Regardless of whether you’re vegetarian or not, these burgers are absolutely delicious! Eggplant is the vegetable that is most similar to meat, given it’s fibrous thickness, so it only seemed natural that we use that as the base for our burgers. We also decided to take a different approach with the cheese, and go with a salty, Cypriot cheese, Halloumi, that comes from (around) the island of Cyprus and matches the eggplant and seasoning wonderfully. If the weather’s nice you can make these outside, on the grill, but don’t let cooler temperatures stop you; you can also cook this right on the stovetop with the same, amazing results! We’re getting hungry just thinking about them!
Pesto Eggplant Burgers
- 1 large eggplant
- 4 oz. halloumi cheese
- 4 wholegrain burger buns
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- mayonnaise, optional
- Slice your eggplant into 1/2-inch slices at its widest part. Save narrow part of eggplant for another use.
- Slice halloumi into 1/4-inch slices and set aside.
- Heat your grill (outside or on the stove) to medium-high.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix together and whisk in Italian seasoning.
- Dip your eggplant in sauce and place on grill, cooking for 6 minutes per side, or until eggplant is tender and cooked through.
- Once you’ve cooked eggplant, place halloumi slices on grill and cook each side for 1-2 minutes, or until charred grill marks appear and cheese is heated through.
- Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan, remaining lemon juice and salt in a food processor and pulse until semi-smooth. Then drizzle in remaining olive oil until pesto is your desired consistency.
- Spread 1/2 tablespoon pesto unto bottom of wholegrain bun. Then add 1-2 slices of grilled eggplant and 1 slice halloumi. Top with second half of bun.
Optional: spread a little mayonnaise on top bun.
- Continue with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Veggie Belly