Grilled Chickpea and Pesto Burger with Garlic Aioli

These grilled chickpea burgers are bulked up with brown rice and quick oats. A topping of fresh garlic aïoli adds a pop of flavor and creamy texture. To soak cashews, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes; drain

Want to bake burgers instead? Preheat oven to 400°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through (165°F).

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,

Last Updated:


  • ¼ cup soaked raw cashews (see note, above)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened, unflavored plant milk, such as almond, soy, cashew, or rice
  • 1 cup chopped stemmed kale
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil
  • ¼ onion, chopped (¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and liquid (aquafaba) reserved
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ¾ cup dry quick oats
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 6 leaves butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Thinly sliced red onion (optional)


  • Make Garlic Aïoli: In a blender or mini food processor combine cashews; onion powder; and 2 cloves of the garlic, halved. Cover and blend until smooth, adding 2 to 4 Tbsp. unsweetened, unflavored plant milk, such as almond, soy, cashew, or rice, to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • For pesto, in a food processor combine the kale, basil, onion, pine nuts, and the remaining 3 cloves garlic, halved. Cover and pulse until very finely chopped.
  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl; mash with a fork. In a small bowl combine 2 Tbsp. of the reserved aquafaba and the flaxseed meal. Add to chickpeas along with pesto, brown rice, and oats. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in additional aquafaba if mixture seems dry.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form chickpea mixture into six patties about 3½ inches in diameter. Place on prepared pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or freeze 30 minutes.
  • Grill burgers over medium 8 to 10 minutes or until well browned and internal temperature is at least 165°F, turning once. Grill buns 1 to 2 minutes to toast. Place burgers on buns; top with lettuce, tomato, and, if desired, red onion. Serve with Garlic Aïoli.

Comments (8)

(5 from 4 votes)

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Is there a substitute for the pine nuts?

Courtney Davison

Hi Kathy, For a pine-nut-free pesto recipe, you might try the cashew-based pesto found within this recipe: Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives


Walnuts work great for pesto.

Claude Lang


Hourig Kalajian

Can I use quinoa instead of brown rice?


It’s SO good. I made it without the garlic aioli. And I also put more kale in it then the recipe said and it was sooooooooooo good!

Elisabeth Stevens

Recipe title is "White bean" burgers but the ingredients call for chick peas.

Liz Turner

Thanks for pointing this out, Elisabeth. We have updated the recipe title accordingly.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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