Healthy & Delicious: Chicken Pecan Bulgur Burgers Recipe

Healthy and Delicious

Healthy and delicious recipes from Serious Eats

Healthy & Delicious: Chicken Pecan Bulgur Burgers Recipe

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson Sturt of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson Sturt]

I've been on a burger kick recently, making patties out of anything that doesn't resemble ground cow meat. A solid recipe for Dijon Tuna Burgers was the result of one happy experiment, while a not-as-solid canned salmon spin was another.

As a chickpea enthusiast (bring on the hummus and falafel), I've also been trying to learn more about the cooking of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and various countries in and around the Fertile Crescent. Faye Levy's Feast from the Mideast has been invaluable in that sense, as it's essentially a primer for the region's cuisine, as well as a cookbook.

Imagine my unfettered (unfettered!) enthusiasm (enthusiasm!), then, when discovering this recipe for Chicken Pecan Bulgur Burgers in the appetizer section of Levy's book. The patties are meant to be served before a meal, but it was apparent just looking at the ingredient list that they would make a hearty main course, as well.

Oh, and did they ever. With a subtle, zesty sweetness and chewy/crunchy texture, they're a tasty curveball for those expecting heavy beef burgers. Full of protein, fiber, and good fats, they're comparatively healthy, too, so your guests and/or family and/or beloved squatters will be doubly thankful.

After all, don't you love it when good health and good flavor come together?

  • Yield:Makes 8 burgers
  • Active time: 25 minutes
  • Total time:60 minutes


  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup parsley sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped


  1. 1.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Saute 1 cup chopped onion until it begins soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Kill heat. Remove onions to plate and cool completely. Wipe out pan with paper towel.

  2. 2.

    In medium bowl combine bulgur wheat with 3 cups cold water. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess liquid. Place bulgur back in medium bowl.

  3. 3.

    Place chicken in food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly ground. Remove to a plate and clean processor bowl.

  4. 4.

    Place remaining 1/2 cup onion and parsley in food processor. Pulse until chopped fine. Add chicken, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Add 3 tablespoons cold water. Pulse to combine.

  5. 5.

    Add chicken mixture to bulgur bowl. Then, add cooked onions and pecans. Mix thoroughly using your hands. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

  6. 6.

    Shape mixture into 8 patties, each 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.

  7. 7.

    Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. Serve on whole wheat buns with cilantro sauce or honey mustard.