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.