Miso-basted aubergine burgers (with quick pickled cucumber and turmeric dill mayo)

These are honestly the tastiest vegetarian burgers I’ve ever made! The miso-basted grilled aubergine can be made ahead and reheated just before assembling the burgers. The lightly curried turmeric mayo is an absolute must and can also be made ahead. Make the pickles a few hours before your braai, or even a few days ahead – they’ll last for up to 4 weeks in the fridge. The whole coriander and mustard seeds in the pickles add a lot to the flavour experience of this burger. Use regular red tomatoes if you cannot find green or yellow. Serve with a glass of Leopards Leap Merlot – a medium bodied, New World style red that pairs beautifully with the umami flavours of the burger.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the quick pickled cucumbers:

3 small mediterranean cucumbers (or 1 large English cucumber)
1,5 cups white wine vinegar (or white grape vinegar)
1,5 cups water
½ cup sugar
30 ml (2 tablespoons) yellow mustard seeds
15 ml (1 tablespoon) whole coriander seeds
10 ml (2 teaspoons) whole black peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves

For the turmeric mayo:

1 cup thick mayonnaise
5 ml (1 teaspoons) ground turmeric
10 ml (2 teaspoons) yellow Thai curry paste (optional)
2-3 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped

For the miso-basted aubergines:

30 ml miso paste
60 ml soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
15 ml (1 tablespoon) honey
15 ml ( 1 tablespoon) white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 medium aubergines, sliced into 1,5cm thick rounds

For assembling the burgers:

4 large burger buns
olive oil, for drizzling (or butter, for spreading)
crunchy salad leaves
sliced tomato (red/yellow/green)


For the pickles: Find a large, 1-litre capacity glass jar with lid and clean it thoroughly. Using a mandolin cutter, finely slice the cucumber and place it in the jar. In a large jug, add the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, coriander, peppercorns and bay leaves. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the mixture into the jar with cucumber. Close the lid, turn over to mix, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least an hour, but up to a few weeks).

For the turmeric mayo: mix all the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the miso aubergine: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the miso, soy sauce, garlic, honey and vinegar. Stir with a small whisk until well mixed and warmed through, then remove from the heat (don’t let it simmer for more than a minute). Arrange the sliced aubergines on a baking tray lined with baking paper or foil, then score the upper sides of the slices lightly using a sharp small knife (the marinade will seep into the cuts). Brush generously on both sides with the miso marinade, then grill over medium-low heat until well cooked and slightly caramelised (or roast in the oven at 200 C for 20 minutes).

To assemble the burgers: slice the burger buns horizontally, then drizzle with oil (or spread with butter) and toast the cut sides until lightly golden. Top with lettuce, sliced tomato, grilled aubergine, turmeric mayo and pickles, then close the buns and serve immediately.

This recipe was created in proud collaboration with Leopards Leap Wines.

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