Cricket, Habanero, Lime, & Peach Burgers

Save the world! Eat more bugs!

They taste a little bit like toasted almonds.

They taste a little bit like toasted almonds.

First off, let me say that I (obviously) like meat. Some my favorite meals (orange-glazed roasted duck, Thanksgiving turkey, go-to fried chicken to seal the deal come date night) have involved animals I slaughtered and then cooked myself.

But meat can’t be an every day, and arguably not even every week, type of thing. It just takes too many resources, and we’ve got a big planet growing seemingly smaller with a whole mess of people to support and a climate in crisis. The numbers on meat don’t make sense. Part of it has to do with how we farm most of the meat raised in the U.S., part of it has to do with how much meat the average American consumes per day, and part of it has to do with the energy that’s lost between trophic levels.

Bugs, on the other hand, make a lot of sense. Crickets use little water, love being kept confined in dark, close quarters, and when you put them in the freezer they just fall asleep and don’t wake up. You don’t need to inoculate crickets with antibiotics and hormones that pollute the environment, and they have an awesome amount of iron. An ounce of crickets has more than twice as much protein as an ounce of beef.

Tasty, tasty environmentally responsible protein. Score!

Tasty, tasty environmentally responsible protein. Score!

So while it’s unlikely I’ll give up blood cupcakes and chicken enchiladas, I’m a big fan of crickets.

With all that being said, let’s get going with some bug burgers!

Meet today's moral support staff. Sweetie Big-Head is mine, and Sir Pillow-Sitter is my friend's.

Meet today’s moral support staff. Sweetie Big-Head is mine, and Sir Pillow-Sitter is my friend’s.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-one can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
-one cup crickets (I choose not to rinse mine, since it washes off a little of the flavor)
-two tablespoons toasted sesame oil (plus a little extra for frying)
-one teaspoon paprika
-half a teaspoon salt
-half a carrot, grated very fine
-half a cup of diced onion
-half of a peach, diced
-juice of two limes
-quater cup chopped cilantro
-half of a, to one full, habanero pepper (I was feeling frisky, not risky, so I went with 3/4 of a habanero)
-one third of a cup four
-one tablespoon corn starch

What's not to love? Just don't nom all the ingredients right out the gates before you mix 'em together.

What’s not to love? Just don’t nom the ingredients right out the gates before you mix ’em together.

First, mash the garbanzo beans with a fork. Add in the sesame oil, salt, and paprika.

One of these days I might just quit my day job and eat garbanzo beans with sesame oil all day instead.

One of these days I might just quit my day job and eat garbanzo beans with sesame oil all day instead.

Combine carrot, onion, peach, lime juice, cilantro, and habanero. Give it a good stir and a couple solid taste tests. This isn’t cookie batter, it’s cookie batter’s smokin’ hot, spankin’ good savory cousin, the one you kept hoping would notice you when you were a teenager, but probably never did. Go ahead and dig deep. When you’re done indulging yourself, add the flour and corn starch and mix it up really well, since this is your last chance.

Finally, add those bugs, the true star of the show (don’t tell Peach). Try not to mangle the crickets too much when you mix them in; a few gentle folds will be enough. Also, curb your desire to take another bite of the mixture until the burgers are fully cooked: raw bugs are raw meat, and should be treated as such.

Take it easy, Tiger. Just put down the spoon and no one needs to get hurt.

Take it easy, Tiger. Just put down the spoon and no one needs to get hurt.

Form the mixture into patties, pop some buns under the broiler if that’s your style, and fry the burgers on medium-low heat in sesame oil.

Yeah, baby!

Watch out for scorching.

As your kitchen slowly begins to smell more and more like heaven, thank yourself for taking a small, itty bitty step toward saving the world. Don’t let ’em stick and be careful on the flip. Don’t turn them prematurely: they will fall apart! Drink some water to keep your hands busy if you have to. Cook throughly.

These patties should brown up nicely.

These patties should brown up nicely.

I threw a cricket pattie on a toasted bun slathered with vegan mayo and ketchup, and stacked with lettuce and sliced tomato, and it made my day.

The finished product.

The finished product.

But feel free to do whatever you want with these things–you’ve got total creative freedom. Micro greens and a tortilla? Hell yeah. Cheese and bread? Go for it. Mashed in a bowl with popcorn and chips? Whatever, bro, I won’t slow your roll. Slices of peaches wrapped in iceberg lettuce? Summertime sweetness.

I'm not trying to sway your opinion or curb your creative kitchen freedom, but how could anyone say no to one of these puppies with a bun, ketchup, mayonnaise , tomatoes, and lettuce?

I’m not trying to sway your opinion or curb your creative kitchen freedom, but how could anyone say no to one of these puppies with a bun, ketchup, mayonnaise , tomatoes, and lettuce?

No matter what, you’ll be like a Depeche Mode song.

Y’all know what I’m talking ’bout.

Crickets: they're what's for lunch.

Crickets: they’re what’s for lunch.

Happy eating, everyone!!

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