Harissa, Zucchini and Chickpea Burgers

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Serves 4-6


1 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 medium zucchinis, finely diced
2 medium carrots, grated
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or cook up your own)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs, possibly more
1-2 tbsp harissa paste
1 egg, or binding replacement
½ cup chopped parsley or other herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper


This recipe of unknown origin was passed on from a friend’s collection of hand written gems, and has proved very handy already this bbq season. The original specified korma paste, but what I had on hand this time was harissa, so I’ve used that and to much applause. If your pantry lacks a jar of pre-made punch like harissa or korma paste, try adding to the frypan a teaspoon each of spices like cumin, fennel, coriander and chilli for a little kick. These burgers are great in buns, wrapped in lettuce leaves with fresh sprouts, or topped with seasoned yoghurt, sauerkraut or some good old vinegary beetroot. (Dill cucumbers on the side, of course).

Harissa, Zucchini and Chickpea Burgers

Fry up the onion in the oil for 5 minutes over a low heat until soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic, zucchinis and carrots and fry together for another 5 minutes over a high heat until they start of soften. Leave the mixture to cool.

Mash or blend the chickpeas until sufficiently crushed. Put these into a large bowl, adding the cooked veggies and all the remaining ingredients, mixing well with your hands.

If you wish to avoid using an egg, it’s easily replaced with 1 tablespoon of either chia seeds or ground flaxseeds soaked briefly in 3 tablespoons of water. Their gelatinous nature will help hold the mixture together as an egg would.

With wet hands, shape into burgers and (if you have time) pop them in the fridge for an hour or two. Fry in a little oil in a frypan or on the bbq until adequately charred.

This quantity makes around 10 burgers.

Hints and Tips

Vegan if replacing the egg with an alternative binding agent!


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  1. I would love to try this recipe but I can’t eat chickpeas or similar, any
    Suggestions for a replacement?

    1. Hi Merle, try using the legumes or pulses that you do/can enjoy – I suspect any protein that can be mushed together and is not too moist would be a good alternative. It could even be more vegetables, perhaps even mixed with cooked quinoa for extra protein. Hope that helps! Thanks for the msg.

  2. Thanks for this….I love how you include other possibilities when ‘things’ may not be in your pantry. Now I need to mention I am not a good cook so is there an alternative to breadcrumbs? Or could I add more of something? I am gluten free. Many thanks for all your work.

    1. Julia, thanks so much, and you’re just like us! Working it out as we go, and enjoying the process regardless 😉
      As for breadcrumbs, not too sure but I’d say that as their function is to help bind the mixture, and because burger patties are VERY forgiving, you could definitely play around with tweaking the ratio of the other ingredients until the patties stick well together in your hand to be able to fry them up. I wonder if a sprinkle of chia seeds might give the absorption / stickiness you need in lieu of breadcrumbs? Let us know what you find works best!

  3. I made these and they were delicious however they really fell apart. Do you think it might be possible to bake them in the oven? Sue

  4. Gluten free bread crumbs can be made from any GF bread. Simply toast it until quite hard, let them cool, then blitz away. GF crackers blitzed can be used also.

  5. Hello Ceres,
    I had a lovely time on Sunday making these between lego creations and cricket in the park.
    Astonishingly I didn’t have any zucchini, but did have beetroot and sweet potato. Kept spice simple for kiddies, and used chia and psyllium husk to help bind as didn’t have any bread crumbs. Doing a little bit here and there through out the day worked a treat as gave time for the ingredients to bind. They were brilliant – with a decent texture rather than something that just falls apart. And looked good too!

    1. Gill, you’re a wonder! Proving the worth of a reliably adaptable midweek recipe, thanks for getting in touch. We love that! And so glad you found this helpful. Very much inspired by your ‘lego – burgers – park cricket – burgers – no doubt something else – enjoying burgers’ style.

  6. This was delicious! I used korma paste as this was to hand. My only mistake was trying to be clever and blending everything…they fell apart in the pan 🙁 So zero on looks but 10/10 on taste. Thank you for the inspiration!