Make ahead, and freezer friendly Spicy Cajun Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Jalapeño Aioli are packed with texture, flavor and are likely to make your mouth water… just a bit! Vegan + Gluten Free
Oh my word, y’all. I’m SO excited to finally be sharing these burgers!
I thought I wasn’t going to make the 4th of July holiday deadline, but finally, the recipe came together. OMGee this one took some time!
Many of you know I loath the 4th for the fireworks. I wrote my reasons last year in my Broccoli Slaw post, so I won’t rehash it here.
But what I DO love about the 4th is the food, family, friends, rest.. and did I say FOOD?(!!).
But this burger isn’t just for July 4th. It’s year round freezer staple food! FTW!
Having homemade veggie burger patties in the freezer is the ultimate relief for those long weekdays or too short weekends when you just need something post-haste. The ultimate comfort food I say, with a side of fries or tater tots!
Homemade veggie burgers can be tricky, and I love how they challenge my kitchen prowess, but I’ve found some key ingredients help give eggless veggie burgers structure and loads of flavor. Beans, oats, brown rice, nuts and plenty of veggies like mushrooms, onions and peppers support the structure of the burger. Then, and a most satisfying addition, spices are added to liven up the blank canvas of ingredients.
Two flavor builders I love to include in homemade veggie burger patties are liquid smoke and worcestershire sauce (be sure to look for vegetarian or vegan). I find these are essential for maximum burgery (?) flavor.
The process to make this recipe is similar to my Black Bean Walnut Burgers with Saucy Sweet Onions. You’ll want to make sure to have cooked short grain brown rice on hand. I almost always have some in my freezer on the ready for veggie burgers or for this Multigrain Bread.
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan then toss them in a food processor. Then add the flavor builders like tomato paste, walnuts, spices, liquid smoke, and worcestershire and pulse the ingredients together. Structure, and more flavor builders are added to the processor bowl like sautéed mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. Toss in 1/2 the rice and 1/2 the chickpeas, and give the processor a few more pulses to bring everything together.
Dump it all into a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1/2 of veggies, rice and slightly smashed chickpeas. Then the fun part… dig in with your hands, mushing, turning and mixing everything together!
Shape the patties into 1/3 C or 1/2 C portions (1/2 C portions shown here) and gently press them into patties. They’ll need to rest in the fridge for at least an hour to maximize binding and allow flavors to marry. Otherwise, if you’re in a hurry or just need to eat like YESTERDAY, pan fry or bake them without a rest. Just handle them carefully.
While the burgers are resting, whip up the jalapeño aioli. It’s the perfect partner for these burgers and for dipping french fries or tater tots in.
Pile on your favorite condiments for the ultimate burger. I like to add a few more jalapeños, you know, just to keep things spicy!
Boring but important! Be sure to take a look at the recipe notes if you’re new to making veggie burgers.
Spicy Cajun Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Jalapeño Aioli
The seemingly long list of ingredients are structure and flavor builders - don't let the list discourage you - they're mostly pantry staples! I've included both baking and pan frying instructions below. Make ahead, and freezer friendly Spicy Cajun Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Jalapeño Aioli are packed with texture, flavor and are likely to make your mouth water... just a bit! *Time below does not include time for patties to rest in refrigerator (1 hour). Vegan + Gluten Free
For the Patties:
- 1/4 C (35g) Walnuts
- 1/4 C (30g) Thick Rolled Oats
- 1 1/2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbs Tahini
- 2 Tbs Cajun Spice Blend **see note
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce optional but recommended (vegan and gluten free brand)
- 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1 1/2 C (255g) Chickpeas drained and divided (one can)
- 1/2 C (100g) Cooked Short Grain Brown Rice divided (be sure to use short grain, it makes a difference - and not instant)
- 2 tsp Coconut Oil + more for frying or baking the patties
- 2 C (160g) Mushrooms diced (I use crimini)
- 1 C (115g) Purple or Red Onion diced (about 1/2 a large onion)
- 1 C (120g) Green Bell Pepper diced (about 1 medium bell)
- 1 Tbs Minced Garlic
For the Jalapeño Aioli:
- 1 Fresh Jalapeño *see note
- 1/2 C (110g) High Quality Mayo I use just Mayo
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 1/2 Tbs Minced Garlic
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
For the Patties:
In a nonstick pan, dry-toast the walnuts on medium heat, tossing and flipping them for about four minutes. Remove from heat and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the oats, tomato paste, tahini, cajun spice blend, sea salt, worchestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Process, scraping the bowl down as needed until crumbly but holds together after giving it a squeeze in your fist. Add 1/2 the chickpeas, and 1/2 the rice. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 1/2 of the chickpeas and rice and mash together using a potato masher just a few times to soften (we still want chunks here). Set aside.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan on medium. When shimmering, add the diced mushrooms and cook on medium low for about 6 minutes tossing and flipping just a few times - we want a good sear on the mushrooms. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and saute for about 8-9 minutes on medium low heat, flipping and turning occasionally. A bit of charring is okay. Remove from heat and spoon 1/2 of the mushroom mixture in the food processor while adding the remaining to the large mixing bowl with the chickpeas and rice. Process the ingredients in the food processor, pulsing, and stopping to scrape down and redistribute the ingredients in the bowl several times. There still should be some chunks, but all the ingredients will be incorporated. Into the large mixing bowl, add the processed bean/spice/mushroom mixture. Using your hands, mix throughly squeezing and pushing the mixture together. Now is a good time to taste test the mixture. If you want more heat, add a douse or two of Tabasco or even more Cajun seasoning!
Divide the mixture into 5 patties (about 1/2 C or 140g each) or 7 patties (about 1/3 C or 95g each) by shaping them into round balls tucking in any large pieces of veggies that may be hanging out on the sides. Using your hand or the back of a metal measuring cup, press each ball into a patty using gentle pressure to about 1/4"- 1/2" (.6 - 1.2 cm) thick. Gently nudge back into shape if needed.
Place the patties flat on a parchment lined sheet pan in refrigerator for at least one hour. If freezing, slide the pan in the freezer for one hour then stack them between pieces of parchment paper and into a freezer bag for longer storage.*** Now is a good time to get the jalapeño aioli going (recipe below).
For Cooking: *Pan frying yields a bit of charring and crispy edges on the burgers. It's quicker than baking. Baking will dry the patties out a bit more than pan frying, but less oil is used. They also take longer to cook.
A. To Bake:
Preheat oven to 425F (218C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or use a silpat. Brush a layer of coconut oil on the parchment paper and lay a patty on top of it. Brush the top with more coconut oil. Repeat on the remaining patties. Bake each side for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt. To keep warm, turn the oven off, prop the door open and rest the patties in the oven.
B. To Pan Fry:
Preheat the oven to 200F (95C) and line a sheet-pan with parchment paper. Place the pan in the oven. This will keep the patties warm after they're cooked.
Add two to three Tbs of coconut oil to a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Heat until shimmering. Add three patties. Be sure to give them plenty of room. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, being careful when flipping the patty. Slide the patty on the parchment lined sheet pan in the oven. Sprinkle with sea salt. Finish cooking the remaining patties adding more oil as needed.
Store cooked patties in a lidded container for up to three days in the refrigerator, or stack the patties between pieces of parchment paper and slide into a freezer bag for longer storage. Freeze for up to two weeks.
For the Jalapeño Aioli:
Over the flame of a gas range, roast the jalapeño, turning with tongs as it blackens. You'll hear the pepper pop and smell it's smoky flavor. Once completely black, set it aside to cool while assembling the other ingredients. Cut off the stem and slice it into three chunks.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the mayo, lemon, garlic, salt and jalapeño. Process until all ingredients are incorporated and only small chunks remain. Store in the refrigerator in a lidded container until ready to use or for up to two weeks. Its flavor improves with time.
New to Homemade Veggie Burgers? It has been my experience that homemade veggie burgers have a tenderness and squeeze-out factor. When preparing the burgers, handle them carefully after forming the patties. I find supporting them with parchment to be an ideal way to make sure they stay together. When pan frying them, use two spatulas when flipping them, if needed. This gives the patty added support. There will be a bit of squeeze-out when biting into the burger. I usually end up with a fork in my hand to finish off a veggie burger. To me, these are acceptable characteristics. Pan frying yields a bit of charring on the burgers and is quicker than baking. Baking will dry the patties out a bit more than pan frying, but less oil is used. They also take longer to cook. Use whichever method works best for your needs.
*Pickled jalapeño rings work well here too. I've used up to 6 rings when replacing a fresh jalapeño (or if I'm too lazy to roast a fresh one :D ) **I make my own spice blend but have used the one linked to with excellent results. ***Patties can be cooked then frozen. To freeze, layer the patties between parchment paper, then freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to use. Reheat at 400F (200C) for about 15 minutes