Fix-all chickpea burgers: surviving your first BBQ as a vegan

Fix-all chickpea burgers 

Barbecuing is a bit of a foodie minefield even among hardcore meat-eaters, so it was with some trepidation that I made my way down to my first barbecue as a vegan. But I came duly prepared with these fix-all chickpea burgers and a trusty pack of Linda McCartney sausages in case of emergency (i.e. if everyone pounced on the chickpea burgers, which, of course, they did) and it was a BBQ breeeeeze.

A a vegan, the key tip to surviving any barbecue you've been invited to is to cook what you can before-hand, or be prepared to ask your host for a fresh frying pan/oven that hasn't been cooking meat. If there's already meat on the barbecue there's not much you can do, but if you've cooked your food once before, you can tuck in without causing too much fuss over at the grill. 

And the other thing to bear in mind? Barbecuing is essentially an outdoor pot-luck party. It's a great chance to bring your favourite vegan recipes for all your friends/family to try when they load up their plates. So bring extra and leave a platter for everyone to sample. 

Makes around 12 small-sized burgers

1 400g tin of cooked chickpeas- drained (check the 'World Foods' aisle of your local supermarket- they're always cheaper there)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves 
Handful of chopped parsley
1/4 tin chopped tomatoes, or half a jar of tomato salsa
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Plain flour to add to consistency, around 200g.

Grab the biggest mixing bowl you can find, and add all ingredients apart from the flour. Mix in a blender or hand blender until you have a coarse paste where you can still see bits of onion and parsley. Then begin to add the flour as you mix by hand. No-one likes a crumbly burger so the burger mix needs to be strong enough to hold up a table spoon in the middle of the mixing bowl. Remember you can taste as you go- so add more pepper, herbs or oil until you're satisfied with your mixture.

Sprinkle a little flour on a side dish, take a handful of the mixture and roll it in the flour dish until it isn't sticky to touch. Then pat into a burger shape. Once you've done three or four, heat your pan with oil and place them in once hot. As long as you keep your attention on the pan, you can carry on making the burgers at the side of the stove. 

Check how your burgers are getting on every one-two minutes, and then flip over to cook on the other side, spending about three/four minutes on each side. 

Allow to cool on a plate, then box up and they're ready to go! They'll only need a few minutes on a hot grill at a barbecue, or five minutes in a hot oven. Hey presto! You survived! Just remember to nab yourself a burger before everyone else does.

P.S. I've got plenty more ideas for vegan burger recipes to try out over summer, so will be honing this recipe to perfection in the coming months. Let me know if you've got any other vegan burger recipes you can't barbecue without!