Alison is a registered dietitian, board-certified in oncology nutrition, and a cancer thriver. Her expertise in oncology nutrition and personal experience with her own cancer diagnosis and its treatment provide her with the unique perspective of being able to relate to her clients on an entirely different level. Her content is consistently focused on evidence-based guidelines and seeks to increase the awareness of the power of nutrition to complement traditional cancer therapies.
Despite being plant-based, I still l o v e grilling season! When many hear I love to grill, they are often confused since they know I do not eat meat. The thought is then, well, what do you grill?
Veggies. Veggies. Veggies.
Oh, and of course some amazing bean or plant-based burgers!
In our household, we eat plant-based. When we are out to eat, my husband will sometimes get a hamburger or other entree with meat/poultry. Although he enjoys our plant-based way of eating [yes, he truly does enjoy it!], he often gets the desire to grill. As you know, grilling provides flavors you just can’t get when cooking in the oven, on the stovetop or with a griddle. So when he is looking to grill, we love throwing any vegetable(s) we have into a grill basket along side a wonderful bean or plant-based burger.
If you are signed up for Wholesome emails, you are familiar with our Black Bean Burgers exclusive to our email subscribers. These bean burgers have quite the reputation among my patients since they are incredibly s i m p l e to make and taste delicious! But every once in a while, we love to mix it up with these Italian Chickpea Burgers. Those who have tried these during our testing period have said these are right up there with our exclusive black bean burgers…maybe even better!
When it comes to what I think is best, I believe it all depends on the flavors I am craving.
Please don’t let the longer list of ingredients scare you away from this recipe! The ingredients are simple and tend to be household staples–perhaps with the exception of fresh basil.
We enjoy these burgers year-round cooked on a griddle, but do particularly like the flavor achieved when grilling them. Not only do we enjoy the grilled flavor, but we are rest assured we are protected from carcinogens (or, cancer causing substances) which are created when cooking animal proteins at high temperatures. Unfortunately, cooking meats at high-temperatures creates something called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). (1)
More simply put, HCAs and PAHs are cancer causing substances which have been linked to cancer development. Unfortunately, they are also linked to the initiation (start), growth, and spread of cancer cells. (1, 2)
Thankfully, these harmful substances are not created when grilling plant-based foods–like these chickpea burgers.
Dr. Greger has a great, short video here to review this information as well.
Makes: 4 large burgers
In a small bowl or dish, add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the burger.
Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Once heated, add the diced red onion. Saute the red onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water as needed if the onions begin to stick. Next, add the
minced garlic until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Transfer onion and garlic to a large bowl.
Using a food processor, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Pulse until the mixture is broken down into small pieces, but before it starts to become a smooth mixture. Add to the onion and garlic mixture.
Next, grind the raw cashews into small pieces, similar to the chickpeas. Add to the same large bowl.
If needed, grind your oats to make oat flour. Add to same large bowl.
To the mixture in the large bowl, add the oregano, thyme, rosemary, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, flax & water mixture, salt & pepper. Mix until combined. The mixture should be sticking together without sticking
to your hands too much. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water, as needed. It the mixture is too wet, add 1 tablespoon of oat flour, if needed. Feel free to taste the uncooked mixture at this point to adjust
the seasonings, if needed.**
Patty the mixture into 4 burger patties.
Preheat a non-stick skillet, stovetop pan, or grill to medium heat.*** (If you do not have a non-stick surface, you may have to add a small amount of oil.) Add each patty and cook until browned, about 5 minutes on each side.
Once done, assemble the burgers with desired toppings.
a l i s o n
*Instead of buying oat flour, you can simply grind 1⁄2 cup old fashioned oats into a flour. Or, you can really substitute
** The benefits of plant-based cooking!
***If grilling, we recommend you place the burgers on a small piece of aluminum foil with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking.
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
1 small red onion, diced (about 3 ⁄ 4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1, 15-ounce can chickpeas, no-salt added, rinsed & drained
1 ⁄ 2 cup raw cashews
1 ⁄ 2 cup oat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 ⁄ 4 cup fresh basil, loosely packed & roughly chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
4 whole wheat/grain hamburger buns (i.e. Angelic Bakehouse)
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Butter Lettuce Leafs
(1) World Cancer Research Fund International. (n.d.). Third Expert Report: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Cancer Process. Retrieved June 18, 2018, from https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer
(2) Zheng, W., MD, PhD, & Lee, S., PhD. (2009). Well-done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutrition & Cancer, 61(4), 437-446. doi:10.1080/01635580802710741