Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Apple Sage Chickpea Burgers

Last week, my older brother Avi astutely pointed out that we have blogged a disproportionate amount of recipes that involve root veggies and squash.  We do often cook with these types of produce, but for good reason (they are in season right now and it is freezing cold outside, so why not make a hearty and comforting veggie soup?)  But I wondered to myself if our readers think we subsist on root veggies and squash.  Marnina and I definitely incorporate these foods into our diet (I do sometimes wonder if I will turn into a butternut squash one day), but we also cook many foods that do not show up on the blog….like 70% of what we cook in a daily week. 

Just this past week, we made INCREDIBLE grilled turkey, avocado, and basil mayo sandwiches, as well as apple sage chickpea burgers.  The burgers did not last more than 2 days….a fate similar to any butternut squash that finds itself in our kitchen. Beans are not recommended for those with IBD, especially if following a low-fiber diet.  They are a food that is difficult to break down and digest, and they are definitely not a low-residue food.  They cause gas because they contain a sugar, oligosaccharide, which the human body cannot break down. Oligosaccharides are large molecules and are not broken down and absorbed by the lining of the small intestine as other sugars are. This is because the human body does not produce the enzyme that breaks down oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides make it all the way through the GI tract to the large intestine still intact. The bacteria that live in the small intestine break down the oligosaccharides. Cooking beans in a soup can help their digestibility—the extra fluid will help digest the large amounts of fiber beans contain, and the extra cooking time will start breaking the beans down even before you eat them. Similarly, broccoli and cabbage are known for causing gas buildup in the gut, but cooking them deactivates the sulfur compounds that cause gas. [1]  Also, by adding beans to your diet gradually, you will help build up the enzyme necessary to digest them.[1]

These burgers were a little bit of a challenge for Marnina. The recipe advises not to fully puree the bean mixture (which is then shaped into patties).  As a result, the chickpeas were less mashed up and more challenging to digest. Additionally, the recipe calls for oats, another food that Marnina tries to avoid. She agreed to try the burgers but only eat one at a time. She lived to tell the tale (thank goodness!) but asked that we avoid making them a staple in her diet.

The burgers called for fresh sage. We don’t have much experience using the herb and unfortunately didn’t have the suggested amount that the recipe called for.  When preparing another recipe for a butternut squash pasta we bought some more sage that we fried and used as garnish. It was delicious.  The sage leaves paired very nicely with our sauce. We will definitely be trying to incorporate it more in our future cooking adventures.

Pictures and recipe below:

Pureeing the chickpeas

The burger mixture

Cooking the burgers

The finished product

Apple Sage Chickpea Burgers
 [yields 9 small, 2-3” patties]


  • 1.5c chickpeas
  • 1/4c onion, chopped
  • 1/2c apple, grated
  • 1.5T sage, finely chopped
  • 1/2c ground oats
  • 1/2t garlic, minced
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1T oil + 1-2T for cooking
  • 3T sunflower seeds (we omitted these seeds)
  • pinch of black pepper
  1. Rinse + drain the chickpeas.
  2. Grind the oats, about half way to flour in a blender, food processor, coffee grinder, etc.  Measure out 1/2c and set aside.
  3. After grating the apple, squeeze between a few paper towels or a kitchen towel to absorb some of the moisture.  Measure a loosely packed half cup.
  4. Add the chopped onion + garlic to your food processor and pulse a few times.
  5. Add the chickpeas, apple, sage, salt, oil + black pepper.
  6. Process until everything is combined.  About 5-10 seconds.  Refer to photograph #2.
  7. Add in the ground oats and pulse around until the mixture holds together.  Avoid over processing, so the burgers have a nice texture.
  8. Test by forming a ball and pressing it into a patty.  If it’s not holding together, pulse in 1-2T more oats, until it holds.
  9. Stir in the sunflower seeds.
  10. Heat pan over medium and add 1-2T oil.  Coconut oil works really well for this.
  11. Form patties and cook on each side for about 4-6min until golden brown.

tips/substitutions: You may be able to add a flour instead of partially ground oats, but the texture will differ slightly.  I would start by adding 1/3c and go from there.

Lemon Ginger Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1t honey
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1/2t minced ginger
  • 1/2t lemon zest
  1. Mix together and use as a topping.

Recipe adapted from


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