp of salt
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
-the zest of 1 lemon

Just combine all ingredients and let the flavors meld. Great to do a day in advance.

When you are about ready to eat, get your "fixin's" ready....slice some cucumber, tomato, red onion, lettuce and crumble some feta cheese. Set aside. 

Get a skillet on medium high heat. Add a few tbsp of olive oil. When it smokes, it's ready to cook. Put one patty in at a time and cook for about 4-5 minutes (until golden brown) and then flip and cook another 3 or so minutes. While that is cooking, heat up another skillet and spray with cooking spray. Add your whole wheat pita pocket and toast on both sides.  

Slice the pita in half & open the pockets. Slice the burger in half and stuff into each half of the pita. Now add in the tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, onion & feta. DONE!  It's loaded with protein and healthy fats. It's super flavorful and a great alternative to a gyro or a traditional burger. I hope you give them a shot. 

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