Growing up in an Italian New Jersey family meant eating meatball and eggplant sandwiches pretty often! This burger is a twist on those classics. It can easily be made without the eggplant if you want to simplify it.
This recipe also contains one of our Balanced Bites Spice Blends - ITALIAN Spice Blend - which you can shop here!
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 8 (1/2-inch) slices
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 3/4 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon ITALIAN Spice Blend
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- 1 large egg
- 8 Portobello “Buns” (instructions at left) or 8 large lettuce leaves for wrapping
- 8 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup pizza sauce or marinara, warmed
- 1 red onion, sliced
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes, until softened and browned with grill marks, turning as needed to prevent burning.
Prepare the portobello “buns,” if using them to serve the burgers.
Make the burgers: In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, herbs, spices, salt, almond flour, and egg; using your hands, mix everything together until well integrated. Form the meat into four 6-ounce patties, adding a thumbprint dimple in the center of each one to allow for even cooking.
Grill the burgers over medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side or until cooked to 145°F in the center.
To serve, place 2 slices of grilled eggplant in a portobello “bun” or lettuce leaf, then add a burger patty, a couple of basil leaves, 1/4 cup of the pizza sauce, and a couple of slices of onion. Top with another mushroom cap or lettuce leaf.
Omit the almond flour.
Omit the egg.
HOW TO MAKE PORTOBELLO “BUNS”:
On a grill or grill pan preheated to medium-high heat, grill 8 stemmed mushroom caps, “cup” side down, for about 10 minutes, until they begin to soften. You can also bake them on a rimmed baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.