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vegetarian chickpeas and brown rice burgers

I am Bonkers for this Bean Burger

I am Bonkers for this Bean Burger

by Daniel Smith, ND

vegetarian chickpeas and brown rice burgersOnce a year, instead of focusing on a health topic, I like to publish my latest favorite recipe. This year I am going to offer a real gem: Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers. I have to say that it took a long time to find a bean burger that I liked. I find most of them to have an unpalatable texture. Not so with these burgers, especially if you are a fan of falafel. I don’t mean the Americanized version of falafel that is a culinary nightmare, deep fried in trans-fat oils. These burger are similar to falafel done right, both wholesome and nutritious. Here the secret ingredient is the basmati rice, which holds the chickpea mixture together and creates a complete protein (due to the presence of methionine for you obsessive bookworms out there). Its flavor arises from the inclusion of the perfect blend of spices. These burgers go well on a whole wheat bun, but can be just as tasty without one, perhaps as a side to a salad. The original recipe comes from Rebecca Katz’s The Cancer Fighting Kitchen.

There are a number of reasons why this burger works for me, apart from its wonderful taste. It has a quick prep time (15 minutes), it freezes well for future meals and my six year old son loves them. I also enjoy making recipes from fresh foods. For example, rather than choosing to use canned beans, I use fresh beans that need to be soaked and cooked. This adds a short amount of prep time, but imparts a better flavor to the burgers. From a medicinal perspective, these burgers provide a decent amount of protein (3 grams) and only a moderate amount of carbohydrates (15 grams). Garbanzo beans have a very low glycemic index, meaning they will not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. They have also been demonstrated to reduce sugar cravings. The benefits of the included spices are too voluminous to be included in just a few sentences but here are a few: Turmeric is extolled in many cultures for its virtues including its potent anti-inflammatory effects, its use as a digestive aid and its cleansing properties. More recently, studies show that the powerful healing properties of turmeric can help to prevent and treat serious diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type-2 diabetes. Research suggests that turmeric enhances our ability to protect ourselves against cancer and supports conventional cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation. And cinnamon is one of the most potent herbs capable of lower one’s blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity. But enough about the health benefits…I encourage you to dive into this wonderful recipe and taste it for yourself!

2 cups chickpeas, soaked 4-8 hours, drained and cooked

2 1/2 cups brown rice. I also soak the rice for 4-8 hours. Drain and cook.

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 organic egg, beaten

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs juice of a freshly squeezed lemon

1/4 cup loosely packed minced parsley

Optional: 3 Tbs finely diced red pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the cooked chickpeas, salt, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, egg, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the rice, bell pepper and parsley. Moisten your hand to keep the mixture from sticking, then shape the mixture into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties about 2-3 inches in diameter. Place them on the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. For a crispier burger, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet and cook over medium heat for about three minutes.

Dr. Daniel Smith practices at Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic. His office is on 2612 Barnett Ave.  He specializes in naturopathic oncology, but still maintains a strong family practice, treating all manner of conditions. He can be reached at 541-770-5563. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please ask specifically for Dr. Dan.

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