Thomasina Miers’ recipe for falafel burgers with feta tzatziki

I absolutely adore burgers. I am fully signed up to the environmental benefits of grass-fed beef, but I give a wide berth to factory-farmed animals not only for reasons of welfare, but also for their damaging effects on all sorts of aspects of nature. So, when hankering for a burger fix, I often like to try out different veggie versions to mix things up. This mouthwatering one is a definite keeper; the pickled chillies provide a delicious element of heat (look for Turkish and Spanish varieties – both are great).

You’ll need to soak the chickpeas overnight, but otherwise this is a pretty simple assemble-and-fry job, with delicious results.

Prep 20 min
Soak overnight
Chill 1 hr
Cooks 25 min
Makes 4

For the falafel
1 small onion, peeled
3 garlic cloves
, peeled
1 small bunch parsley, a small handful reserved for the tzatziki
½ small bunch dill, a small handful reserved for the tzatziki
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
200g dried chickpeas
, soaked overnight in cold water
2½ tbsp gram or plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Vegetable oil
, for frying

For the tzatziki sauce
300g Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove
, peeled and crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
60g feta
, crumbled

To serve
4 burger buns
Pickled chillies
, sliced, plus 1 tsp pickle juice for the tzatziki
A few slices
A few handfuls
watercress or lettuce leaves

Put the onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a food processor and blitz until coarsely chopped. Drain the chickpeas, roughly dry them in a tea towel, add to the processor with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, and blitz until everything is finely chopped.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the flour and baking powder. The mix should hold together when you grab a handful; if it doesn’t, add a little more flour. Pop in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.

Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. Finely chop the reserved herbs and mix them into the yoghurt with the garlic, lemon and feta. Stir in a teaspoon of the chilli pickle juice and season to taste.

Pour ½cm oil into a large frying pan and put on a medium-high heat. Shape the falafel mix into patties about 8-10cm in diameter and 2cm thick. Once the oil is shimmering, fry the patties two at a time for two to three minutes on each side, until dark golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Toast the buns, then slather with a generous amount of tzatziki. Stuff with the falafel, chillies, cucumber slices and salad, and eat immediately.

The tzatziki is great with carrot or courgette fritters (try them stuffed into pitta pockets) and as a dip for roast new potatoes.

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