Blogging gives lots of gifts, but the opportunities to connect with souls you may have never met otherwise has got to be my favorite–and a perfect example of that would be the very lovely Erin Alderson from Naturally Ella. I can’t talk about Erin without gushing because she is at once an incredibly talented recipe developer/photographer and a genuinely kind and thoughtful person that Tim and I are blessed to have sat down with in offline life.
Like me, she’s originally from Illinois but now lives somewhere totally different (in her case, California!) because of love. She is also, insert squeal here, 36 weeks pregnant right now (!!), soon to deliver her first child, a boy, and so today a bunch of bloggers are celebrating her in a virtual baby shower filled with easy vegetarian meals (all the shower/recipe links are at the bottom, just before the recipe break). For our contribution, we’re bringing these burgers, which are Erin’s original recipe, taken from her recently released new book.
I made the easy choice of making one of Erin’s own recipes for this post because, as you may remember, Erin’s first book, The Homemade Flour Cookbook, is the one I raved about here last year, and her new book, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen is another that gets me into all kinds of superlatives.
I just can’t think of a resource anywhere that I trust as quickly as Erin when it comes to vegetarian recipe ideas because everything she makes looks gorgeous, feels approachable and 100% of the time turns out to be a great dish when we make it.
The new book from which these burgers come is such a brilliant concept—recipe formulas for kitchen staples like omelets and panzanellas and flatbreads and risotto, each spun four different ways to show how creativity in the kitchen can work. The fact that it’s all vegetarian is even more impressive because it’s like someone has finally offered the perfect answer to “What else can we do with fruit and vegetables?” but, in keeping with Erin’s style, in a super approachable way for the home cook.
Erin, We’re so excited for you to become a mama and get to bless a new little human with your skilled, hard-working, consistently humble approach to everything you do! This baby is rich already, and we say that, so seriously, because he’s got you. I can’t wait to watch you love him and learn from him and pass on anything and everything you know (we’re a month behind you, so give us all the tips, haha!). Genuinely jumping up and down with joy and so much hope for you and M and for this little miracle. xx and let’s plan a cross-country play date sometime soon!
Chickpea Veggie Burgers
Makes four burgers
Erin says in her book headnote that she’s kind of picky about veggie burgers, which is something anyone who’s had a bad version of a veggie burger will understand. They’re often flavorless or have weird textures or, super common ailment, easily fall apart. So to remedy this, here, she uses a chickpea-based recipe that comes together quickly in a food processor, then forms that mixture into patties and bakes the mounds before grilling or, in our case, sautéing to brown. The preliminary bake time firms up the burgers and makes them much more stable and able to hold their shape, and the sautéing or grilling gives a great crisp exterior into which you can bite. We ate ours with lettuce and ketchup and dijon!
1/4 small onion, roughly chopped (or 1/2 small onion)
1/2 cup (130g) chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned)
1/2 cup (30g) bread crumbs (we used toasted einkorn sourdough whizzed in the food processor)
1/4 cup (30g) flour (we used einkorn flour)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (14g) sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano (I actually used a spice blend that includes oregano)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (40g) fresh spinach leaves, packed
optional: coconut oil, for sautéing
Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the onion into small pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients, chickpeas through salt, waiting on the spinach for a bit. Blend until well combined, with the egg and flour evenly dispersed throughout. Then, add the spinach, pulse again and stop when everything is just combined.
Remove the blade from the food processor and, with wet hands, form four equal patties and set them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then either grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or, what we did, sauté on the stove in a little coconut oil until browned on each side.
Serve on buns, with your choice of condiments (we did lettuce, ketchup and dijon mustard). Enjoy!
Another great meatless burger is our black bean burger. Try it for your next barbecue!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.