Lentil-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Avocado Green Harissa

Gluten-free lentil, chickpea and carrot veggie burgers with a spicy, herbed avocado spread - cookieandkate.com

In case naming this website after my dog didn’t automatically qualify me as a crazy dog lady, I just did something even crazier. I ordered a dog DNA test. My curiosity about which breeds created my spotted companion got the best of me. I’m supposed to just swab the inside of her cheek and send the swabs back.

My suspense is growing. What kind of dog is she? A blend of two pure breeds or lots of mutts? Shall we make this more interesting and turn it into a betting game? I bet you a pan of my best brownies that Cookie is half Australian shepherd and half obscure small dog breed, like a Danish Swedish farmdog or schipperke.

Feast cookbook

Here are some clues: Cookie has merle coloring, floppy ears and a bushy tail that curves slightly over her back. She’s smaller than she appears in photos, about 18 pounds. She’s fast, smart, energetic and ornery. She herds me out of bed in the morning to feed her breakfast. She is not yippy or overly protective. She is a jaunty, outgoing, friendly little clown. What do you all think?

lentil and carrot burger ingredients

Cookie would have given her left paw for one of these veggie burgers last night. These are the second veggie burgers to make it to the blog. Their incredibly popular black bean and sweet potato burger predecessor is tough to beat. I can’t say that these would win in a veggie burger competition, as they were more difficult to shape (probably because I over-processed the beans) and aren’t flavored with sweet-and-spicy sweet potatoes, but they are a tasty runner-up.

These burgers are made with mostly lentils and some chickpeas, as well as carrots, spices and oats. The recipe caught my eye in Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, Sarah Copeland’s new cookbook. Sarah is the food director at Real Simple Magazine.

Feast is full of utterly gorgeous, unfussy, gourmet vegetarian recipes. Her publisher sent me a review copy, which has been at the top of my cookbook stack since it arrived. Well over half of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos, but this photo-less recipe intrigued me because it reminded me of my recent lentil-chickpea salad.

Avocado green harissa

Sarah served her burgers with a yogurt/red harissa spread, but the mention of harissa kept reminding me of Ashley‘s green herb and jalapeño harissa that I’ve been eager to try. I opted for the fresh green harissa and couldn’t resist throwing an avocado into the mix.

The resulting creamy, spiced, herbed goodness would be fantastic on any veggie burger or sandwich. For those of you who have fallen in love with my avocado chimichurri and avocado salsa verde, you’re going to love this one, too.

I have no idea if this untraditional harissa should even be called harissa at this point. I was curious about the difference between the spicier, red harissa paste and more herby green harissa, so I researched the matter last night. Aida Mollenkamp provided the answer: while they go by the same name, green harissa is a more mellow Persian condiment and red harissa is North Africa’s fiery flavoring of choice.

lentil, chickpea and carrot blend

These burgers contain a couple of eggs, which seem to make a big difference in turning the wet patties into well-formed, solid patties when cooked. Vegans, you might be able to substitute some other binder, like ground flaxseed like Angela just did with her Moroccan yam veggie burgers, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out.

Before pan frying, I experimented by sprinkling three of the burgers with oat flour and the other three with regular flour. The oat flour actually produced a better, more crisp-on-the-outside burger and kept the burgers gluten free. If you want to grill the burgers, you’re going to have to cook them in a pan first (see notes).

Perhaps the best feature of this meal is that both the veggie burgers and harissa can be made entirely in a food processor. I even grated the carrots and chopped the onion and garlic in the food processor (hi, I’m lazy). Then I cleaned out the bowl while I was pan frying the burgers and whipped together the harissa. That was easy!

Lentil-chickpea veggie burgers with avocado green harissa and radish - cookieandkate.com

A NOTE ON FOOD PROCESSORS:

I really do try to keep my equipment to a minimum, but my food processor is an indispensable tool. It can do some things that a blender can’t, like grate carrot and slice zucchini in seconds.

I recently experienced some food processor drama—my grandma wanted her 7-cup KitchenAid back at the same time that a company offered me a super fancy 16-cup food processor, which seemed serendipitous. However, I soon loathed my new fancy-pants processor with all of its bowls and attachments. The machine and accessories could have taken up half of a coat closet, not even kidding! I couldn’t make anything in the smaller nesting bowls without dripping into the larger bowls, so then I had to wash them all. Those bowls took up the entire top rack of my dishwasher.

I finally sent the food processor back and bought Cuisinart’s classic 7-cup food processor for about 100 bucks. So far, it’s been perfect. It has just the features I need and nothing more. I can process lots of vegetables and just dump them into my mixing bowl if I need to process more. The food processor’s bowl, lid and blade only take up one-third of the dishwasher’s top rack.

All this is to say that if you’re in the market for a food processor and don’t have a big family to feed, I recommend the small and affordable, aforementioned Cuisinart. Full disclosure: links to my favorite products on Amazon and elsewhere are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of your total purchase, which helps me pay my bills. Thank you for your support!

Easy lentil veggie burgers (gluten free) - cookieandkate.com

5.0 from 8 reviews
Lentil-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Avocado Green Harissa
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Gluten free and vegetarian lentil burgers made with chickpeas, carrots and oats. The avocado green harissa is a spicy herb mix blended with avocado! To make this recipe extra easy, use canned chickpeas and pre-steamed lentils. Just be sure to rub excess moisture off of the chickpeas and lentils with paper towels before adding them to the food processor. Recipe yields 6 burgers.
Ingredients
Veggie burgers
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • ½ medium yellow or white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cooked green or brown lentils
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Handful fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, optional (not shown in pictures)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce, sriracha or other hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • *Oat flour (can be easily made from oats, see step 1) or flour of choice, for dusting
  • High quality vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Avocado green harissa
  • 1 medium to large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup lightly packed mint leaves (or parsley)
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems (or parsley)
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped (save seeds if you want extra-spicy harissa)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Burger assembly
  • 6 buns of choice (English muffins, hamburger buns, or flatbread), toasted
  • Add some crunch: dill pickles, quick-pickled red onions, or thinly sliced radishes or cucumbers
  • Greens, like arugula or spinach, optional
  • Tomato slices, optional
  • Whatever else strikes your fancy
Instructions
  1. *Before you get started, will you need oat flour? If so, blend up some oats in your food processor using the S-blade. Blend until the oats have a fine, flour-like texture. Transfer the oats to a bowl for later.
  2. To make the burgers: Use your food processor's grating blade to coarsely grate the carrot. Transfer the shredded carrot to a bowl for now. Remove the grating blade and switch to the S-blade. Cut the halved onion into a few slices before adding the onion and garlic cloves to the food processor. Pulse until the onions are roughly chopped, but no more.
  3. Add to the food processor: towel-dried lentils and chickpeas, eggs, oats, handful of herbs (optional), all of the spices, salt and black pepper. Process only until the mixture has the consistency of a chunky hummus (err on the conservative side here). Stir in the grated carrot.
  4. To prepare the burgers: Divide the lentil mixture into 6 portions and shape them into patties about 1-inch thick (if your mixture is unmanageably wet, stir in a couple tablespoons of oat flour first). Dust the patties lightly with flour on both sides.
  5. To cook the burgers: Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, cook the veggie burgers in batches. Cook until the burgers are crispy on the bottoms and the mixture holds together, about 4½ to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers carefully with a spatula and continue cooking until the second sides are firm and brown, about 4½ to 5 more minutes. Transfer the burgers to a plate, then add more oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining burgers until they are all cooked through.
  6. To make the avocado green harissa: First, clean out the bowl of your food processor. Then add all of the harissa ingredients to the food processor except for the olive oil. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil while it's running.
  7. To assemble the burgers: Toast your buns, if you'd like. Top the lower bun with a veggie burger patty, then spread a generous amount of avocado green harissa on top. Top with crunchy condiments, greens, etc. and eat!
Notes
Veggie burgers adapted from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland. Green harissa adapted from Ashley Rodriguez via Food and Wine.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats/oat flour.
Storage suggestions: Sarah says to let the cooked burgers cool completely, then transfer to an air-tight container with a layer of parchment paper in between each burger. Freeze for up to a month. The harissa is best served fresh, but if you have leftover sauce, store it in a small bowl and press plastic wrap against the top to prevent oxidation. The harissa will keep for a day or two.
A note on grilling: Sarah suggests that these burgers can be grilled IF you cook them in a pan first (I think the raw patties would fall right through the grates). Once the burgers are cooked, preheat your gas/charcoal/stovetop grill on medium-high. Rub the grill plates or pan with olive oil, then grill the cooked burgers until the outsides are deeply brown, about 5 minutes. Don't move the burgers other than flipping halfway though cooking. If you want to melt cheese on top of the burgers, add it during the last two minutes of cooking, then close the lid to help the cheese melt.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my sweet potato and black bean burgers and summer squash tacos with avocado chimichurri.

Comments

    • says

      Marisa, hope you love the burgers if you give them a try. I bet the cooked burgers will freeze beautifully. (I have a note in the recipe about that.)

      • says

        Hey Anne! I think flaxseeds will probably work. Good question about grilling. I just added a note to the recipe about it. I would definitely not advise grilling the raw patties because they’re pretty delicate. The cookbook author suggests cooking them first, then grilling for a few minutes for that grill flavor. Sorry about that! Please let me know how yours turn out if you try the flaxseed/grilling method.

  1. says

    Omg. Why are all my favourite blogs doing this to me?! I plan to make veggie burgers this weekend and now I have all these recipes to try?! I really shouldn’t complain, though–you can never have too many veggie burgers. These look incredible, Kate. You’re really creative and an inspiration!

  2. says

    You are not a crazy dog lady! I have seriously considered getting my dog’s DNA tested as well. Anyway, I honestly am not a fan of veggies burgers. Anytime I try one, or see a recipe, there is no appeal. But THIS one actually looks really really good. I will probably try it out next time we have a cookout. :)

    Sammi

    • says

      Thanks, Sammi! I hope this dog DNA test is legit. It looks more legit than the tests I read about a couple of years ago. Hope you love the veggie burgers if you try them! These actually won’t work well on a grill, unless you cook them in a pan first. I think commenters have reported that my black bean and sweet potato burgers grill well, if those hold any appeal.

  3. says

    Have you tried baking them?

    I’ve had good luck with baking quinoa patties.

    My sense is these recipes are very flexible. Grain, veg, flour, egg, fun.

    Red peppers give color and flavor.

    • says

      No, I haven’t tried baking them, but I bet that would work well. Pan frying in a little bit of oil does lend some extra flavor, though.

  4. says

    These burgers sound great, but I’m almost more interested in the food processor discussion! I still don’t have a food processor,and it’s likely that I won’t for the foreseeable future, but I’m definitely glad to hear that the smaller, less be-all processor works better. And hey! I can absolutely break out my box grater and knife for these burgers, no sweat. :)

    • says

      Seriously, those giant, fancy food processors come with manuals that might as well be books! It’s cool that you can do so many different things will all the different blades, but you have to find a place to store them and remember all of their uses!

  5. Caitlin says

    I vote that she’s got Australian Cattle dog in her – that’s what her coloring reminds me of immediately…. Maybe part Aussie to give her the fluff and ears. Two smart, herding breeds with lots of energy!

  6. Christy says

    Funny, since I have been thinking of Cookie when I think of my future dog… so I hope we find out the results too! Although of course ultimately I will be getting a rescue doggy that needs a home so I won’t be able to pick out a Cookie match–but what a great dog she is.

    • says

      Your comment made me smile! I hope you find a dog that is just right for you. I searched and searched at local pounds and at pet finder.com (where I found Cookie). I got to talk to a girl who had fostered Cookie, so she told me all about her personality and quirks. That’s a great way to go about it!

  7. Megan says

    I just got a food processor and think these burgers will be the first thing I make with it! Thanks for the specific instructions on which blades to use.

    • says

      Congrats on the new food processor! Just be careful not to over-process these burgers. They’re best left pretty chunky.

  8. Lori Grigg says

    This along with all the other recipes you have posted looks crazy good.
    I have soaked chickpeas for 8-12 hours, then drain and process with flax seed meal(no eggs needed). Not so mushy as cooked chickpeas. Just a suggestion.

    • says

      Thanks, Lori! That’s a really good idea. My falafel recipe calls for chickpeas that have been soaked for just one hour (no eggs) and those turn out great.

  9. says

    I don’t have a left paw, but if I did, I’d give it for one of these burgers too! Harissa is one of my favourite condiments (the red kind) but I’ve never tried the green one. I’m pinning and adding yours to my list of must-makes!

  10. says

    I’m starving and this looks so good! I’ve just started my blog and I’m still trying to find my feet – would love some recommendations or tips :)

  11. says

    Ooo, I didn’t even think you could do a dog DNA test!! That is so funny… Do you think they’d do cat DNA stuff too? Although, arguably, no one wants to really know where my cats come from… But with dogs it’s likely very different. Can’t wait to hear what it is! In the meantime I’ll enjoy these gorgeous burgers!

  12. says

    I am always on the look out for a good veggie burger – thank you so much for the recipe. Now that the warmer days are on there merry way I can see us eating these with a lovely big salad.

  13. says

    I love my meat burgers, but this veggie burger made my mouth water. It looks amazing. Also, I’m curious what kind of dog Cookie would turn out to be. Do let us know!

  14. says

    these look so delicious ! i’m always trying to show my mum there’s great vegetarian/vegans recipes out there – this will be a treat !

  15. says

    Oh, my, these look amazing! I make a few different versions of veggie burgers now, so I think I will add these to the rotation!
    The photos are lovely, too. I love the light in the last one.

  16. says

    I just received a dog DNA test for my birthday! Can’t wait to try it out…and I agree with Caitlin above, just have a hunch that Cookie is a lot of Australian Cattle Dog. :) Could she be part terrier, as well?

    • says

      I sent off my DNA kit yesterday and can’t wait for the results! She very well could be part terrier, although she’s not a barker like most terriers. I just found Australian kelpies, she looks just like one, but smaller! She must have Australian something-or-other in her.

  17. says

    My Mum and Dad did a DNA test on our dog so I don’t think you’re crazy at all. We knew she was mostly malamute, but it wasn’t until we found out that she is part koolie (an Aussie breed) that her brown eyes and spotted hind leg (she only has one) made sense.
    Also, I would be begging for a taste of these just like Cookie :)

  18. says

    I’ve never heard of a dog DNA test! How cool is that (it might be of benefit for my in-law’s lovely little mutt, Anika. I think she is part cat as she tends to curl up in the smallest, highest places. She sleeps on the back of my in-law’s couch, perched in a tiny space!). I would agree that Cookie looks part Aussie shepherd… cannot wait to hear the results! As for these burgers? Absolutely delicious. Love the oat flour idea… I need to invest in some of that stuff. And a new food processor, as mine broke last night. Sad face. Gorgeous post (as always) Kate! x

    • says

      Anika sounds like Cookie! Cookie likes to perch on the top of the couch and sits on my desk to look out the window. Hope you get a new food processor soon—it’s super easy to grind oats into oat flour in a processor!

  19. says

    It’s hard to imagine that anything could compete with your sweet potato black bean burgers – we LOVED those. How fun to find out Cookie’s roots – who knew they had DNA tests for dogs?!

  20. says

    A DNA dog test! I didn’t know that existed. My little pup is a total mutt, and I know at least 2 breeds in her, but the rest is a question mark. I look forward to hearing what you find out!

    The burgers are gorgeous, per usual. I love lentil veggie burgers, but what I really need is that avocado harissa. YUM.

    • says

      They do exist! I just mailed off the kit yesterday so I’m eagerly awaiting the results. I basically want to slather avocado harissa on everything, hope you’ll try it soon!

  21. says

    I strongly believe that chickpeas make everything delicious! I was making falafel last night and thinking about how a big falafel patty (bulked up with some extras) might make an excellent veggie burger :) I’m loving the lentils in here, and the carrots and spices! We so enjoyed your other veggie burgers; this will definitely hit the grill (skillet!) this summer.

    A wonderful family friend gifted us a Cuisinart food processor for our wedding….. it will probably last forever, my mom has been using her Cuisinart for 30 years. I love ours!

  22. says

    This looks mega super delicious! I can’t wait to try them. Knowing your blog made me eat much more vegetarian meals! I’m not a purist one but you give me good ideas to improve my regime. And I want also to say that Cookie is a… sweet pretty cookie:)

  23. says

    Oooo! I know zero about dog breeds but can’t wait to find out what Cookie is! You must report back!

    I got that cookbook to review and am positively enamored with it! These veggie burgers are a must make. Love that they are doubly beany. :)

  24. says

    I treasure my food processor! It’s probably my most valued kitchen tool. I think I know which 14-cup processor you’re talking about and I had previously been eyeing it up for whenever mine bites the dust. I have the 11-cup Cuisinart and just love it. I’ve had it since our wedding [almost 6yrs ago!] and it’s held up like a champ! Also, these burgs sound perfecto!

  25. Kat says

    Oh, this was so good! I made it tonight and my omnivorous husband and I were both pleased… even though my processor bowl cracked early on and I had to make the harissa by hand, chopping up the jalapeno and herbs. The husband is a little sensitive to spicy food, so I cut down the jalapeno to half of a big one cut up and mashed into the avocado. It was still quite tasty and the color was terrific! Thank you!

    • says

      Kat, I’m sorry to hear about your food processor bowl! Glad you both loved the burgers, though. Thank you for commenting!

  26. Erin says

    Yet another successful CookieandKate recipe. These were moist and tasty. We topped them with guac since our little one is sensitive to spicy foods. My husband, 18 mo old and I all cleaned our plates.

  27. Laura Kim says

    I made these last night for lunch today. The taste is yummy, but the consistency was more like hummus when I made the mixture. Is this how it is supposed to be? Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Laura, it sounds like you probably over-processed the beans, which is easy to do. Next time, just pulse the mixture until it’ll stick together.

  28. Maria says

    I haven’t used my food processor for about 10 years but I think I’ll be pulling it out from the back of the cupboard tomorrow to make these. They look fabulous. Off now to soak some chickpeas….

  29. Angela says

    Divine! My meat-loving husband ate THREE and said they’re the best burgers we’ve made so far.

  30. Maria says

    I used red onion but found it too overpowering. Next time I will use brown onion and will try sauteing it before adding it to the mixture.

    • says

      Maria, I’m sorry the red onion overpowered your burgers. I’ve removed red onions from the ingredients list. Generally sweet yellow onions are pretty mild, if you want to try those next time. Sautéed onions should work, too.

  31. Georgia says

    I bought some lentils and chickpeas the other day and wanted to find something to do I with them today, oh MAN they are so good! My food processor tuned them to almost-liquid mush in a matter of seconds so I had to add the oat flour to hold them together, and I used packet breadcrumbs as the coating because I needed more oat flour than I had antcipated and hadn’t made enough, but still! Super delicious.

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