Vegan Chickpea Cakes with Mashed Avocado

Crunchy, falafel-esque patties with rich and creamy avocado.

Overhead view of vegan chickpea cakes

Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

Why This Recipe Works

  • Roughly pureed chickpeas act as a binder for the patties, while leaving some of the beans whole provides great internal texture.
  • Coating the patties in breadcrumbs helps to keep the patties from falling apart in the pan.

These falafel-esque fritters started off as exactly that—an experimental recipe for falafel. My problem? I longed to have a recipe that could give me the satisfying crunch and nutty/herbal flavor of falafel without having to pull out the deep fryer.

The base for the fritters is made with canned chickpeas that I carefully dry and combine with bulgur wheat in the food processor. I found that if I add all the chickpeas at once, it's hard to get good textural contrast in the final dish. Better is to pulse half of them until roughly pureed to form a binder, then pulse the remaining half just until roughly chopped to give you nice big bits to bite into.

For flavor, I use a ton of herbs—parsley, cilantro, and mint—by the handful, blending them right into the mix along with a dash of coriander.

At first I thought that the solution to my deep-frying conundrum might be as simple as forming them into patties and shallow frying them. This didn't work too well—the patties disintegrated in the oil, leaving me with a sludgy browned mess to clean. It even happens in the deep fryer if you don't dry your canned chickpeas well enough.

Chickpea fritters, fried and golden brown, in a skillet with hot oil.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

The solution was simple: just bread the suckers to give them a firm coating that will keep them from falling apart. As I found in my Fried Eggplant Sandwich recipe, a simple mix of flour and water works just fine to get breadcrumbs to adhere.

Avocado-topped crispy chickpea patties on a white plate, with one patty being broken into with a fork.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

After that, it was a simple matter of making them into a meal. A bit of mashed avocado adds brightness, richness, and creamy texture to the mix, while a nice mixed green salad rounds it all out.

February 2013

This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 to ensure best results.

Recipe Details

Vegan Chickpea Cakes with Mashed Avocado

Prep 50 mins
Cook 30 mins
Active 30 mins
Total 80 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings
Makes 11 chickpea cakes

Crunchy, falafel-esque patties with rich and creamy avocado.


  • 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur wheat (about 3 ounces; 90g)

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves (1/2 ounce; 15g)

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves (1/2 ounce; 15g)

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (about 1/2 ounce; 12g)

  • 1 medium clove garlic (5g), roughly chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • One 3-inch serrano or jalapeño chile (about 1 ounce; 35g), stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped (optional)

  • 1 (15-ounce; 425g) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried on paper towels

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 1/4 ounces; 64g)

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water

  • 1 1/2 cups fine vegan panko-style breadcrumbs (4 ounces; 115g)

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 tablespoon juice (15ml) from 1 lime

  • Lime or lemon wedges, sliced onion, chopped cilantro, and pickles for serving


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add bulgur wheat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain thoroughly. (Bulgur will absorb much of the water; draining simply gets rid of excess moisture, if any.)

    Overhead view of bulgar wheat being brought to a boil

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  2. While wheat cooks, combine parsley, mint, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and coriander in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides as necessary, about 10 to 16 short pulses. Add half of chickpeas and pulse until a rough puree is formed, scraping down sides as necessary, about 8 to 16 short pulses. Transfer to a large bowl.

    Overhead view of chickpea and parsely mixture formed in a food processor

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  3. Add remaining chickpeas to food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer to bowl with chickpea/herb mixture. When bulgur wheat has drained, add to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then fold mixture together, starting with a rubber spatula, and finishing by hand when cool enough to handle. Form mixture into patties roughly 1/2-inch thick and 2.5 inches wide (you should be able to work 8 to 12 patties).

    Overhead view of forming chickpea patties

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  4. Combine flour and water in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Place breadcrumbs in second medium bowl.

    Overhead view of two bowls with flour-water mixture and breadcrumbs

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  5. Working one patty at a time, dip in flour mixture to coat, then transfer to breadcrumbs. Cover with breadcrumbs on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining patties.

    Dipping chickpea patties into breadcrumbs

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  6. Heat half of oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the patties in a single layer and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown on bottoms, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook second side, swirling pan occasionally as they cook, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm; wipe skillet clean and repeat with remaining oil and remaining patties.

    Overhead view of frying chickpea patties

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

  7. Place avocado in a medium bowl and mash the flesh with a fork. Season with salt and add lime juice. Serve fried chickpea patties with mashed avocado, sliced onions, herbs, lime or lemon wedges, and pickles.

    Overhead view of placing avocado on chickpea patties

    Serious Eats / Victor Protasio

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
433 Calories
24g Fat
46g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 433
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 541mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 20mg 99%
Calcium 93mg 7%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 414mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)