Even if you don’t like eggplant, you will love these eggplant burgers, which really don’t taste like eggplant at all! Try them with Spicy Onion-Pepper Relish or your favorite burger toppings.
Leftovers give you two separate good feelings. When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent–“I’m saving food!” And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away you feel…really intelligent–“I’m saving my life!”
I often think of eggplants like George Carlin’s leftovers. When you buy one, you feel really good for bringing home this healthy, shiny vegetable. Then you put it into your fridge and forget it for a week or so, and when you pull it out, it’s all dull and sunken in places, and you feel…. Well, that’s where the comparison ends because, if you’re like me, you feel guilty that this once-beautiful food has gone to waste.
It used to happen to me more often than I want to admit until I hit upon a solution: If I haven’t used the eggplant after two or three days, I cut it in two and roast it in my toaster oven. Eggplant will last longer once it’s cooked, giving me time to figure out what new and adventurous recipe I want to create with it (though most of the time my cooking muse is silent and it becomes baba ganoush).
Baba will probably always be my favorite way to use roasted eggplant, but these veggie burgers and the pesto I posted earlier this summer tie for second place. Even if you don’t like eggplant, you will love these burgers, which really don’t taste like eggplant at all (ask E the Eggplant Hater, who enjoyed her burger even knowing it contained eggplant).
I used a new favorite ingredient to bind together the eggplant and lentils: Quinoa flakes are quinoa that has been steamed and flattened so that you can use it like oatmeal as a hot cereal. It cooks quickly and in this recipe doesn’t have to be pre-cooked at all.
But if you don’t have quinoa flakes, regular old-fashioned oats also work. Just pulse them in the food processor after measuring to chop them up a little (no need to turn them into flour.)
If you’re not a curry lover, try changing the seasonings to suit your taste. The ingredients go well with chipotle and chile powder or thyme, basil, and oregano. Have fun and be adventurous!
One note: The batter is wetter than most veggie burgers’, so I form the burgers in a hot skillet and pre-brown them before baking or air frying them. Forming them into patties with your hands can be messy, so I advise placing a ring mold into the skillet, filling it to about 1/2-inch thick, and lifting it off to use again. You may think that the batter will never thicken up, but it does, creating a meatier texture than you might expect.
Like most veggie burgers, these will probably fall apart if you try to cook them on a barbecue grill, but once they’re baked, they hold together well and can be reheated on the grill, making them a perfect food to bring to a Labor Day picnic.
Even dogs love them! 😉
Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burgers
- 1 large eggplant (*see Notes below)
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 3/4 cup quinoa flakes or rolled oats (Chop old fashioned oats in food processor after measuring and before using.)
- 1/2 small onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons potato starch, corn starch, or arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (spicy or mild)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or other sweetener, optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove the top of the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Place it cut-sides down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Bake for 25 minutes or until the eggplant is completely sunken in and tender. Remove to a shallow dish and allow to cool completely. (You can do this even several days in advance and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
- Once the eggplant is cool, discard any liquid that has accumulated and scrape the pulp from the peel. Place the pulp in a food processor and pulse a few times to make a coarse puree. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix very well and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Wet your hands and form eggplant mixture into patties about 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. (You can also form the burgers by spooning the mixture into the pan and using the back of a spoon to shape it into patties or by placing a ring mold into the pan and molding the mixture inside it.) Cook three or four at a time until well browned and then carefully flip over and brown the other side. Remove with a spatula and place each burger on a prepared baking sheet for oven baking or preheated air fryer basket.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Place the browned burgers onto the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until burgers are cooked through.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat the air fryer to 400F. Place the browned burgers onto the hot air fryer basket and cook for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Exact time will depend on your air fryer.
- Serve with traditional hamburger condiments or with Spicy Onion-Pepper Relish, below.
Nutritional info is approximate.
I enjoyed the flavor of mild curry with the lentils and eggplant and, being the heat-lover that I am, spiced them up by serving them with this fiery relish made from onions and a jalapeno pepper from my garden.
Spicy Onion-Pepper Relish
- 1 medium onion , finely diced
- 1 hot pepper (I used red jalapeno), seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon spicy smoked paprika (or 3/4 tsp. smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Combine all ingredients and allow to stand for 30 minutes for flavors to blend. For hotter relish, add extra cayenne pepper to taste.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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JessicaJune 5, 2012 at 8:41 am
To anyone thinking of making these……MAKE THEM! THEY’RE DELISH!
I made these tonight for my partner and a friend and we all LOVED them!
Although instead of serving them in wraps we had them in toasted turkish bread (with the spicy onion relish, avocado, red onion, tomato and mised lettuce)
We’ve just started eating vegan, and this is definatly one of the best recipes I’ve come across so far so thankyou so much for it, it will definatly become a regular meal for us!
AndreaAugust 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm
Hello, I just made this delicious patties. I used arrow root, and my eggplant wasn’t as big, so I added zucchini, used split peas instead of lentils because I didn’t have any. However, I had issues cooking the patties. First I couldn’t sear them in the pan, I guess they were probably to wet and I didn’t want to use to much oil. So, I decided to bake them only, put parchment paper, but they got stuck, I couldn’t get them off without losing their browned bottoms. Any suggestions?
KatherineNovember 22, 2012 at 9:45 am
I loved this recipe! Thanks for posting. I am a big aubergine fan at the moment, and this is a great new way to eat them.
Hanna RoddenDecember 11, 2012 at 12:06 am
have been looking for a specific resipe that I saw ina magazine or catalog and now cannot fidn it. The recipe was for eggplant patties made with red curry paste. Bought the paste and now cannot find the recipe. is very frustrating.
Esther JJanuary 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Honestly, this is probably the best veggie burger I’ve ever made!
I love the texture, the flavors, everything. All the time, though, I was craving naan or roti. I think next time I make them I’ll try to find some to complement them. Umm, yummy. 🙂
JaneJanuary 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm
Made these last night for my family and they were fantastic!! Will definitely be a family favorite. Loved they way they held together and didn’t disintegrate like many other veggie burgers. Also, they had a great texture and so full of flavor.
Many thanks x
StatchSeptember 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm
I tried these today, and my husband and I really enjoyed them. I used yellow split peas because they were all I had, and they were a little too crunchy, so I would use the brown ones next time, but the flavor was great, and otherwise we liked the texture too. My husband saw the eggplant in advance, and doesn’t like eggplant’s taste or texture, so he started out with a bias against them, but still said he enjoyed them and would like to have them again. (And he doesn’t hesitate to say when he doesn’t like something!) I used quick oats pulsed in the food processor instead of the quinoa flakes. I really liked how the burgers held their shape.
Katherine ColbertSeptember 4, 2013 at 9:17 am
I prepped the eggplant last night and the lentils and cooked it up today. Lets just say the patties are all gone. What a great way to use eggplant!
SineadOctober 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Wow these were so amazing! This will be made over and over. I had them with the relish and cashew ‘sour cream’. The relish was also fab. I added a small amount of agave to it. Thank you so much for this recipe. 🙂
Shireen POctober 11, 2013 at 1:26 am
These were DELICIOUS! I didn’ t have quinoa flakes, so I substituted quick-cut oats. And the onion relish is perfect with them! Next time I will double the recipe and freeze a batch for later. Yum!
Happee GalSeptember 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm
Another hit, Susan!
We just finished having these for dinner and my daughter (who doesn’t like eggplant) never knew what she was eating. Thank you again and again for your wonderful blog; every time I need a new recipe I come here first because I know it will be delicious and healthy. Please know that your work is very much appreciated.
WernerSeptember 10, 2015 at 8:59 pm
Oh my, delicious! And this is from the girl who rarely follows through w/ veggie burgers because it’s just too much trouble. Always end up just tossing ingredients in a pan and making a one-pot meal. But this was easy and worth the baking step. Used oats whirled in blender in place of quinoa flakes, browning in pan didn’t work out at all so just baked in oven. Crispy, perfectly spiced patties. The relish was also great mixed in with my steamed kale. Never fails, you’re my fav vegan kitchen lady!
May RamadanOctober 22, 2015 at 1:57 pm
Hi Susan I was wondering if I can use cooked quinoa instead of quinoa flakes because unfortunately, they r not available where I live. If so how many cups of cooked quinoa should I use??
Susan VoisinOctober 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm
I’m afraid that quinoa wouldn’t have the binding effect that the flakes have and would probably make the burgers fall apart. Can you use oatmeal or brown rice flour?
May RamadanOctober 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm
I can use brown rice flour instead but I wanted to know the quantity .. Should ibises more or less than a 1/2 a cup??
May RamadanOctober 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm
I can use brown rice flour instead but I wanted to know the quantity .. Should i use more or less than a 1/2 a cup??
Susan VoisinOctober 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm
I would use 1/3 cup and add more as needed to make them stick together.
May RamadanOctober 23, 2015 at 3:16 am
Thank u Susan xx
May RamadanNovember 3, 2015 at 1:00 am
I tried the burgers with quinoa flour they tasted amazing but they didn’t hold quite well. So I’m gona try the oatmeal. I just wanted to clarify the oatmeal u mean the rolled oats flour or u use the rolled oats as they are.
Susan VoisinNovember 3, 2015 at 8:24 am
I would either use the rolled oats as they are or process them lightly in a food processor to make them a little finer but not completely ground into flour.