Regular readers of this blog may know that I remain unconvinced that a portobello mushroom, in and of itself, constitutes an acceptable veggie burger.
Meaty as they are, one large, watery, lightly grilled, unseasoned mushroom does not a satisfying meal make. And as much as I love halloumi, I am also skeptical that a huge hunk of halloumi is the direction in which veggie burgers should be moving. I like veggies in my veggie burger. Lots of them. With lots of flavour.
So here, hopefully, I present the best of all worlds – portobello mushroom and aubergine burgers with halloumi.
Big juicy pieces of vegetable, marinated to within an inch of their lives with lemon juice and zest, balsamic, fresh garlic, chilli and soy.
An umami party going on right there.
Vegetables absorb marinade best when hot and when they’ve had a chance to release some of their copious water. So both the mushrooms and the aubergine are prepared first – the mushrooms roasted and the aubergine slices pan-fried in a heavy skillet – before being doused in lovely, spicy, fruity marinade.
All topped with hot, tender slices of smoked halloumi. Yeah I said it, smoked halloumi! If you missed that post, check out the full explanation of how to create this flavour-bomb yourself, in the comfort of your own home. That a big dollop of chipotle yoghurt. And a bun.
This is a healthy, hearty burger, so I think potatoes on the side might be overkill, but a nice, big, crunchy salad dressed with the same vinegar you used in the marinade would be fab. Especially with some lovely, creamy avocado. And some zingy spring onions.
Crusty bun. Hot, tangy vegetables. Cool, creamy chipotle yoghurt. Soft, salty halloumi. Oh yes.
Portobello mushroom burgers with halloumi
- juice & zest of half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons apple balsamic vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- large pinch hot chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 medium aubergine
- salt for the aubergine
- oil to cook the mushrooms & aubergines
- 200 g smoked halloumi sliced into 8 slices
- 4 whole grain sourdough rolls, sliced in half
- 150 g Greek yoghurt
- 1 chipotle en adobo chopped fine
- few leaves of lettuce
- some sliced spring onions
- a couple of avocados if you've got them!
Preheat the oven to 200c. Slice the aubergine into 8 slices, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes. Mix all the marinade ingredients (except the vegetables) and set aside. Line a baking tray with tinfoil, lightly spray the mushrooms with oil, place gill-side down on the tray and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn over and drizzle half of the marinade over the gills of the mushrooms. Return the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Remove the aubergines from the colander and dry on paper towels. Press very firmly with the towels as you dry, to collapse the cell walls of the aubergine - this will help it soak up more marinade. Add a film of oil to the hot pan and add the aubergine slices. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook slowly until softened and well browned. Flip the slices and brown on the other side. When they are cooked, spread half of the remaining marinade on a plate and lay the aubergine slices in a single layer on the plate. Spoon over the rest of the marinade. Keep the frying pan hot.
Mix the chipotle with the Greek yoghurt. Start toasting the buns. Add the halloumi slices to the frying pan and lightly brown on each side. When the bread is toasted, spread a tablespoon or two of the chilli yoghurt on each bun, stick on a leaf or two of crunchy lettuce, then add one mushroom and two slices each of aubergine and halloumi. Top with the other half of the bun and serve immediately, with any leftover chilli yoghurt on the side.
The vegetables can be prepared ahead and reheated in a medium oven when you are ready to serve.