Teff Burgers

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You may be asking:  what the heck is teff?


Teff is a wheat-free grain alternative, native to Northeastern Africa.  It’s is packed with nutrients, including iron, calcium, and thiamin. 


The grains are teeny tiny and taste nutty, like hazelnuts.  Just look how small teff looks next to to a grain of rice!


I’ve been itching to try teff in a bean burger recipe.  The texture and flavor are so unique that I suspected it would work well.  I suspected right!


These burgers are packed with black eyed peas, black beans, chick peas, sunflower seeds, and, of course, teff. 


I went through a phase of hatin’ on black beans, but I’m back on board with how delicious they can be.  So expect to see many black bean-related recipes in the near future!


Teff Burgers


Ingredients (makes 8 burgers):


  • 3/4 cup teff
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can black eye peas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup packed arugula
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds for garnish




  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bring water to boil and add teff.  Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the black beans and black eyed peas. 
  • Combine oil olive, black beans, black eyed peas, arugula, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, chili powder, and teff in food processor.  Whirl to combine.  It’s not necessary to overmix.
  • Pour bean mixture into bowl and toss in chickpeas and 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds.
  • Grease a large glass casserole dish.
  • Using a measuring cup, scoop out 1/2 cup portion of bean mix and use your hands to form a round bowl.  It will be sticky; don’t worry!  Place each bean on the casserole dish and repeat.  Top burgers with leftover pumpkin seeds.
  • Bake burgers at 375 for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and serve. 


I smeared mine with BBQ sauce.  Mmmm.  Teff, you are a winner.



In fact, these burgers were so good that I went back for seconds.  This time, I wrapped my burger up in a raw collard green leaf and topped it with hummus. 


Delicious and messy.


On the agenda:  WRITE.  WRITE.  WRITE!  I’m a mixture of relieved, happy, and sad that my third book is almost done (here’s a link to my first; my second is a kids’ book that hasn’t been released yet).  I’m entering the home stretch; I can see the end, but it still feels so far away.  Book writing is quite similar to running a marathon, as a matter of fact! 


Minus the sweat and chafing, of course.



  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! August 23, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I can’t wait to try these burgers! I’m gluten intolerant, and I recently discovered teff when I went out for dinner at the Eritrean restaurant near my house. They serve injera, which is African ‘bread’ made from Teff. It’s delicious, and I’m so excited to start incorporating teff into my diet!

    • AmandaonMaui August 23, 2011, 3:17 pm

      Be careful of the injera! Some of the restaurants serving it are mixing in wheat flours so that the “bread” has a more palitable flavor and texture for Americans.

  • Laura August 23, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Those look great. I just tried black bean brownies. They were soo good and my husband had no idea!

  • Emily G. August 23, 2011, 1:30 pm

    I think my favorite black bean “recipe” of yours is black beans on top of a sweet potato. FREAKING GENIUS!

    • AmandaonMaui August 23, 2011, 3:16 pm

      Try black beans and pumpkin or sweet potatoes in enchiladas. They’re delicious together!

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:52 pm

      Thanks Emily 🙂 Have you tried it with Baked Beans? So good.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 23, 2011, 1:31 pm

    These sound great, Caitlin! I’ve cooked with teff flour but have never eaten it in its whole form before. I’m adding these to my “must-make” list!

  • Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers August 23, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Teff is definitely a new one for me. I’d probably like the recipe though – any kind of burger is good with bbq sauce!

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) August 23, 2011, 1:43 pm

    When is the kids book going to be released? I can’t believe you’re almost done your third book… crazy!

  • Keelie (SweatEqualsSuccess) August 23, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Caitlin, these burgers look fantastic! Can’t wait to try them! I sat next to you for a few minutes at breakfast on Sunday and really enjoyed talking with you! 🙂

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:52 pm

      It was a pleasure to talk to you too! 🙂 Thank you so much for attending HLS.

  • Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey August 23, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I’ve used Teff flour before, but have never seen the whole grain/seed before. (To be honest, I’ve never really looked for it). Can you find it in the bulk bins at EarthFare/Healthy Home Mkt?


  • Lisa August 23, 2011, 1:49 pm

    I love a new grain! These burgers look delicious–wishing I had the ingredients in my kitchen. 🙂

  • Khushboo August 23, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Love black beans but never got into the black bean brownie craze- wasn’t a fan!

  • Kathryn @ Flopoodle August 23, 2011, 2:09 pm

    My mum made a teff chocolate pudding once that was amazing (and packed with nutrition!)

  • Lauren August 23, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I SWEAR to you I was walking to work this morning thinking to myself, “What IS teff anyways? I think it’s gluten-free?”. Of course by the time I got to work I forgot to google it. Thanks for the answers!

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:53 pm

      I’m a mind reader 🙂 You’re welcome!

  • Baking N Books August 23, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I don’t know how you do it. I would just be staring at a blank page. 😉

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 23, 2011, 2:19 pm

    WHOA! This looks simply fantabulous! I want to try it 🙂

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 23, 2011, 2:28 pm

    I don’t think I’ve seen teff in the bulk bins by me, I’ll have to keep a lookout for it, I’m always up for a different kind of veggie burger.

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good August 23, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Mmm. I’ve been thinking of trying a veggie burger recipe again one of these days (though I’d have to locate teff before trying this one).

    Congrats on being nearly done with your book!

  • Shaya August 23, 2011, 2:38 pm

    Mmm. I think I need to bust out my food processor. Frozen veggie burgers look so sad compared to what could be made fresh!

    Yay for almost being done! Are you going to take a break from writing after this one or do you have another project lined up?

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:54 pm

      I do have a project lined up. Wink wink. Can you guess what it is???

      • Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) August 23, 2011, 10:57 pm

        baby??!?!?? please say yes!!!

        • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 11:02 pm

          🙂 We aren’t pregnant yet but we are in the process of trying to make it happen! We would love to start a family soon. That is my next big project for sure 🙂 Thanks for the support, sweetie!!!

  • Zuuzuu August 23, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Caitlin! Your observation about writing a book being akin to running a marathon (or any race, for that matter) is totally spot on. If you haven’t already checked it out, I HIGHLY suggest reading Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” It’s an amazing book, both for writers and for runners, and if you’ve ever read any of his novels before, you’ll fall even more in love with him. Even if you haven’t, his words are incredibly powerful and inspiring, and the running/writing connection is definitely at the forefront. Super cool, and super inspiring.

    Much peace!

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:54 pm

      I really wanna read that book. Heard so many good things about it.

  • Kelly August 23, 2011, 3:03 pm

    For some reason I always thought teff was a soy derivitive. Is it? I stay away from soy due to my hypothyroidism so I always stayed away from teff. Looks like I may need to do some research because that burger looks awesome!

  • AmandaonMaui August 23, 2011, 3:08 pm

    These look great. I’m definitely going to have to make them. I think they’ll be great for my lunch box for my night class. I will probably have to order in some teff though as the stores here don’t seem to like to carry the whole grains so much. It was difficult to find millet!

    • AmandaonMaui March 12, 2012, 12:24 am

      I’ve finally got a round of them in the oven. The mix tastes great!

  • Sarah for Real August 23, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Actually…. I was wondering “what the eff is teff?” Dang it! Missed rhyming opportunity.

    Those burgers look really good. Looks like the teff helps it stay together almost? My black bean burgers always fall apart.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 23, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Congrats on your THIRD book…WOW!!! You make me want to be better, do better, and stay inspired and achieve my own goals.

    That’s awesome Caitlin 🙂

  • AmandaonMaui August 23, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Simply Sugar and Gluten Free cookbook has an awesome chocolate teff cake. It’s a totally different type of cake. It’s not something you have to frost, and it’s light and healthful. I should make it next time I get a craving for chocolate cake. There’s less “food guilt” (which we should never have) when eating it. Plus, it doesn’t make a huge cake.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 23, 2011, 3:20 pm

    These look awesome!!
    I used to hate beans, too but have recently fallen in love with them. I go through a lot!!

  • Rachel August 23, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Hmm, I’ve heard about Teff, but I really didn’t know anything about it! Thanks, you’ve inspired me to give it a try! 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales August 23, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I love how so many things are similar to running a marathon (having babies, writing books…and well, running a marathon). Makes me feel like I can conquer the world knowing I’ve run one!

    When do you think you’ll finish writing the 3rd book?

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:55 pm

      Sept 8 is the deadline!

  • Lauren @ Team Giles August 23, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Very cool. I was quite curious as to what Teff was. Now I know! Congrats on almost finishing the book 🙂

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness August 23, 2011, 4:25 pm

    That is exactly what I was thinking…what the heck is teff, lol! 😛 you took the words right out of my mouth. it looks and sounds very tasty though! 🙂 So many congratulations on almost finished your book…amazing! <3 xyx

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 23, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I can’t seem to get down with the texture of veggie burgers…they seem to always be a little mushy.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 23, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I have always used black beans on everything! But thanks to all the blogs I’ve been reading (including yours) I’ve added all new kinds of beans. I haven’t used black-eyed peas though! I might have to look into those…

  • CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com/ August 23, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Mmm I love black beans! But I’ve never used teff to make a burger! Sounds pretty good actually! Thanks for the tip.

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) August 23, 2011, 5:53 pm

    I’ve never tried Teff,but these burgers look so good! I love the idea of wrapping it in the greens!

  • Tracy @ Tracy's Treats August 23, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Wow, that burger looks fabulous! I’ve never tried Teff, but I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for it at the grocery store now!

  • Army Amy* August 23, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Never heard of teff!*

  • Ami@dashofcurry.com August 23, 2011, 6:51 pm

    I try to buy a different grain every time I run out of one– teff is definitely next on the list! The burgers really look delicious and I like that they have a mix of beans!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 23, 2011, 7:21 pm

    This recipe looks fantastic! Black bean burgers are my fave. 😀

  • Amy@ahealthyandhappyheart August 23, 2011, 7:30 pm

    I do love a black bean burger…maybe I should add teff next time! Congrats on your 3rd book…how exciting!

  • Kim @ Spoonful of Sass August 23, 2011, 8:01 pm

    So interesting! This is the reason I love reading blogs. I always learn something new. It challenges me to stay adventurous in the kitchen. Can’t wait to try the teff!

  • Jeni August 23, 2011, 8:27 pm

    i think the problem with me and black bean burgers must be in the food processor? I wonder if I could just mash ’em with a fork and get a better outcome? Mine always end up swampy and gross.

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:55 pm

      Definitely! You could just use a potato masher.

  • Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health August 23, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Wow those burgers sound awesome! I can’t believe you’re almost done with your 3rd book! That is such an amazing accomplishment :). You should be so proud of yourself!

  • Rebecca August 23, 2011, 9:47 pm

    Hi Caitlin!!
    I just started reading your blog…and I have been wondering if you follow any particular cooking blogs for your recipes, or have any suggestions for some good cookbooks. I love all your recipes, and have been wondering where you find your inspiration.

    Keep up the blogging! I am officially addicted!!

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:56 pm

      Thank you so much Rebecca!

      I just get inspiration from the blog world. Have you seen Ohsheglows.com? She has some GREAT recipes!!!

  • Amber K August 24, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I have tried millet and quinoa so far, but not amaranth or teff. Those are usually the ones I see mentioned when it comes to gluten-free grains. I have been trying to think of another good bean burger recipe and this looks like a winner!

  • Jen Hatton November 23, 2014, 3:09 pm

    I made these today…maybe I did something wrong but mine were mushy like a hummus. I ate mine but the rest of the family threw theirs in the trash. I liked the flavor and the smell of them cooking. Maybe I needed more cook time?? It made 9 so they weren’t over sized.

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