Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eggplant Burgers

Tired of using the same burger recipe week after week? Want to make one dish to satisfy both your meat-eating and vegetarian friends? Then look no further! This eggplant burger is a refreshing change from the typical hamburger, and will convince even the most carnivorous of your friends that vegetarian food rocks! Though I am not a vegan/vegetarian, I have many friends who are, and whenever I throw dinner parties, I try to make something that will appeal to everyone who attends. These burgers are easy to make, extremely versatile, and most importantly, they taste good.

2 large eggplants
1 medium sized onion
½ cup water
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped chives
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1 can of tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Hamburger buns*
Provolone or American cheese*
Garlic powder
Various dried herbs such as parsley, basil, etc.
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Chop the eggplants and onions into small pieces. Place into pan with ½ cup water and cook on medium-heat until translucent. Let cool.
2. Throw eggplant-onion mixture into the blender or food processor. Pulse on high until the mixture becomes a puree. If you are using a blender, you may need to slowly add small increments of water to keep the blade from getting bogged down in the mixture.
3. Transfer the puree to a large bowl. Add the shredded carrots, chives, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Once evenly incorporated, place mixture in the refrigerator to firm up for about 1-2 hours.
4. Drain the liquid from the can of tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to the tomatoes. Set aside.
5. Take the eggplant mixture out of the fridge and form patties. Pan-fry until crispy.
6. Toast the hamburger buns. Layer your burger with one slice of cheese, the eggplant patty, and the tomatoes.
That’s all there is to it!

-These burgers will be crispy on the outside, light and creamy on the inside, so regular bread works great if you already have a loaf of bread at home.
-Find out whether or not your vegetarian friends eat dairy products. If they do, use the cheese. If they don’t, omit it. The burger tastes great either way.
-Feel free to add any other veggies you want to the mixture. In the past, I’ve added shredded potatoes and zucchini to bulk the burgers up and add more texture. No matter what you add, these burgers will turn out well.

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