IN MY KITCHEN: Vegetarian Greek Eggplant Burger
Contrary to popular belief, vegetarian food needn't be some sort of saintly sacrifice of flavor, and you don't need to spend hours in a kitchen to enjoy a yummy "gourmet" meal. This recipe is so simple and quick to make, I actually put it together for lunch this morning in just 15 minutes (minus photo time) and it's so flavorful, I promise you won't miss the meat at all. Because I've been on a gluten-free diet, I used a store bought gluten-free buns by Udi (which are AWESOME btw), but you could certainly swap in your own favorite hamburger buns or bread!
Here's what I used:
- Udi's Gluten Free Hamburger Bun
- My Local Grocery Brand's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Jarred Kalamata Olives (Or roasted red peppers, if olives aren't your kind of thing. See the comment thread below!)
- Slice of Eggplant
- 2 Slices of Red Onion
- Organic Arugula
- Organic Vine Ripened Tomato
- Fine Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and EVOO
Here's how to do it:
- Since Udi's gluten free breads come frozen, I set my buns to bake at 350 for 10 minutes in my toaster oven mainly to defrost and warm them up. If you have regular, non-frozen bread, just toast it until it barely has any color - you'll finish it off on the stove.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over high. Take a big inch-thick slice of eggplant and set two slices of red onion on top of it (eggplant will take a bit longer to cook, we don't want to cook the onions down to nothing in the mean time!). Once the skillet is heated, set the the slice of eggplant on the oil - the onion side not touching the skillet yet. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- As it cooks, cut a few slices of tomato, and chop a few kalamata olives (or roasted red pepper) for a sort of tapenade.
- Once the eggplant starts to soften through (a few mintues), go ahead and flip it over, onions and all - no big deal if the onion slice decides to go it's own way at this point. So long as it cooks, we're good. Flip onions and eggplant as need to cook evenly.
- The eggplant should take on a golden color and should be softened all the way through when it's done cooking, the onions, should be soft but crisped on the edges.
- Just before you're ready to take the eggplant off, throw a little bit more olive oil on the skillet and press the inside of each bun (or piece of bread) against it, giving it a nice golden crisp. Take everything off the heat.
- Spread hummus on bottom bun. Sprinkle with chopped kalamata olives on top. Top with sauteed eggplant slice. Top with crispy salt and pepper red onions. Top with arugula, then tomato slices. Spread hummus on the remaining slice of bread and top that burger off.
- Voila! Your fancy-pants, vegetarian greek eggplant burger is served -and for less money than your average fast food meal would have been!