Chickpea Burger

Introduction

When I was a kid in elementary school, I struggled to explain the definition of lacto-vegetarian to my classmates. Some of them knew what vegetarian and vegan meant, but the idea of not eating meat or eggs while still consuming dairy products was a novel concept to them. As the Macmillan Dictionary puts it, a lacto-vegetarian is “someone who chooses not to eat meat, fish, or eggs, but drinks milk and eats products made from it” (1). Though lacto-vegetarianism has run in my family for generations, I had not analyzed the environmental benefits of a lacto-vegetarian diet until very recently.

The ‘Chickpea Burger’ is a lacto-vegetarian recipe that my mother made as an alternative to ‘The Classic Burger’ found in many American restaurants. Though it has been years since my mother has made the recipe, this assignment reminded me of my constant (and possibly quite tiresome) requests for the dish when I was younger, as many of the restaurants I went to rarely offered veggie burgers that were even half as delicious. As I discovered from my trip to Publix, in addition to being a much cheaper alternative to ‘The Classic Burger’, the modified ‘Chickpea Burger’ leaves a much smaller carbon footprint due to the myriad of vegetarian substitutions in the recipe and the increased usage of locally grown foods.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SuperValueFlatbushProduce2.jpg

As I entered Publix to look for ingredients to my original recipe, I was instantly struck by the different varieties of produce to choose from at the first aisle of the store. The first challenge I faced was finding the right type of onions for my burger. The minced onions in the bag were not locally grown, but the more common bulb onion found on the grocery shelves was actually from Georgia. Although the minced onions would certainly be more convenient, I realized that using bulb onions, which were locally grown, would be much more sustainable in my revised recipe. Locally grown foods, as expressed by Wendell Berry, are usually “fresher, more nutritious, [and] less contaminated,” all of which reduce transportation costs as well as potential human health costs (82).

As I continued shopping for ingredients at Publix, I also noted down the prices of each item to gain an economic viewpoint of the original recipe. The exhaustive list of ingredients, which included a pound of ground beef ($4.69) and mayonnaise ($4.79) as the most expensive items, ended up coming to a grand total of $38.97. This provided conclusive evidence that making the ‘Classic Burger’ from scratch was both economically and environmentally unsustainable.

Fortunately, though, more sustainable options are available if you were ever to crave a homemade burger. My revised recipe substitutes the ground beef, egg, and worcestershire (which are all used to create the meat patty) for carrot, parsley, chickpeas, coriander, olive oil and cumin (which are all used to create a chickpea patty). Though a couple more ingredients are added, we are able minimize the costs since the spices and vegetables do not need to be bought in larger quantities, unlike eggs or ground beef. Additionally, there are more opportunities to purchase the items for the chickpea patty locally, since carrots and parsley can be bought at more local markets such as the Whole Foods Market. Finally, as a minor change, I substituted the mayonnaise for mustard to maintain the theme of the recipe being lacto-vegetarian. As can be seen, each of the abovementioned substitutions were either made to make the recipe lacto-vegetarian or account for more locally grown produce. “Meat, cheese, and eggs have the highest carbon footprint [while] vegetables…have [the least]” (Food’s Carbon Footprint 1). As such, the substitution of the chickpea patty for the meat patty makes the revised recipe much more sustainable than the original one. This revised recipe also maintains the savory taste of a burger through the inclusion of coriander and cumin spices in the patty and by retaining common condiments such as mustard, ketchup, salt, and pepper.

Overall, Berry’s idea of locally grown food being healthier, fresher, and more sustainable is very true. However, food that is locally grown and is lacto-vegetarian has benefits that eclipse even that of just locally grown foods. In addition to being environmentally sustainable, lacto-vegetarian foods that are locally grown “help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease” in humans and are much more economically sustainable (Lacto-Vegetarianism 1). Lacto-vegetarian foods are not always bland either, as seen in the Chickpea Burger after the addition of spices. If people start eating more food that is locally grown and lacto-vegetarian, we may be able to achieve Berry’s idea of an ideal sustainable world to an even greater degree. Until then, however, we must content ourselves with delicious Chickpea Burgers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_hamburger#/media/File:NCI_Visuals_Food_Hamburger.jpg

Original Recipe: The Classic Burger
  • 1 pound ground lean (7% fat) beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns (4 in. wide), split
  • About 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • About 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped
  • 1 firm-ripe tomato, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices red onion
Directions to make The Classic Burger:
Step 1

In a bowl, mix ground beef, egg, onion, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well blended. Divide mixture into four equal portions and shape each into a patty about 4 inches wide.

Step 2

Lay burgers on an oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook burgers, turning once, until browned on both sides and no longer pink inside (cut to test), 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove from grill.

Step 3

Lay buns, cut side down, on grill and cook until lightly toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Step 4

Spread mayonnaise and ketchup on bun bottoms. Add lettuce, tomato, burger, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Set bun tops in place.

https://pixabay.com/en/recipes-burgers-vegetables-burger-2920072/

Modified Recipe: The Chickpea Burger
  • 1 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 carrot, peeled chunked
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns (4 in. wide), split
  • About 1/4 cup ketchup
  • About ¼ cup mustard
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped
  • 1 firm-ripe tomato, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices red onion
Directions to make The Chickpea Burger

Step 1

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté, for 5 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl. In a food processor, blend carrot, garlic, parsley, and chickpeas until smooth. Add chickpea mixture to bowl with onions and mix to combine. Add bread crumbs, salt, coriander, and cumin, and mix until fully combined.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Form chickpea mixture into four patties. Place on prepared baking sheet and use a pastry brush to brush patties with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until beginning to turn golden brown.

Step 3

Lay buns, cut side down, on grill and cook until lightly toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Step 4

Spread mustard and ketchup on bun bottoms. Add lettuce, tomato, chickpea patty, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Set bun tops in place.

 

 

Works Cited:

Anusasananan, Linda Lau. “The Classic Burger.” MyRecipes, MyRecipes, July 2005, www.myrecipes.com/recipe/classic-burger.

Berry, Wendell. Think Little. Whole Earth Catalog, 1971.

Creades. “Recipes Burgers Vegetables.” Pixabay.com, Pixabay, pixabay.com/en/recipes-burgers-vegetables-burger-2920072/.

Dhatt, Jaskarn. “Super Value Flatbush Produce.” Commons.wikimedia.org, Wikimedia, 6 July 2009, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SuperValueFlatbushProduce2.jpg.

Green Eatz. “Food’s Carbon Footprint.” Green Eatz, WordPress, 16 Mar. 2011, www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html.

“Lacto-Vegetarian (Noun) American English Definition and Synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary.” Grassroots (Adjective) American English Definition and Synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary, Springer Nature Limited, 6 Apr. 2009, www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/lacto-vegetarian.

“Lacto-Vegetarianism.” Diet.com, Diet Health Inc., 1 Dec. 2008, www.diet.com/g/lactovegetarianism.

Morris, Katie. “Baked Chickpea Burgers.” Greatist, Greatist, 13 July 2015, greatist.com/eat/recipes/baked-chickpea-burgers.

Rizzi, Len. “Hamburger Profile Showing the Typical Ingredients.” Wikipedia.org, Wikipedia, 17 July 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_hamburger#/media/File:NCI_Visuals_Food_Hamburger.jpg.