These Eggplant Parmesan Burgers feature the flavors of classic eggplant parm…in sandwich form!
Eggplant gets a bad rap. Sure, it has a somewhat spongy texture that is a bit odd. But it’s also loaded with all sorts of good nutrients, too! And on top of that, eggplant can be delicious when it’s prepared well. A couple of years ago, I had some delicious eggplant “meatballs” which really changed my opinion about this veggie. The eggplant was cooked down, mixed with a number of spices and other ingredients, and then fried into a delicious meatball. I remember thinking at the time that the meatballs would make a delicious burger. I finally got around to trying it out the other day, and it tasted amazing!
These burgers are somewhat similar to the classic eggplant Parmesan, but the difference here is that the eggplant is cooked first. Then the eggplant is blended with spices before being shaped into patties. I’ve tried eggplant both ways, and I strongly prefer this style…I feel like the strange spongy texture of the eggplant isn’t as noticeable when the eggplant is cooked first. I find these “burgers” so much tastier than a traditional eggplant parm sandwich!
I put these Eggplant Parmesan Burgers squarely in the middle of the comfort food category…which means they are perfect for chilly Fall and cold Winter days. Regular readers of Spiced will know that I am a huge fan of grilling and smoking all sorts of food, but there’s something about a foot or two of snow that kinda dampens my interest in grilling burgers or making pulled pork! I suspect that these “burgers” will be a good alternative as the days get colder. And if burgers aren’t your thing, then just form the eggplant mixture into meatballs instead of patties and serve them over a steaming plate of pasta and tomato sauce! (If you’re looking for more traditional burgers, I suggest taking a look at these Smoky Whiskey BBQ Burgers or these Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burgers.)
Eggplant Parmesan Burgers
- 4 tsp salt divided
- 1 large eggplant about 1-1.5 pounds, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 slices day-old bread
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic finely diced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ Tbsp Italian seasonings
- 1⅓ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ½-1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil or just enough oil to cover the bottom of the fry pan
- ½ pound fresh Mozzarella cheese sliced into rounds
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 4 hamburger buns homemade or store-bought
- Fill a large saucepan about half-full with water. Add 1 Tbsp of salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add quartered eggplant and boil for 10 minutes.
- Once the eggplant has cooked, transfer it into a large bowl. Add crumbled bread, egg, grated cheese, garlic, pepper, salt (1 tsp), and Italian seasonings.
- Using an immersion blender, process the eggplant mixture until smooth.
- Depending on the thickness of the eggplant batter, add flour until batter becomes the consistency of thick oatmeal. (This is usually about 1/2-1 cup of flour depending on size of eggplant and amount of liquid in the batter. Note: The batter will be very sticky, so be deliberate in shaping the burgers.)
- Add enough oil to a large fry pan to coat the bottom. Heat oil to about 350°F.
- Take approximately 1/2 cup of the eggplant batter and form into patty.
- Pat both sides of patty with Panko crumbs and transfer into frying pan.
- Fry patties for 2-3 min per side, or until both sides are deep golden brown in color. (Note: This step may need to be done in several batches depending on the size of your pan.)
- Once cooked, transfer patties to a paper towel-lined plant and pat dry.
- Place one patty on each bottom bun and top with 2 Tbsp tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese (note: do not put top bun on burger yet)
- Place burgers on cookie sheet and broil for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese on top.
- Finish with top bun and serve hot.