Chickpea and veggie pitta burgers

These veggie burgers are super fast to make, and do not require any fancy kitchen equipment.They can be made for a quick lunch or dinner. The delicious, soft, flavoursome patties make a great accompaniment to the fluffy texture of the pitta bread and the crunchy salad.

If you don’t have time to make the pitta bread. I would suggest making the veggie burgers and sandwiching them between some store-bought burger buns or eating them with some fresh salad. You will not regret it!

Making pitta bread from scratch is really easy and only uses a few ingredients; water, flour, yeast, salt and oil. So if you have a bit of extra time, I strongly recommend giving it a try. It tastes much better than any pitta you would buy from a supermarket.

The pitta bread can be cooked in the oven or on the stovetop; however, I prefer using the oven because the dough puffs up much more, resulting in a softer texture. Using the oven also means that I can cook more than one pitta pocket at once.

Pitta is not only great with these veggie burgers but is also tasty when filled with seasoned chicken, dipped in hummus or topped with tomato sauce and cheese for a delicious pitta pizza.

(Scroll to the end for full recipe)

1) Begin by, creating the pitta bread dough by combining the yeast, water, flour, salt and oil to create a soft dough. Then, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface (do not add too much flour as this will change the texture of the dough). The kneading process warms up and stretches the strands of gluten in the mixture producing a smooth elastic texture. When you achieve this consistency, you know your dough is ready to rise.

2) Next, place the dough into a large lightly oiled bowl (I used 1 tsp of olive oil), and cover it with cling film or a damp tea towel. Then leave it to rise in a warm place for up to an hour.

Once the dough has risen, it should have doubled in size and should be light and airy.

Why use warm water?

In the initial stages of making the dough flour, yeast, salt and oil are combined with warm water. It is essential to use warm water (32-38°C) to activate the yeast allowing it to produce the gases which create air pockets in the bread, causing it to rise. If the water is too cold, the process will be slowed down, and the dough will not rise as well. Using water that is too hot (above 38°C) will kill the yeast, so it will no longer produce the gas needed for the bread to rise.

Tip: If you do not have a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water. Mix 300ml of boiling water with 600ml of cold water, then measure out what is needed for the recipe.

3) After the dough has risen, preheat the oven to the highest temperature (250°C/Gas mark 9) and place a tray on the middle shelf. I flipped the tray upside down so that there was a larger surface area to cook the bread on.

4) Next, slowly punch the air out of the risen dough and separate it into 8 even-sized balls. Roll each ball out onto a lightly floured surface, forming long oval shapes. The dough will be quite elastic at this stage so it may take some time to form the shapes.

Tip: You can also use a sheet of greaseproof paper to roll out the dough. It is faster and there is less mess to clean up at the end.

5) Remove the hot tray from the oven, and place the pitta ovals straight onto the tray. Then, quickly return it to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes until the bread has puffed up and is a pale golden colour. You may have to cook the bread in batches depending on the size of your oven and baking tray (I cooked mine in three batches).

Tip: Cover the cooked pitta bread with a clean, dry cloth to keep the bread soft, and to stop it from drying out.

6) Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4

7) For the vegetable burgers, drain and rinse one tin of chickpeas then pat them dry with a few sheets of kitchen towel. You can place the chickpeas on a baking tray and flash them in the oven for 1-2 minutes to dry them out, but be careful not to leave them in too long, or your veggie burgers will have a dried texture.

8) Then, prepare the vegetables by finely dicing the red onion and garlic, roughly shredding the spinach and peeling and grating the carrot. Mash together the veggies and chickpeas along with paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, pepper, lemon juice and plain flour.

Tip: If you do not have a potato masher, use a fork or transfer the mixture to a zip lock bag and mash it using your hands.

Substitutes:

I used this combination of vegetables in the burger because I believed they all brought something different to the table. The grated carrots created contrast in texture, giving the slightest crunch when biting into the patty. While the diced onions and garlic added a mellow sweet and aromatic flavour. Finally, the spinach added a vibrant pop of colour to the patties and complimented the veggies already added. Certain ingredients in this recipe can be substituted and the veggie burger will still taste delicious.

  • The red onion can be substituted with white onion.
  • Garlic powder can be used instead of fresh garlic.
  • Fresh coriander or parsley can be used instead of spinach.
  • The carrots can be left out of the recipe if you prefer a softer texture when biting into the burger.
  • If you like spicy food, why not add half a fresh chilli or 1 tsp chilli flakes.

9) Shape the chickpea mixture into 6 evenly sized patties, then fry in 1 tbsp rapeseed oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the frying pan a place onto a lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven at 180°C/Gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.

Tip: You can make 4 larger veggie patties or eight smaller ones. Slightly adjust the cooking time in the oven by 1 or 2 minutes depending on the size you want.

10) Carefully slice open the pitta bread a to form large pockets. Spread a generous amount of hummus on the bottom layer then place the veggie burgers on top. Then add your choice of salad and spoon on the delicious yoghurt sauce

I used store-bought red pepper hummus because it tastes amazing! (Try it if you haven’t already).

Fillings:

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can adjust the fillings to your taste. Why not try adding shredded meat, lamb burgers, grilled fish or vegetables.

Recipe

Serves: 6

Preparation: 15 minutes (plus 1-hour rising time)

Cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Pitta bread:
  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 7g Dried easy-blend yeast
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 300ml Warm water
for the veggie burgers:
  • 1 Small carrot
  • 1 Tin chickpeas (240g once drained)
  • 1 Small red onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • A Small handful of spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Plain flour
FIllings:
  • 4 tbsp Plain yoghurt
  • 3/4 tsp Mint sauce
  • 1 tbsp Grated cucumber
  •  A handful of salad leaves
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • Red pepper hummus

Method:

for the pitta bread:
  1. In a large bowl mix together the yeast and warm water, then leave to rest for 5 minutes until the yeast forms bubbles.
  2. Next, add in the flour, salt and olive oil and bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.
  3. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Then place into a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise/double in size for up to 1 hour.
  4. PROCEED TO VEGGIE BURGER METHOD.
  5. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature (250°C/Gas mark 9).
  6. Turn a large baking tray upside down and place it in the centre of the oven.
  7. Lightly punch the air out of the dough and divide into eight even-sized balls.
  8. Flatten the balls into disks, then roll out on a lightly floured surface into thin ovals (approximately 1/2 cm thick and 15 cm long).
  9. Carefully remove the hot baking tray from the oven and lightly dust with flour.
  10. Place the pitta ovals straight on to the tray and quickly place it in the oven.
  11. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the pitta have puffed up and are light gold in colour. Place the bread onto a tray and cover with a dry towel to keep if soft and moist.
  12. PROCEED TO STEP 6 OF THE VEGGIE BURGER METHOD.
for the veggie burgers:
  1. Firstly, finely dice the red onion and garlic. Then peel and grate the carrot, and roughly shred the spinach.
  2. Next, drain and rinse the chickpeas, then spread them onto a tray and pat dry with a few sheets of kitchen towel.
  3. Place the prepped veggies and chickpeas into a medium-sized bowl, along with the paprika, cumin, ground coriander, salt, pepper, lemon juice and flour.
  4. Mash all of the ingredients together using a potato masher, until well combined.
  5. Shape the mixture into six evenly sized patties, then cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
  6. PROCEED TO STEP 5 OF THE PITTA BREAD METHOD.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
  8. Uncover the veggie patties and fry both sides on a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
For the filling:
  1. To make the cucumber and yoghurt dip, mix the mint sauce, cucumber, salt and pepper into the plain yoghurt until well incorporated.
  2. Thinly slice the bell pepper for the salad filling.
assembling the burgers:
  1. Carefully, slice open the pitta bread and generously smother the base with the red pepper hummus.
  2. Cut the veggie burger in half and add it into the pitta bread.
  3. Then, load with the mixed leaf salad and peppers, spoon in the yoghurt dip and enjoy!

 

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