I now have nettle burgers to add to my lexicon of favourite nettle recipes (which also includes nettle pesto, nettle pizza, and nettle spanakopita!). These burgers are mega tasty, super nutritious, and easy to make with a food processor. The ingredients: nettles (of course), your favourite bean (chickpeas or any white bean work well), cumin seed, eggs, lemon, salt, olive oil, and chickpea flour. This veggie burger is unique in that it doesn’t use bread crumbs to bind everything together, but instead chickpea flour (sometimes sold as gram flour – I like Natco brand). This makes it gluten-free and mega protein packed, as well as nicely balanced should you like to serve this bad boy on a bread-based bun.
You could make these burgers with spinach, kale, swiss chard, or whatever green you’ve got going. But nettles make them extra special! We love a good forage, and nettles happen to be mega nutritious. They’re high in calcium, potassium, iron, sulphur, vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex vitamins. An antioxidant bonanza! And let’s not discount the therapeutic benefits of foraging. Am I right?
Top tip for nettles
Wear gloves! Pick young leaves, at the top of the nettle plant. Nettles are in their prime during spring but you can get serviceable nettles all year ’round if you know where to look. Where I live (farm country) we have a few patches regularly mown by farmers. After a few weeks the nettles spring back to leave with a fresh crop of young yummy leaves! It’s September now and I’m still able to glean gorgeous nettle for burgers and other green delights.
Adapted from the spinach-chickpea burgers from Lukas Volger’s book Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of veggie burgers! (I also made his whole wheat buns recipe from the same book which were superb!)
Chickpea and Nettle Burgers
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (toasted)
- 140 g nettle tops (give or take)
- 1 tin chickpeas (or other white bean, drained)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 lemon (juiced)
- 1 tsp salt
- 50 g chickpea flou
- With gloved hands pick over the nettle tops and remove any tough stems, leaving just leaves remaining.
- Place the nettle leaves in a colander and boil a full kettle of water. Pour the water all over the nettle leaves. Then immediately run a cold tap over the leaves to cool them. Squeeze out as much water from the nettles as possible (you don’t need the gloves anymore as the boiling water will have destroyed the stingers). Chop finely.
Reserve a small handful of chickpeas in a bowl. Put the rest of the chickpeas in a food processor along with the eggs, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles a chunky hummus.
In a large bowl combine the nettles with the reserved chickpeas and mash coarsely with a fork or potato masher. Add the bean-egg mixture and stir thoroughly. Fold in the chickpea flour. You should be able to form this mixture into patties, but if it seems to wet, add more chickpea flour, 1 teaspoon at a time. Shape into five patties.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot at the patties to the pan and cook until brown on each side. Do this in batches if necessary, adding more oil as needed. Transfer the patties to an oven-safe dish. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the burgers are cooked through.