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Eggplant Crunchburger [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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This burger is vegan and gluten-free and it’s the most delicious of all the burgers I’ve ever made. It’s made from eggplant. That’s right, no beans, no tofu, no TVP. The flavor of this burger is so deep and rich, it’s really amazing.

The first time I made them, I topped them with caramelized onions and a simple spread made with mayo, mustard, and vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. I served them on gluten-free English muffins.

But for this post I wanted to recreate Bobby Flay's signature burger, The Crunchburger. This is the “house” burger at Bobby’s Burger Palace. It’s a basic burger that can be garnished with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and horseradish mustard. Then comes the crunch – a big handful of potato chips. Bobby loves the combination of the juicy burger, the oozy cheese, and the salty, crispy chips all in one bite. At BBP, any burger can be “crunchified.”

So at my Burger Palace, AKA my kitchen, I challenged Bobby to a throwdown (in spirit) and “crunchified” my eggplant burger to create The Eggplant Crunchburger.

It’s big, it’s messy, it’s incredibly delicious. Honestly, I like it better with the simple toppings I originally made. I don’t like masking the rich flavor of the eggplant with mounds of toppings and potato chips but the point is I DID IT! I’m throwing down the cutting board, getting up on the countertop, and raising my arms in victory for Battle Vegan Crunchburger! Enjoy!

The Vegan Eggplant Crunchburger

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free Vegan




4 burgers


For the Horseradish Mustard Mayo

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. prepared horseradish
  • A pinch of dried tarragon
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the eggplant burgers

  • 1 large or 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 cup vegan cheese shreds, any flavor
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

For the toppings

  • 1 cup vegan cheese, either slices or shreds (as long as it melts)
  • 4 gluten-free buns
  • 4 slices beefsteak tomato
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 4 slices red onion
  • Horseradish Mustard Mayonnaise (recipe above)
  • 4 handfuls of potato chips


For the Horseradish Mustard Mayo

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and horseradish in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. The sauce can be prepared 1 day in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.

To make the Eggplant Burgers

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant cubes and sauté until they are browned and very soft, about 10-12 minutes. Make sure they are super-soft because they need to be mashed. You could also roast the eggplant to make it soft.
  2. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl. Mash the eggplant up until there are no whole pieces left. I use a potato masher to do this. Once you have a big bowl of mush, add the shallot, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix it into the eggplant. Add the bread crumbs. Don’t add them all at once; you want to feel the mix and see whether you need a whole cup. I add ½ cup of bread crumbs and mix it.
  3. The best way to mix it is wet your hands and use one hand (keep the other hand clean) to gently mix the crumbs into the eggplant. You will probably need more crumbs so add another ¼ cup and mix it again. You want the consistency to feel firm, like it will hold up as a burger. If it feels too moist, add the last ¼ cup of bread crumbs. Usually, I end up using the whole cup of crumbs.
  4. Put the eggplant mixture into the fridge for about 30 minutes. Take the bowl out of the fridge and with your hand, divide the mixture into 4 parts. To form the burgers, I use a 3 ½ inch cookie cutter. I spray it with a bit of cooking oil spray and then pack the eggplant mixture into the cookie cutter. Pat it down, let it sit for about 20 seconds and then gently lift the cookie cutter off. Let your perfect burger sit for a few minutes undisturbed while you make the other 3 burgers.
  5. In the same skillet that you sautéed the eggplant in (but cleaned), heat the other Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat and add the burgers to the pan. Let cook until slightly browned on one side and (this is very important), you can lift the burger with a spatula without breaking it. I use 2 spatulas to gently turn the burgers. Flip them and let them cook on the other side. When the 2nd side gets golden brown, flip them back over and let the first side cook until golden brown.

To make the Vegan Crunchburgers

  1. Top the burgers with either 2 slices or ¼ cup of vegan cheese. Add about a Tbs. of water to the pan and cover it. This will create steam and allow the cheese to melt and get ooey-gooey.
  2. If you want your buns toasty, put on some pants. If you want your burger buns toasty, preheat the broiler while you are cooking the burgers. Split the buns and put the halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet and cook them until they are lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds. Don’t burn them!!
  3. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and, if desired, top with tomato, lettuce, onion, and a dollop of horseradish mustard mayonnaise. Pile on the potato chips, top with the bun tops, and serve immediately. Make sure you have tons of napkins because it’s going to be messy.





When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her Bronx neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook, mostly by watching TV cooking shows, especially Christina Pirello and Rachael Ray.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word website which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Rhea has written several e-cookbooks which are available on her web site. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word to bring more compassion into the world and it is her dream to become the vegan Rachael Ray.



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61 comments on “Eggplant Crunchburger [Vegan, Gluten-Free]”

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Jay Jay
1 Years Ago

this looks extremely deliciously yummy! but I am so terrified to mess it up. one of these days though, I will get the guts to try it out.

3 Years Ago

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3 Years Ago

RIDICULOUSLY TASTY. Made this catering for non-vegans and vegans for lunch. So tasty.

3 Years Ago

i made this once per the recipe and was delicious. going to revisit it and add chopped jalapeño and garlic in olive oil, and switch out half the bread crumbs for quinoa flakes. ( added protein) thanks for this one!! cowabunga!!!

3 Years Ago

Is there something you could use in place of the vegan cheese?

John Kilby
3 Years Ago

We can\'t have eggplant anywhere near as my wife would go into respiratory shock as it is one of the deadly nightshade family. Can it be made with something else. Also Olive Oil is a dressing and should never be heated or it becomes carcinogenic.

27 Oct 2014

ugh... it makes me crazy when people comment like this. If the recipe isn\'t your thing, don\'t make it. Simple. I think the whole thing looks incredibly good and will make it this week.

12 Jan 2015

Try any squash, zucchini or even sweet potatoes. Any type of bean makes a great base for veggie burgers as well.

4 Years Ago

I cannot count how many times I have made this recipe. I have also shared it with so many people. I roast the eggplant instead of pan frying... and I use avocado instead of vegan mayo. This dish is now a house staple, and I am so grateful that I came across this post.

4 Years Ago

I made this almost exactly how you described, except I salted the eggplant while cooking it, and I sauteed the shallots and garlic, salting them too. I didn\'t use a cookie cutter either, but made thin patties. They crisped up and the fact that they were thin made it so the inside wasn\'t mushy.

They were SO good! I\'ll be making this again. Thanks for the recipe! It\'s nice to do something else with eggplant besides eggplant parmesan.

4 Years Ago

Mushy, not much flavor.

4 Years Ago

I made these burgers. It was quite a lot of work and tasted okay, but the consistency on the inside of the eggplant patty was like the contents of a worm, only hot.

27 Jun 2014

Julie did you salt the eggplant and let it weep out a lot of water? I want to try this but I sure don\'t want to eat
something like worm meat.....LOL

Yvonne Mustapha
16 Jul 2015

Aaah , never eaten a worm, but when the hedgehogs do they sound as if they crunch them

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