This meal is an incredible investment piece. Both the burgers and tomato jam freeze well, so you can heat and eat at a moment’s notice.
Extra credit project: Lunch remix
If packing this meal for lunch the next day, skip the bun and place two patties per person on a bed of arugula. Top with Roasted Tomato Jam and a little mayo on the side.
1 eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 1/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice, cold
1/3 cup tahini or almond butter
1 cup almond meal (almond flour)
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1/4 cup tamari almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp dried currants, chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp dried mint
2 tsp lemon juice
Roasted Tomato Jam
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp vegan butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
8 whole grain or gluten-free buns, halved
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 cups baby arugula
Make the Eggplant Burgers:
Preheat oven to 425 F.
On large rimmed baking sheet or glass or ceramic baking dish, place eggplant. Pierce in several spots with fork. Roast for 35 to 50 minutes, until eggplant has darkened and collapsed. When cool enough to handle, scrape out flesh into fine-mesh sieve (a touch of skin is fine), place over bowl and drain for 10 minutes. Discard eggplant juices or save for another use.
To large bowl, add drained eggplant and rice. Using your hands, squish together eggplant and rice until mixture is evenly blended. Switch to spatula or wooden spoon and mix in tahini or almond butter, almond meal and garlic, followed by almonds, currants, mint and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate mixture to firm up a touch, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Arrange oven racks to accommodate 2 trays. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop out burger mixture (it will be slightly tacky and wet) to make 8 patties, evenly spacing on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, remove baking sheets from oven and gently flip patties, being careful not to break them. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until both sides are golden brown and patties are firm. Cool if packing or storing in refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in freezer for up to 3 months.
Make the Roasted Tomato Jam:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Drain as much liquid from canned tomatoes as possible and add whole tomatoes to large 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan or glass or ceramic casserole dish along with remaining jam ingredients. Put on an apron, then very slowly, using your hands, squish tomatoes until broken into small pieces (the slower the better, as the juices will go everywhere otherwise). Roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until mixture is thickened and bubbling. Cool and refrigerate airtight for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Assemble the burgers:
Reheat burgers in oven on low heat until warmed through. Toast buns and spread bottoms and tops with mayonnaise. Add a burger patty to the bottom of each bun, followed by tomato jam and arugula. Top each bun with its top half.