With the warm weather finally upon us, thoughts turn to barbequing.  But what if you are trying to eat more plants, less meat?   Or just want a new flavour combination to perk up the next grilled meal?

No worries – there are some great recipes out there for meatless burgers that will satisfy even the hungriest in your household.  And they don’t have to contain questionable soy products either.

This recipe for Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers is protein-rich from the garbanzos as well as from the inclusion of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  If you use a gluten free bread crumb option they are also gluten free.   The best news?  You can make these ahead of time and freeze them so you’re ready to roll when hunger hits or when you want to invite people over for a spontaneous BBQ.

To rehydrate as the temperatures increase, try the Cucumber Agua Fresca.  Essentially cucumber water.  Simple, fresh and celebratory!  Perfect for a salute to outdoor eating this spring.

PS – I have been chowing down on these burgers for so long I can’t recall the source.  I’ve tinkered with it a bit but it still belongs to some other creative cook out there.  Thank you – to whoever made this up.  YUM! 

Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers

Makes 8 large or 12 smaller patties


  • 2 ¼ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice – hot (cook according to package directions)
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower seeds + 1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs (gluten free,  if preferred)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. ground flax
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt to taste (1-2 tsp.)


  • Toast seeds at 300F for about 12 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside
  • Chop and prepare all vegetables.  (Or whizz up in a food processor).
  • Mash chickpeas and rice together well (or pulverize in food processor).  Note: cold rice will not stick together as well as warm.
  • Once this mixture is well combined, add vegetables, seeds and spices, salt.
  • Add in BBQ sauce, breadcrumbs, ground flax.
  • Shape patties (pack tightly) and cook in a lightly greased skillet or on a grill over medium-high heat.
  • Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Can be enjoyed hot or cold.

To freeze: can be frozen before or after cooking.  Place on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  When solid you can then put them in a container or freezer bag.

Cucumber Agua Fresca


  • 1 large cucumber, cut into pieces
  • A few springs of mint and/or basil
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey, coconut sugar, agave or maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 6 cups of cold water


  • Combine cucumber, herbs, sweetener and 3 cups water in blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Strain into a pitcher.
  • Stir in the remainder of water.

Serve cold over ice with a spring of mint.