You should get to know walnuts. They are super nutritious because they have a large amounts of polyunsaturated fats, and surprisingly high amounts of protein, fiber, even vitamins B-6.
Walnuts are also fun and funky. They look like large, green balls when young, and their pretty green skin shrivels into dark brown to black husk as they ripen. This husk eventually falls off, revealing the nut. If you do find yourself with a pile of walnuts still wearing their husks on your hands, do use gloves when peeling them. The walnut husks will release dark brown pigments that will color your skin, and the stuff does not come off easily. It’s actually still used as a natural hair dye in some places, and if you ever get a pile of green walnuts stick them into some brandy and make some dark liquor called nocino.
If you are like me, chances are the walnuts you can easily find come nicely cleaned and sometimes even chopped. These days I prefer to get chopped walnuts as that speeds things up in the kitchen. I use walnuts in my desserts, as a quick snack, and as a meat substitute. This recipe here falls into the “walnuts as a meat replacement” category and to boost their meaty flavor I combine them with sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder. This serves as a fantastic flavor add-on to chickpeas, which are the main ingredients in this burger. Having said that, I think chunks chickpeas here are more of a filler and that walnuts and the sundried tomatoes are the stars.
The main binding agents here are flax meal and bread crumbs. Flax meal has to be soaked in hot water for about fifteen minutes, which should be enough to transform it into sticky goo that you can use instead of eggs as a binding agent.
Chickpea Burgers with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Walnut Meat
What you’ll need:
1 onion, diced
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3 oz. (85 g) sun dried tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons flax meal
6 tablespoons water, boiling
2 15.5 oz. (439g) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili
What you’ll do:
- In a large cup or a measuring cup mix flax meal and the boiling water. Let the mixture stand for 15-20 minutes.
- Spray the bottom of a large frying or sauté pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes until the onions are nicely caramelized.
- Add chopped walnuts and let them toast slightly. This will take 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes, mix well and sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Transfer the sautéed mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the chickpeas that have been carefully washed, drained and half-mashed with either a hand or a fork. Add the soaked flax meal, spices, oil, and bread crumbs and mix well.
- Form the burger patties, and place them on the wax paper lined platter. Put the patties in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
- Grill the burgers using an outside or an inside grill, or a grill pan. These burgers are sturdy and should not fall apart while grilling. They need 3-5 minutes per side to get nice grill marks.
- Serve them on a ham burger bun with your choice of toppings and condiments!!!
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