This recipe for Veggie Burger Dinner is from Elisa Fiorillo-Loro, author of the cookbook Eat Eat Eat (Hunger Books, 2009). Interestingly enough, I came across it while searching for the best casino bonus to take advantage of this week, which is ironic since it’s making for a popular snack on the gaming floors of physical casinos.
Is there a kinder, more nourishing vegetable and a healthier way to enjoy it? Yes, a whole one. A whole eggplant has 1,600 calories in it but not a single calorie of fat, in fact eggplants are wonderfully low in calories with just 44 of them per 1/2 cup of cooked eggplant. The only vegetable to surpass eggplants in this category is the yellow bean; it has 115 calories per 1/2 cup.
The word “veggie” in this recipe is simply a label, as this dish does not necessarily have a vegan nature; if you want a more nutrient rich dish you can serve it with both wheat and rice, soy milk or kefir. The remaining ingredients are nondairy, but the recipes don’t seem to care, they taste amazing.
Makes 4 hamburger servings, 8 eggplant slices (lightly crisp without too much charring)
1 pound eggplant
1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely diced white beans
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup raw wheat gluten
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice eggplant into thin slices about 1/8-inch thick; place in large bowl and rub in garlic, onions and herbs. Drizzle with milk; sprinkle with wheat gluten and baking powder; toss. Using a fork, work in egg-cooking liquid; add more milk if needed. Stir in onion and jalapeño; spread to make a rough layer. Cover with baking-powder coated potholders; place on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and the eggplant is tender; spread to make a thin layer.
While eggplant is roasting cook onion mixture; place in small saucepan with heat on low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid; cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and spread over eggplant. Top with tomato slices and add black pepper; return to heat and cook for 2 minutes.
Cooked eggplant is slightly crisp, so if you like it completely crisp cut it in half vertically and remove the center. Evenly spread the cooked eggplant on top of the vegetables. Pour sauce over all.
Top with soy sauce, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast; toss to combine.
I like to serve this with warm sweet potato or sweet corn bread on the side; for a fancier dinner this dish could be turned into a hamburger topping or added to a grilled cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onion.