I’ve been resistant to raising the temperature in my kitchen by a single degree. But these quinoa chickpea za’atar burgers were a very good reason to do it!
Between summer and coursework, I’ve barely been cooking lately. What I love about these plant-based patties is that they’re really easy to make. Sure, there’s cooking involved, but it’s pretty streamlined. And you’ll have the option of grilling as well as baking, which saves some time.
Believe it or not, veggie burgers are one of the foods I struggle most with. This isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of recipes that I love. My artichoke, white bean & quinoa burgers, sweet potato chickpea burgers, and unfussy black bean sweet potato burgers are some of my go-to choices for meal prep and batch cooking.
But I’ve also had a ton of flops. Mushy burgers, crumbly burgers, bland burgers, salty burgers—I’ve made them all. Usually, getting a veggie burger right requires lots of different components and fine tuning. These quinoa chickpea za’atar burgers were a welcome change. They came together without much fuss, and their texture held up really nicely.
The flavorful twist in this dish is za’atar spice. Za’atar is a blend of sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame, and salt. Sometimes, pine nuts or cumin are mixed in. The flavor is hard to sum up, but I guess I’d call it both savory and slightly lemony, thanks to the sumac.
I’ve long hoped to experiment with a homemade za’atar blend. Until I do, it’s possible to find za’atar in Middle Eastern markets and even in mainstream grocery stores.
The chickpeas in this recipe should be cooked when you start. You can use canned or soak and cook them yourself! If you’re out of chickpeas, try using white beans in their place.
I use white quinoa in this recipe, but red or black quinoa will work well. The fact that quinoa is a gluten-free grain makes this a good recipe for sharing with GF eaters. And the complete protein in quinoa is a good nutrition bonus, too!
The tahini dressing served with the quinoa chickpea burgers serves a lot of purposes. It’s a saucy component, every bit as essential as ketchup with a regular burger. It also adds brightness and acidity to the dish, picking up the lemony flavor in the za’atar. I use tahini made from roasted sesame seeds, which I think has a milder and smoother flavor than raw tahini.
My second favorite part of making these burgers—eating them was first—is the fact that they gave me leftovers! Having leftover plant proteins at home is essential in these busy student days.
The burgers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. If you need to store them longer, you can freeze them for up to six weeks. To make the meal prep process easier, try cooking the quinoa in advance. It’ll speed up the burger-making process a lot!
Any fans of Za’atar spice out there? If so, I’d love to hear how you use it, and whether or not you make your own. In the meantime, hope you’ll like the way it seasons these vegan quinoa chickpea za’atar burgers.
Plant-based, nutritious, flavorful, and make ahead. These days, that’s the best kind of recipe I can think of! With that, it’s back to listening to the thunder that I’m hoping will cool D.C. down. Goodnight, friends.