Here’s a burger that is mainly composed of fresh vegetables instead of grains, lentils, split peas, or beans (or meat, of course). Grated carrot, tomatoes, onions, and eggplant form an unlikely but excellent union. The puréed eggplant helps bind the burger, and the dried tomatoes and carrots provide a sweet, mellow flavor. The sesame seeds give the burger a bit of crunch. I recommend serving these burgers between toasted bread slices. Note that this recipe requires a food processor.
Cooking Methodbaking, pan-frying
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Taste and Texturecrisp, nutty, savory, sweet
Type of Dishsandwich, vegetable
- 1 small or ½ large eggplant (about ¾ pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 12 slices sundried tomato or other dried tomato
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 large garlic clove, cut into four pieces
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 7 slices stale or toasted sandwich bread
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1½ cups grated carrots
- Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the eggplant cubes into a colander, and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over them. Toss the eggplant, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dried tomatoes into a small saucepan, and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, and simmer the tomatoes for 5 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Rinse the eggplant cubes well with cold water. Put them onto a baking sheet, and drizzle the oil over them. Spread the onions and garlic on another baking sheet. Place both pans in the oven and bake the vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes until the eggplant is tender and the onions and garlic are lightly browned.
Pulverize the rolled oats in a food processor. Break the bread into pieces, and add them to the processor. Whirl until crumbs are formed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Drain the tomatoes. Put the cooked eggplant, onion, and garlic with the drained tomatoes into the processor. Process until the mixture is fairly smooth. Transfer it to the bowl of oats and bread crumbs.
Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When they start to brown, begin to shake the pan periodically. Toast the seeds until they are uniformly browned, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Mix the sesame into the burger mixture with the grated carrots, lh teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Chill the mixture, if possible, for an hour.
With well-floured hands, form four patties about 4 inches in diameter and 1½ inches thick. Pour the oil into a large skillet (not non-stick) over medium heat (not higher; these burgers burn easily). Add the burgers, and cook them until the undersides are a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip them, and cook them about 3 minutes more. Serve them hot.
Variation: If you like more of a crust on your burgers, coat them with additional ground oats before pan-frying them.
1997 Didi Emmons