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June 20, 2013 at 10:01 AMComments: 10 Faves: 0

IN MY KITCHEN: Vegetarian Greek Eggplant Burger

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Gastronomics Blog Series

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:

Vegetarian Greek Eggplant Burger Step-By-Step Toppings

  • 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!

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  • I make no bones about my inner carnivore, but this looks delicious. Would tossin' a little BBQ on that bad boy ruin it?

  • Thanks, Kyle! I'm actually a total BBQ fiend, but I also think you'd be surprised by how juicy the eggplant and tomato make the sandwich already. I'd try some without, but if your heart is still set on BBQ, I'd go ahead and swap the olives for roasted red peppers like I mentioned you could. :)

  • I'd definitely take out those olives and put in roasted red peppers. I think dropping the onion in favor of some sauted shitakes would make it all the more enjoyable. Looks awesome though!

  • Are you telling me you don't like onions?! Jeesh! At LEAST tell me you like garlic! If no onions, how about a little roasted garlic? That seems a more even greek ingredient swap than shitake mushrooms.

    It's easy to roast your own: cut the top off a head to expose the tops of all the bulbs, pour a little olive oil over the top and sprinkle with a little sea salt, roast it slow in an oven (I'd just se my little toaster oven - no point heating up the big guy!) at 350. Pull it out when the bulbs are soft, golden brown and have made every person in or near your house insanely hungry! ;)

  • Oh, yeah. I was already planning on swapping out those nasty little pieces of devil fruit for the red peppers. I'll give that a whirl at some point and let you know.

  • I personally love them, but I'll admit olives ARE sort of a funky food. If you don't like salty, mineral tastes, they're probably not going to be your thing on their own. HOWEVER, you might be surprised to find you like them in smaller amounts, mixed with other flavors. If you treat them more like a spice or condiment than a main ingredient, you can use them instead of salt to add an interesting level of complexity to a dish.

  • I'm super excited to try this out! I love eggplant and this looks good. I've never tried Udi's buns before but I really like their gluten free bread.

  • Love Udis! Their buns are as good as bread. So nice to have a gluten-free bread that's light a fluffy, not dense like a lot of gluten free bread seems to be.

  • I like onions, but I don't care for red onions. Too much bite. I love garlic, green onions, shallots, and other milder alliums. Agreed that the mushrooms are non-greek, my bad! Forgot this was Greek. So, I would put a bit of crumbled feta on it and maybe use sun-dried grape tomatoes.

  • Raw red onions are pretty bite-y, but these are practically french-fried onions. They're sweet! Feta and sun-dried tomatoes would be good too though.

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