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Twice Grilled Eggplant-Portobello Burgers with Grilled Peppers & Red Onion, Arugula Salad with Balsamic Glaze and White Truffle Oil and Grilled Tomato-Mint-Yogurt Spread

The inspiration for this recipe was to come up with best tasting veggie burger for my picky vegetarian daughter and for Build a Better Burger, 2011.

Although my daughter has never been a fan of eggplants, I decided that grilled eggplants combined with grilled Portobello mushroom caps would give the burger a great earthy flavor as well as create the perfect texture for the patty. I added goat cheese to compliment the flavors of the vegetables.

I then decided to place the burger patty between toasted Crustini rolls with a grilled tomato-mint-cumin-Greek yogurt spread below the patty and grilled pepper-onion-arugula salad with Balsamic glaze, white truffle oil, pine nuts and Kalamata olives on top. These earthy and Mediterranean inspired flavors result in a veggie burger that is full of flavor! Just ask my daughter, she loved them, or try them for yourself.

Ingredients 

Patties:

2 Eggplants, at least a pound each
2 Portobello caps, at least 4 1/2 inch wide
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 cup crumbled Goat cheese (Alouette brand preferred)

Salad:

2 cups Red bell pepper strips
2 cups Yellow bell pepper strips
2 cups thinly sliced red onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups packed, pre-washed Arugula
2 tablespoons Balsamic glaze
2 tablespoons White Truffle oil
1/4 cup toasted Pine nuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted Kalamata olives

Spread:

2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt

6 Premium Italian Crustini rolls, split
1/2 cup olive oil for brushing the grill rack, grill topper and rolls

Instructions 

Peel the Eggplants and cut into half inch thick slices, lengthwise. Brush oil on both sides of slices and Portobello caps. Preheat the grill to medium. Grill eggplant and Portobello caps for 3-5 minutes on each side, covered, till cooked through. Remove to a large tray and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the caps into 4-6 pieces. Place eggplant slices and Portobello pieces in a food processor with cutting blade. Pulse 3-4 times till coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium size stainless steel bowl. Add salt, black pepper, green onions, egg whites and Panko bread crumbs. Use large forks to combine all the ingredients. Do not over mix. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to cool the mixture. Once, cooled, remove the bowl from refrigerator and fold in crumbled Goat cheese. Divide the mixture and shape into six patties. Place them on a large baking dish and refrigerate.

To make salad, toss bell peppers and onions with oil in medium bowl. Place a grill topper on the grill. Once, heated, transfer the mixture to the grill topper. Grill for 3-5 minutes with occasional stirring till peppers and onions are lightly charred. Transfer them back to the bowl and add salt, pepper, arugula, balsamic glaze, truffle oil, pine nuts and olives. Toss and mix well. Cover and set aside.

To make the spread, coat the cherry tomatoes with oil in small bowl. Place them on the grill topper. Grill for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring till lightly charred. Remove and let cool for few minutes. Transfer to food processor and add mint leaves. Process till coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add salt, crushed red pepper, ground cumin and yogurt. Mix well and set aside.

To grill patties, remove the grill topper. Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties and cover the grill. Grill 3-4 minutes each side till the patties are heated through and cheese begins to melt. Brush oil on the cut side of the buns and grill until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.

To assemble the burger, divide the tomato-mint-yogurt spread equally on to bottom buns. Place the patties and then add generous amount of grilled peppers-onion and arugula salad on the patties. Add the top buns and serve.