Pumpkin + Chickpea Harissa Burgers

Pumpkin + Chickpea Harissa Burgers

The tricks to a good veggie burger are making it taste good to meat eaters (like me!) and getting it to stay together when you’re cooking it.  Last year I made Kate’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers.  I really felt empowered know I could make my own veggie burgers –and of course any way I wanted.

on a potato bread sandwich thin with spicy ketchup, spinach, and tomato

This uses her recipe as inspiration, but I changed a lot of things to make it the way I wanted.  Using canned pumpkin puree here is a great option because you don’t have to cook or mash any sweet potatoes.  I also used some leftover Perfectly Cooked Quinoa for this because I’d used it earlier this week for the Tuna Grain Bowls.  If you prefer, you can always use Brown Rice.

These burgers are not vegan or gluten free, but neither am I.  I like the addition of the eggs

on Dave’s Killer Good Seed Bread with mayo, spinach and red onion

and breadcrumbs because they help thicken and bind the burgers, and if you use seasoned panko breadcrumbs, you get even more flavor.

Harissa is a spicy African seasoning blend sold in both pastes and dry mixes.  I use this brand.  It includes paprika, caraway, crushed red chili pepper, cayenne, coriander, cumin, garlic, peppermint, and sea salt.  It’s similar to a curry or berbere flavor (for reference).  Worcestershire sauce is one of my secret weapons for savory dishes.  If I’m making something savory that needs that certain je ne sais quoi, I add Worcestershire.  I also added

on a potato bread sandwich thin with tomato and avocado slices

some liquid smoke because I’m not cooking these on an outdoor grill.  Veggie burgers are a little too fragile for an outdoor grill, in my opinion.  Liquid smoke gives it that hickory or mesquite flavor.  If you don’t have it, you can use a little extra Worcestershire sauce or some smoked paprika (smoky flavor, no heat as opposed to chipotle powder —smoky with lots of heat, and you’re already getting some heat from the harissa). 

Since we’re being healthy, let’s serve this with a healthier take on fries:  Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Ketchup.


Total Time: 45 minutes (plus overnight chill time)

Yield:  8 burgers

Difficulty Level:  Easy



1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can pumpkin puree

2 cups Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 egg

½ small red onion, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons harissa seasoning

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

15 drops liquid smoke

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking spray


To assemble:  Buns or rolls and burger toppings, such as lettuce or spinach, tomato, avocado, or sliced onion



  1. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to a large bowl. Use either a fork or a potato masher to mash them up.  Leave some whole and some more broken up for more texture.
  2. To the chickpeas, add the pumpkin puree, quinoa, breadcrumbs, eggs, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, harissa seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and salt and pepper. Gently mixed with a rubber spatula until all incorporated.
  3. Use your hands to divide the burger mixture into 8 equal balls. Shape the patties.
  4. Arrange parchment paper on a tray, casserole dish, or other storage container. Line up the patties on the parchment, and put parchment between any layered patties to prevent sticking.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Preheat a sauté pan or indoor grill to medium heat, and spray generously with cooking spray.
  7. Cook the burgers in batches for about 5 minutes per side, until nicely browned, moving them around as little as possible.
  8. Serve with your favorite burger topping and Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Ketchup**.



**Adapted from Cookie + Kate’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

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