A couple of weekends ago, we realised that we had been eating out a lot. One of The Lovely Wife's relatives had come to visit and it's always fun to take people out for food in Malaysia since we live in a veritable food haven. Trouble with eating out though is that most times, the food is full of oils, fats and it also contains a lot of MSG (mono sodium glutamate). Tasty yes, but not good for the system. Since we never use additives at home, we immediately feel the effects of MSG. For me, my sinus tends to act up and with the kids, they start coughing at night. You also feel sluggish the next morning. Maybe its all in the mind, but we really think that one of the causes is MSG.
Anyway, come Saturday, we were tossing up what to do for lunch. Since Saturday is usually cleaning day at home, we tossed up getting some take out (Again!) but The Lovely Wife and I decided that enough was enough. I hadn't made anything different for a while so I thought that I would try something that we had seen on TV. The Food Channel has these short simple recipes that they show as 5 minute fillers between shows and on one of them, they featured a mushroom burger with garlic mayonnaise, pesto and a whole heap of other sauces. They used Portobello mushrooms as a replacement for the hamburger. We all know how Portobello's have that 'meaty' texture.
I decided to keep it simple and just use Pesto. Home made Pesto of course! Instead of the usual Cashew nuts for the pesto, I used Almonds. To make the burger more interesting, I jazzed it up a little by adding some grilled eggplant slices as well. I also used Lollo Rosso lettuce for a slightly different texture and taste. Nice thick tomato slices finished it off. e
4 Portobello Mushrooms
2 large ripe Tomatoes -sliced thickly
Lollo Rosso Lettuce
4 wholemeal buns
2 baby Eggplant - sliced thinly
For the Pesto
2 cloves garlic
50gm Basil Leaves
Large Handful of almonds
20gm cheddar (or more to your taste)
1/8 cup Olive Oil
Make the pesto by processing the garlic, then the basil, almonds, cheese and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Step by step instructions here
Heat a little oil in a skillet and then cook the eggplant till tender - about 5 minutes or so. Lightly season with salt. Remove and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and set aside for later. In the same pan, cook the mushrooms on both sides till tender. Remove and set aside. Chop the stems from the mushrooms and cook till tender - so as not to waste!
Toast the buns in the oven till lightly toasted. Assemble the burger by spreading a generous amount of pesto on one half of the bun. Cover with eggplant, mushroom, lettuce and tomato and finally, sprinkle the chopped mushroom stem over the top before covering with the other half of the bun. You can add some tomato sauce too if you like.
The results were fantastic! The pesto gave a nice taste to the burger and you could have eaten it just as a spread as well. The grilled eggplant complemented the mushrooms really well and the mushroom was really juicy. The burger was very filling too and the best part about it was that it was all healthy!
The kids loved it and didn't mind at all that there was no meat in it. My little princess was rather excited about the burgers and she went to get some flag toothpicks that we had previously bought for one of their birthday parties. She stuck the toothpicks into the burgers - "just like they do in the restaurants!"
This is definitely something that we will make again and its so easy and tasty that you could even serve it to guests!