Recipe: Grilled Chickpea Burgers with Lemon Tahini Sauce

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate America.  And to many Americans it’s a day to celebrate the grill.  If you’re looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous burger, dog, chicken or rib, try these heart-healthy, waist-friendly, and all-around nutritious chickpea burgers.  Full of protein, iron, folic acid, and fiber, this seriously delicious version tastes nothing like those store-bought frozen hockey pucks.  The tahini adds creaminess and the hot sauce a kick, while the cucumbers and tomatoes give it that perfect summer burger taste.  And unlike many other veggie burgers, these will actually stand up to your grill.  Because we all know there’s nothing worse than little pieces of veggie mush falling through the cracks of a grill grate.

Grilled Chickpea Burgers with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Serves 6


  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15.5-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)
  • 1 large egg
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 six-inch pitas
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach or arugula leaves
  • Hot sauce, optional


Heat outdoor/indoor grill.

In the food processor, combine 1.5 cups (1 can) of the chickpeas with oil, garlic, cumin, 2 tablespoons of the tahini, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the egg, and ¾ teaspoon salt; puree until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas, the breadcrumbs, parsley, and cilantro; pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped and the mixture is well blended.

Put the 1/4 cup of tahini in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons water and the 1/4 cup of lemon juice until smooth.  Stir in salt and black pepper, to taste.

Shape the chickpea mixture into 6 patties (about 3/4 inch thick).  Refrigerate patties for 10-15 minutes.  When ready to cook, brush both sides of each patty with oil.  Grill until heated through and marked on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Cut the pitas in half and heat briefly on the grill. Layer the burgers in the pitas with the sliced cucumber, tomatoes and greens, drizzle with tahini dressing and hot sauce (if using).  Serve.

Happy 4th!



3 thoughts on “Recipe: Grilled Chickpea Burgers with Lemon Tahini Sauce

  1. Made this over salad instead of in pitas the other night – SO DELICIOUS!! And I felt so good knowing that I wasn’t eating something fried. Can’t wait to make them again.

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