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These veggie burgers are similar to falafel, minus the deep frying. (Tahini is a sesame paste used in Middle Eastern cooking. Look for it in large supermarkets and health food stores.) Pregnancy perk: Rich in fiber, chick peas will help keep things moving smoothly.
For the spicy tahini sauce:
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
1/4 teaspoon honey
For the burgers:
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 saltine crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
1 cup onion, finely diced (about 1 onion)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 whole-wheat pita bread rounds, cut in half (4 pita pockets)
4 romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 large tomato, sliced
1. In a small bowl, whisk all tahini sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. For burgers, place chickpeas, parsley, hot sauce, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until parsley is chopped and chickpeas are crushed into a rough paste. (Alternately, chop the parsley finely with a knife and mash the chickpeas with a potato masher.)
3. Put chickpea mixture in a medium bowl. Crush the saltine crackers in a food processor or place them in a sealed plastic bag and roll over them with a wine bottle or a can. Add the crushed saltines, onion and egg to the chickpea mixture. Using your hands, incorporate all ingredients into a uniform paste and knead a few times. Form into 4 large patties, about 4 inches in diameter.
4. In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil. Once oil is hot, place patties in the skillet. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
5. Stuff each pita pocket with lettuce, onion, tomato and burger patty. Drizzle with spicy tahini.
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