Grilled Eggplant, Halloumi and Pesto Burgers

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on May 23, 2011

Here is a vegetarian grilled eggplant, halloumi and pesto burgers recipe that even meat lovers will go crazy for. This is perfect for weekend and holiday grilling.

Halloumi is one of my favorite cheeses. This salty, dense cheese is from Cyprus and is great for grilling. You can substitute halloumi with mozzarella, feta or paneer, but it just wont be the same :(

But if you do use any of the substitutions, remember that you don’t have to grill the mozzarella or feta. If using paneer, sprinkle it with salt after grilling.

The eggplant and halloumi won’t stick if your grill is hot and well-seasoned. If you are doubtful, spray some nonstick spray on the grill grates before starting it up.

Grilled Eggplant, Halloumi and Pesto Burgers Recipe

Makes 4 burgers

1 medium eggplant, weighing about 1 lb.
3/4 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4th teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
4 oz halloumi cheese

To assemble the grilled eggplant, halloumi and pesto burgers
4 medium sized burger buns
4 teaspoons pesto
Mayonnaise, according to taste. Optional.
2 leaves of lettuce, cut in half
1 large tomato, cut into 4 slices

Cut the eggplant into ½ inch thick rounds, at its widest part. Save the remaining eggplant for another dish. Place the sliced eggplant in a shallow dish.

Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning salt and pepper together. When adding salt, keep in mind that the halloumi is an already salty cheese. Pour the whisked ingredients over the eggplant rounds, and toss well to coat.

Slice the halloumi into ½ inch thick slices.

Heat a grill on medium-high heat. You can use an outdoor grill or a cast iron stove top grill like I did.

When the grill is hot, arrange the eggplant slices on the grill, and cook for about 6 minutes on each side or till the eggplant is cooked.

Then grill the halloumi slices on both sides till golden grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.

If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the eggplant and halloumi in batches on a large skillet.

You are now ready to assemble the burgers.

Spread some mayonnaise, if using, on 2 halves of a burger bun. Take one half of a bun, and stack the grilled eggplant, halloumi and spread 1 teaspoon of pesto. Top it with tomato and lettuce. Place the other half of the burger bun on top.

Serve with fries or a chilled cucumber salad tossed with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

These burgers will go great with my blueberry lemonade or jalapeno lemonade.

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Comments

comments

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah May 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

This looks scrumptious. I doubt I would miss the meat!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

my husband actually thought it was a grilled chicken & eggplant burger!

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2 Shobana May 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Yum! Do u season ur eggplants?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I tossed them in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, italian seasoning, salt, pepper.

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Shobana Reply:

Dang…I missed that part. Thanks for your reply :)

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3 Kira May 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I absolutely love halloumi! In fact, I just wrote a small homage to halloumi on my blog:) This looks unbelievably delicious – I had never considered halloumi in a burger. I’m gonna have to give this a try as soon as possible!

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4 anh@anhsfoodblog.com May 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I love haloumi cheese as well!! :)

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5 Rosa May 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Oh, fantastic! That burger must be so scrumptious. A wonderful combination.

Cheers,

Rosa

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6 Nishi May 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

This is indeed a unique recipe salaa. I have never tasted Haloumi. I would love to give this cheese a try :)

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7 Mika May 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I bought halloumi once, I grilled and forgot to eat it! Two of my friends ate it instead of me, so now I don’t know which was its taste…eheheh, I didn’t have the opportunity to buy it again and here where I live now it simply doesn’t exsist…they said to me it was chewy…
Your burges look really tasty and really italian…I love them

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Sorry you didnt have a chance to eat your halloumi! Its a fantastic cheese! Yes, chewy is a good way to describe it. It also squeaks a bit when you chew it, fun!

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8 Ami May 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hi Sala,

Though I’m not a big fan of burgers, your post is so awesome, it tempts me to try them. Hallomi sounds like my type of cheese, are they vegetarian i.e. no rennet?

I bought a new camera, to improve food photos. this is my first post, appreciate your expert view about it.
http://amisvegetariandelicacies.blogspot.com/2011/05/malaysian-mee-goreng-fried-noodles.html

do u have any tips to photographing @ night? some meals i only make for dinner so i’ve no option but to shoot @ night.

Thanks, Abi

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Kira Reply:

Hi Abi,

Just so your post, and thought I’d give my two cents :) I think it might depend which make you buy, but the one I get here in Denmark has non-animal rennet. I believe I have seen non-vegetarian versions though.

Kira

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

The halloumi I get has rennet, its the only kind thegrocery store has.

Photographing at night – you’ll need to invest in ego lights. Ego lights are a much better option than using flash at night. http://www.amazon.com/Lowel-Digital-Imaging-Tabletop-Fluorescent/dp/B0009K50RO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306247611&sr=8-1

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Ami Reply:

Tnx Sala for the info on lights. It’s quiet expensive. Anyway tnx atleast i know what to look for. I’m definitely gonna try hallomi, specially coz ur hubby thought it’s chicken. My hubby likes chewy stuff too. Have u cooked veg chicken?

http://amisvegetariandelicacies.blogspot.com/2010/09/vegetarian-chicken-curry.html

here we get variety of fake meat, but it’s highly processed food.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

for a cheaper lighting option, you can make your own lightbox. see this tutorial http://jugalbandi.info/2008/08/photography-solutions-do-it-yourself-tabletop-lighting-system/

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9 Pure2raw Twins May 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Halloumi never heard of it, sounds and looks delicious! This pesto stacked burger looks perfect for this summer!

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10 wgfoodie May 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

I’ve never tried grilling halloumi cheese but this definitely makes me want to try.

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11 Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum May 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

Absolutely beautiful! That cheese is pretty easy on the eyes (and I’m sure easy on the palette as well)! Yum!

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12 Claire May 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

Brilliant idea for a veggie burger. This would work perfectly for a bbq too – both the aubergine and the halloumi could be done on the bbq. I posted about halloumi the other day – but now feel shamed i didn’t do anything creative with it ;-)

Fab photography.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yes, they would. I had to take my grilling indoors because it was raining that day.

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13 easy vegetarian recipes May 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

This looks delicious. I didn’t even notice the eggplant. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe. I love burgers and would surely try this out.

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14 Wanda May 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

Yum! That sounds almost sinful…I’m going to try that with some vegan cheese later!

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15 Sharmilee May 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

Burger with eggplant sounds like a interesting idea and the pesto burger looks way too tempting

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16 Indu May 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

absolutely droolworthy pics. Never tasted Halloumi, dont think it is available here. Should try a burger with grilled paneer.

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17 Danielle@sixtasteschef.com/blog May 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

Great idea! I love halloumi and grilled mushrooms, so I will love this burger! I will definitely try it.

Danielle

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18 sally May 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

This burger looks fantastic! Halloumi is definitely on my list of things to try!

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19 sudha May 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

i was introduced to halloumi while in cyprus..yummmmm! is this meal divine or what :)

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20 Cynthia May 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm

This is an idea worth stealing ;)

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21 blogbytina! May 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

this looks so great! I cant wait for real summer to start so I can bust out my grill :D

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22 Cooking Foodie May 25, 2011 at 6:37 am

Gorgeous gorgeous burgers! I want a bite now!

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23 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 25, 2011 at 7:36 am

I’m always searching for great great grilling recipes especially with summer coming up and everyone cooking outdoors.

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24 Niv Mani May 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

where would I get Halloumi!, This dish is singing my head like the proverbial song humming away!!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

haha! im glad you have a recipe stuck in your head! so much better than a song!

call your local grocery stores and ask if they carry halloumi. Here in Virginia, Ive seen it in Wegmans, Harris Teeter, and I’m going to guess that Whole foods or Trader Joes will also have it.

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Kathleen Richardson Reply:

I got my Halloumi here in NYS at Wegmans.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

mediterranean and middle eastern stores will also have halloumi

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25 Ami May 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Thanks Sala. Hv a grt day…

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26 kankana May 26, 2011 at 4:23 am

Hubby loves to grill and i think he is gonna enjoy grilling eggplant too. The only normal way we usually eat eggplant is by making baigan bharta .. this will be a great twist !

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27 Kathleen Richardson May 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Delicious! I have to admit I was a bit shocked at the price of Halloumi, but it’s worth every penny! I used my little one-(wo)man indoor George Foreman grill to cook the eggplant (no seasonings whatsoever) and to heat the cheese. I can’t decide if the Halloumi alone is what gives this sandwich the great taste, or the Halloumi combined with the pesto.

This evening, I put some of the cheese in a small pan and browned it to eat rolled up in a tortilla with vegetarian Italian sausage, onion and bell pepper strips, and some of your peanut butter sauce. Hooked on Halloumi!

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28 Kevin (Closet Cooking) June 22, 2011 at 4:58 am

That is on nice looking burger! I like the use of the halloumi.

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29 marla June 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

Love grilled Halloumi cheese – had it in Mexico earlier this year.

Cookin’ Canuck and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other Entrees in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs. You just need to link up on one site :) http://su.pr/17fizq

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30 Mindi July 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Oh my goodness that looks amazing! I absolutely LOVE eggplant :) Thanks for sharing!

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31 Kelly January 29, 2012 at 3:52 am

This looks sooooo delicious! I really want to Pin It! Please add a Pinterest button. :)

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32 HolliDe June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I made these for dinner this evening and they were EXCELLENT! My husband and I LOVED them! Thank you, thank you, thank you, and we look forward to trying more of your recipes :)

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33 Donna September 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

This was sooooo tasty!

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34 Emily : RainbowDelicious.com January 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

These burgers were amazing! I am currently obsessed with halloumi cheese so I was so excited to see this recipe on pinterest and give it a try. I shared this recipe in my most recent weekly meal plan on my blog, thank you!

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35 Maria June 22, 2013 at 9:12 am

I love these burgers! I’ve been making them since I saw this post a couple of years ago, but my version doesn’t come with pesto since I was craving a more traditional burger taste. Instead, I use homemade mayonnaise (1 egg yolk , 1 teaspoon of good mustard , olive oil, mix with a stick blender) with honey, yogurt, garlic and a finely chopped onion.

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36 Bethanie R July 18, 2013 at 12:35 am

This was SO tasty! Just made it for dinner tonight; prepared it for my vegetarian sister and her very not-vegetarian husband with sides of grilled mushrooms and a big greens, beets and avocado salad. We all loved it so much that everyone forgot about the meat which was supposed to be grilled next for the carnivores; instead they put it back in the refrigerator and asked for seconds of the halloumi burgers. Will absolutely repeat on future warm evenings, simple and very satisfying.

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37 Rachel Cotterill August 16, 2013 at 8:38 am

These are some of my favourite ingredients! Lovely :)

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38 Jen September 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Just made this for dinner – VERY delicious! I made it with some sweet potato chips and salad. My tummy is very happy now.

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