West African Fonio Burgers with Mango Cabbage Slaw & Chermoula Sauce
September 20, 2021
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

Switch up your go-to grains with fonio, a grain grown in West Africa that has nourished people there for thousands of years. Grown in countries like Senegal, Nigeria and Mali, this planet- and people-loving grain thrives in poor soil and requires very little water. It cooks up in five minutes, has a neutral taste, a texture similar to couscous and works as a versatile ingredient wherever you might use quinoa, rice or oats. Rich in detoxifying methionine and beauty-boosting amino acids, fonio is a healthy, affordable and eco-friendly ingredient to add to your recipe repertoire. These burgers are a great way to ease into cooking with fonio. The chermoula sauce, a flavorful North African condiment, adds a punch of flavor and cleansing cilantro—and is also a great addition to dishes with seafood or grilled vegetables.

Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans or chickpeas
  • 1 ½ cups cooked fonio
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (homemade or canned)
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 zucchini, shredded and excess liquid squeezed out with a towel
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • ½ to 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Olive or coconut oil for frying
  • Burger buns (or lettuce wraps)
  • Mango cabbage slaw (recipe below)
  • Chermoula sauce (recipe below)
  • Avocado, sprouts, cheese, tomatoes or anything else you like to top your burger with

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 9 ingredients, mashing the beans slightly but not to a puree. Add panko breadcrumbs slowly, as needed, until the mixture is no longer sticky and holds together when compacted. Form into 6-8 burger patties.
  2. Cook in a skillet with oil over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
  3. Toast the buns in an oven or skillet and assemble each burger with mango cabbage slaw, chermoula sauce and other toppings to taste. Enjoy!

Mango Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and more lime to taste.

Chermoula Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cup cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Toast seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add seeds and all remaining ingredients to a food processor and blitz until just combined but not pureed. (Alternatively, mince the cilantro and garlic finely and mix with the remaining ingredients). Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice if needed.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com