Chickpea Pesto Burgers with Roasted-Red Pepper Sauce


In this easy plant-based burger recipe, we combine chickpeas and pesto to create a delicious patty that gets topped with balsamic-roasted red onions and a creamy roasted red pepper mayonnaise sauce. The end result is a delicious dinner that will quickly become your family's new favorite way to do burgers. Enjoy alongside a big salad and roasted potatoes to make it a meal.

Chickpea Pesto Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Photo: Carolyn Hodges
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Nutrition Profile:


Balsamic Roasted Red Onion

  • ½ medium red onion, sliced (1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • teaspoon ground pepper

Chickpea Pesto Burgers

  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed (about 1/4 cup drained)

  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)

  • ¼ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons pesto

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Buns

  • 3 jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, divided

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise or low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or a combination)

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • 6 hamburger buns, preferably whole-wheat, split and toasted


  1. To prepare roasted onion: Preheat oven to 375°F and place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Toss onion with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to one side of an 18-inch piece of foil. Fold the foil in half and crimp the edges to seal the onion in a packet. Place the packet on the baking sheet and bake until the onion is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare burgers: Squeeze extra liquid out of spinach and place the spinach in a medium bowl. Add chickpeas and mash with a fork. Add egg, walnuts, breadcrumbs, pesto and salt and mix well. Form the mixture into six ¾-inch-thick patties.

  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until golden brown on the bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the patties, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the other side is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160°F, about 5 minutes more.

  4. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Combine 1 roasted pepper, garlic, mayonnaise (and/or yogurt) and vinegar in a small food processor. Process until smooth. Slice the remaining roasted peppers into strips.

  5. Place the burgers on buns and top with the sauce, roasted onion and pepper strips.

To make ahead

Refrigerate roasted onions (Step 1), burger patties (Step 2) and sauce (Step 4) separately for up to 1 day.


For the best flavor, toast nuts before using in a recipe. To toast chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

426 Calories
23g Fat
44g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 burger
Calories 426
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 12g 24%
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Vitamin A 3239IU 65%
Sodium 660mg 29%
Potassium 442mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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