Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Burger Blast

Most of the time grilling involves copious amounts of meat, which makes vegetarians feel left out at a barbecue. Even if you are not a vegetarian, but want to cut down on your meat intake, this meal is a no sacrifice winner. It has all the great grilled taste, but is much lower in fat. The meal is made up of three major items; fresh grilled corn on the cob, grilled cabbage salad, and eggplant-portabello cheeseburgers. The only real fat is the cheese on the burger and the olive oil that is used to marinate the vegetables.

The corn on the cob is a traditional favorite, but gets a delicious smoky flavor with this technique. It can be made juicy or crispy based on your taste.

The grilled cabbage salad is a real treat that incorporates the grilled taste with a vinegary flavor. It is very easy to make and can be served warm, cold, or chilled.

The burgers are the center piece of the meal and really satisfy. When you combine eggplants and portabellos you get a full flavored meat replacement. The cheese and tomato make the flavor complete.

I cooked this meal in the Stone Pony, my outdoor stone oven, but you can use a charcoal or gas grill to make it as well.

  • 4 ears of fresh corn (or one per person)
  • 4 large portabello mushrooms (or one per person)
  • 1 medium size eggplant
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, or 1 oz per sandwich (substitute your favorite cheese)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing
  • 1/4 head white cabbage
  • 1/4 head red cabbage


Corn on the Cob
    1. Trim the ends of the corn and soak in cold water while you prep the rest of the ingredients
    2. Once the grill is ready, drain the corn and place on the low heat rack or off to the side.
    3. Corn is best cooked slowly, so keep it on the grill on low heat while you cook the rest of the meal. The husk will keep it from drying out, but make sure the husk does not catch fire. The corn should be put on the grill 20 minutes before the rest of the food to give it a head start.
    4. Some people, like River, like it toasty. To make it toasty peel the husk and grill for an additional 5 minutes on each side.

Grilled Cabbage Salad
  1. Chop the cabbage
  2. mix with a table spoon of the olive oil and lightly salt.
  3. Pre-heat a perforated grill pan. Note that the corn is still cooking at this point.
  4. Add the cabbage to the pan, grill for 5 minutes on high heat.
  5. Stir the cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Add the salad dressing to the bottom of a bowl
  7. Toss the sizzling cabbage into the dressing. Stir thoroughly.
  8. Let stand covered while you complete cooking the meal.

Eggplant Bella Burgers
  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, rub with garlic, paprika, and olive oil
  2. Slice the eggplant 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick, rub with garlic, paprika, and olive oil
  3. Slice the tomato, 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Thin slice the cheese. Hint: I use a vegetable peeler to slice cheese very thin, that way a little cheese goes a long way.
  5. Place the eggplants on the grill first, cook for 5 minutes before adding the mushrooms.
  6. Place the mushrooms on the grill, fin side down first. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Flip mushrooms and eggplants and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Layer some cheese over the eggplant.
  9. Place the tomatoes over the cheese.
  10. Layer more cheese over the tomatoes.
  11. Place the mushrooms on top.
  12. Layer more cheese over the mushrooms.
  13. Serve on a fresh French bread or sourdough roll.

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