There are a lot of great recipes for veggie burgers out there. This one from Minimalist Baker is one of my favorite. And while I prefer to make my own food rather than get store bought, sometimes I just want to take the easier route and go to the store and get what I want in like two minutes.
Which is the position I found myself in the Monday before the 4th of July.
Adam and I planned to have dinner with my parents that night and grill all the things. I’ve been bringing my own concoctions to grill while the others have burgers and brats. I brought those Minimalist Baker burgers once and I’ve experimented with carrot hot dogs. I’m still not totally sold on those. Anyways, on this particular
Anyways, on this particular Monday, I hadn’t had any time to make something for myself because we had been away all weekend. I figured I would just pick up some store-bought veggie burgers and go on my merry way. I was aware that the ingredient list might not be stellar but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of garbage in most veggie burgers. I went to three different stores and found nada. Unrecognizable ingredients, sugar, refined oils, and thickeners reigned supreme and I didn’t want the easy way out bad enough to eat those.
I was about to give up and just resign myself to eating all the side dishes when I remembered eggplants. People turn those into burger like things, right? I grabbed one and hoped for the best. Before putting it on the grill I slathered it with a little pesto I had leftover from the weekend. It was so simple but so good. The smokiness from the grill, the basil-i-ness (totally a word) of the pesto, the creaminess of the grilled eggplant made for one tasty dish.
And while it isn’t really a “recipe”, I had to share it with you guys. Now, I don’t have a grill at home. They frown upon that in apartments downtown that have no outdoor access, but I made these again with the help of the broiler and a touch of liquid smoke. I’ll share both versions so you those of you grill-less people can join in the delicious-ness!
Pesto Eggplant Burgers
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into “patties”
- 1 batch of pesto (here, here, here, here, or your favorite store brand)
- 1 tsp liquid smoke, if you aren’t using a grill
- Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt. Place the eggplant “patties” in a single layer on the paper towels and then sprinkle with a little more salt. Place more paper towels on top of the eggplant and press lightly. Let the eggplant sit for about 20 minutes.
- If you aren’t using a grill, stir in the teaspoon of liquid into your pesto. After 20 minutes have passed, lightly brush off the salt from the eggplant. Spread about 1 tablespoon of pesto on each side of the eggplant.
- If you’re grilling, lightly spray a grill basket with olive oil and grill the eggplant 5-10 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is soft and browned along the edges.
- If you don’t have a grill, heat up your broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Broil eggplant for five minutes and then flip over and broil for another five minutes.
You can serve this on regular hamburger buns or use butter lettuce leaves, which is what I did. Enjoy!