Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Veggie Burgers

Do you ever get totally obsessed with one ingredient? Like, you find an ingredient that you suddenly want to wife up and NEED TO ADD TO EVERYTHING EVEN THOUGH PICKLED ASPARAGUS AND KUMQUATS REALLY AREN’T A THING. My ingredient du jour is sun-dried tomatoes. I can’t really explain it (maybe I’m lusting for the soon-to-be tomato season? Maybe I’ve been eating canned/jarred food for so many months straight that I can only eat vegetables that have been preserved?). Whatever the reason, I can’t stop. Sun-dried tomatoes, I wish I could quit you, but I can’t.

pesto veggie burgers

I like to buy them packed in oil because they are already nice and plump and perfect for adding to pasta, salads, sandwiches, pancakes… I really did try that. Verdict: Pretty good.
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Of course, a natural use for sun-dried tomatoes is in sun-dried tomato pesto. It goes without saying that tomatoes and basil are an incredible pairing (#italianshit), but somehow this fact continues to surprise me and rain joyful flavor showers on my tastebuds all the time. I made these burgers a pesto double whammy by filling them with pesto and topping them with a hearty smear of extra pesto. You may opt to top them with other condiments, but if you choose pesto it’s pretty tasty. YOU WON’T BE SORRY, JUST SAYING.

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The patties are quick to make and brown up really nicely in the oven. Fresh basil is a must, but otherwise the ingredients happen to be all shelf-stable for year-round summery flavor.

OH AND LET’S NOT FORGET THIS IS THE 21ST WAY TO LOVE A CHICKPEA.

Sun-dried Tomato Chickpea Veggie Burgers

Makes 4 (double if you’re serving a crowd)

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts + 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (loosely packed) + 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (condiment)

  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomato, packed in oil (1.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 clove garlic

Preheat oven to 400*

1. Add the chickpeas to a food processor and process for 20 seconds, until a thick past begins to form. Remove and pour into a large bowl.

2. Add the cooked brown rice and process for 10-15 seconds until loosely chopped. Combine with the chickpea mash.

3. Pour the pine nuts into the food processor, pulse until they’re finely chopped, then add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Add a light drizzle of olive oil (or pour a bit of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar).  — I recommend doing the burger portion separate from the “condiment” portion so you can easily distinguish what goes where, but you can also do it all at once and then divide in half.

4. Combine the pesto mixture, brown rice, and chickpea mash and add 2 Tbs whole pine nuts and 1/4 cup loosely chopped basil. Use your hands to form the mixture into hockey puck patties (add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the mixture if necessary to make it more moist). This mixture will yield 4 patties.

5. Take a cookie sheet and spread olive oil on both the sheet and both sides of the burgers. It doesn’t take much, but omitting the oil will cause the burgers to stick to the sheet and can burn. Place the four patties on the sheet and place in the oven for 10-14 minutes, flipping carefully halfway through.

For the pesto topping:

Simply repeat step 3 with remaining pine nuts, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and olive oil.

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