I’m always vaguely attracted to vegetarian burger recipes. All the fun of a burger, none of the red-meat saturated-fat guilt. But the sad truth is this: meat, red meat, fatty red meat… tastes good. Vegetables pretending to be meat… not so good.
This recipe turns out cooked chickpea burgers that are too self-conscious of their meat-substitute role. They even come out a similar colour to a real burger. (Mine turned out fatter, browner, and less green than the staged Food Network photo.) The heavy handful of walnuts gives them a strong nutty taste, and this may be their downfall: at heart, this is that old and dull vegetarian cliché, nut loaf.
So, not a success as a burger; so much so that neither of us could face them a second time. Tonight, though, I tried recasting the rest of the mixture as a walnutty take on falafel, reasoning that a pita bread, some salad, and a creamy garlic sauce is a much more natural home for a chickpea than is a hamburger bun. Much better.
But still not a keeper: why make something which dully approaches falafel when you could just make falafel to begin with? But never mind; another day, another recipe, right?