We’ve seriously cut back on the amount of meat that we eat in my house. We try to limit to once per week. It’s not as difficult as some of you may think! We were actually vegan for an entire year just a couple years back. After that year, we decided to add some meat back in, like I said--about once per week. We also let dairy back in, mostly in the form of cheeeese. There happens to be some cheese in these burgers, along with the main ingredient--eggplant!
Some of our vegan habits are still in practice, though. We love almond and coconut milks, and those are pretty much the only milks we actually drink or have with cereals. The biggest vegan/vegetarian benefit that we still enjoy is to eat tons of vegetables. We’ll never give those up. I know it’s not easy, and I’m the last person in the world to be preachy about it. I mean, come on--the mouthwatering aroma of meat sizzling on a grill, or a pot roast slowly braising all afternoon…those are scents that evoke so many memories and awake my senses. So we indulge once a week.
Now, after the meat love I was just talking about, I have this recipe to give you for a meatless burger. It’s not quite vegan, because there is shredded cheese in it, but it’s definitely vegetarian. We really loved these, and as a burger alternative, these are especially good. Versatile, too! You can use your favorite seasonings in this recipe, and totally customize your veggie burger experience.
I was inspired to make these from watching an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” on the Food Network. If you haven’t seen it, the premise of the show is asking the FoodTV chefs what their favorites are. Favorite burgers, pizza, ice creams, desserts, crunchy things, crispy things, decadent foods, etc. They tell you about them, show them to you, and then, tell you where you can get them. If you’re lucky enough, one of those places will be near you!
While recently watching the Burger episode, only one veggie burger was mentioned as a fave, and that was by Duff of Ace of Cakes. The burger he described (and they showed) looked fantastic. The chef at the restaurant actually showed what was in them (no measurements, but we eyeballed it). We grabbed pen and paper and scribbled the basics down. All I heard Duff say about the location is that is was in Portland. So now, our version of Portland Eggplant Burgers…
Portland Eggplant Veggie Burgers
Makes 8-10 regular sized patties
Inspired by The Farm Cafe
3 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
6 green onions, sliced, both white and green parts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (or your favorite cheese)
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Adobo
pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked back pepper
1 3/4 tsp Weber Grill Creations Gourmet Burger Seasoning (or your favorite blend)
In a large pan (Seriously, you want a large pan--I used my electric skillet.), heat a bit of oil over medium-low and cook the cubed eggplant down completely, till it's sort of a mushy mass of eggplant. (I know, but trust me on this!) This takes about 25 minutes, and be sure to stir occasionally. I also put a lid on it a few times to keep some moisture in it. When you stir, smush it with your spoon or spatula. You don’t want cubes of cooked eggplant, you want it all mashed up. Remove it from the pan and put it in a large bowl.
In the same pan, lightly sauté the green onions and garlic, just about 2-3 minutes to take the raw edge off. Add to the bowl of cooked eggplant.
Stir the parsley, cheddar, bread crumbs, and seasonings into the eggplant mixture. Get in there with your hands and mix it up. Set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill. After chilling, form the mixture into patties.
In the same large skillet, heat a bit of oil over medium high heat (400 degrees on my electric skillet). Get the oil nice and hot, and cook the patties for 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook on the second the side for about 5 minutes. You want them nicely golden brown and crispy on each side.
Serve with your favorite burger accessories. Store any leftovers in the fridge!
- As much as I love burgers with all kinds of fantastic toppings, at heart, I’m a simple girl. My favorite way to have a burger is with sliced tomatoes and ketchup. That’s what I had on mine. Along with some garden fresh baby lettuce leaves. Use whatever you like on your own burgers!
- These are veggie burgers, and not a hunk of meat, so we’re not going to just toss these on the grill, or they’ll likely fall apart. If you want that smoky flavor, you could cook these on a pan on your grill and see how that goes. Maybe cook them almost completely and then quickly toss on the grill for that smoky flavor. Let me know if you try it!
- As I was looking for the links on Food Network for the show, I found that the place where Duff gets his eggplant burger from is listed. I don’t know why I always forget I can do that! It’s The Farm Café in Portland, Oregon. So there you go. If you’re in the area, stop in and grab one. If you’re not, make mine!