We have varying degrees of success when it comes to gardening. One year we had an extremely prolific squash plant, but out of four tomato plants were able to grow only one tiny, anemic-looking tomato. Another year, we planted more tomato plants to be on the safe side, ended up with 14 plants that produced like rabbits, and had tomatoes coming out of our ears for weeks.
We planted a few green onions one year that grew into a patch that completely covered the garden the next couple of years. Same with the sun chokes someone gave us one year – they took over the whole garden, and not knowing what to do with them, we never even picked them!
This year our garden was more moderate. A few tomato plants, a small green onion patch, a squash plant and a pepper plant, plus a couple pumpkin plants that the kids grew from seeds. Everything produced moderately, enough to enjoy, but no huge bumper crops. I’m kind of a moderate person, so this suits me just fine.
I was able to use some of the garden-fresh pumpkin to make my favorite bean burger recipe of all time. Pumpkin, chickpeas, and spices combine to make a unique and delicious burger that is unlike any other vegetarian patty I’ve ever tried.
Pumpkin Chickpea Burgers
Makes 8 patties
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or cooked from fresh
2/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes or until soft, then set aside.
In a large bowl, mash beans with a fork. Or, pulse in a food processor. Be sure to mash/process most of the beans until a paste forms, leaving some whole beans is okay.
Add pumpkin, oats and seasonings to beans. Add onions and garlic to mixture. Mix until well combined. Allow mixture to rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, the mixture can be left overnight or up to 3 days.
Divide bean mixture into 8 equal balls. With hands, shape mixture into patties about 3 inches around and 1/2 inch thick.
To cook patties, bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once. Or, place 1 tsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place patties into pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn patties and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until patties are browned on both sides. Baking them is less hands-on and therefore a bit easier, cooking in a skillet is faster and browns the patties nicely. I’ve done it both ways.
Serve on whole wheat buns with healthy toppings and condiments, such as lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and this delicious Tahini Yogurt Sauce.
Tahini Yogurt Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup raw sesame seeds
2 tbsp sesame or olive oil
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
Toast sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
Place sesame seeds, oil, and spices in food processor. Blend until smooth and paste-like. This will probably take a long time. At this point you now have tahini.
Transfer the tahini to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in yogurt until smooth. Spread on whole wheat buns for bean burgers, or use as a dressing or sauce for salads, Buddha bowls, etc.