Eggplant-french lentil burgers and rosemary buttermilk buns

Eggplant-french lentil burger

I’ve been so distracted lately! I just can’t sit still! I just can’t focus. I’m an important person, dammit, I’ve got a busy schedule, I’ve got important things to attend to! There’s work to be done. Important work. And only I can do it! And it’s not getting done. Today I’ll gladly blame the boys, because they’re home from school. But yesterday…there’s really no excuse! I literally sat and read in Malcolm’s science almanac about endangered animals. For quite some time. Did you know that when sailors found dodos, they ate the birds, cut down their habitat, and released cats and other animals that destroyed their nests? What is wrong with people? I looked at pictures of baby okapi and baby tapirs. I looked at pictures of puppies (on rescue sites) that I can’t afford at the moment. Sigh. Today, though, after a staggeringly unproductive morning and cranky boys and lots of messes and more crankiness and unproductivity, we went to the Princeton art museum, which is one of our favorite places to go. There’s something heartening about all of the animal-figure art, from all over the world and all through the ages. Dogs, deer, opossums, pigs, cows, lizards, frogs. They all show up somewhere. When we go to an art museum, each person in the family picks an animal before we enter, and then we count how many we see. It really makes you look at all the little corners of the paintings, and at each little sculpture!

Buttermilk rosemary rolls

Of course I don’t really have any important work to do, I was just kidding. But I have made a lot of food lately I’d like to tell you about. Let’s start with these eggplant-french lentil burgers and buttermilk rosemary buns. We’ve gotten a lot of eggplant from the farm, and I’m trying not to bread and roast all of it. So I roasted a whole eggplant, pureed the flesh, mixed it with toasted ground oats and walnuts and some yummy french lentils, and made big juicy burgers. While I was making them, David tried to decide if he should use the crusts of bread for his sandwich, or save them for burger buns. I said, “Don’t be silly, I’m making burger buns. Who do you think I am?” And he said, “A crazy person!” And, of course, he’s right. But these buns were very tasty. They’re yeasted, but they have buttermilk in them. Very tender and delicious.

Here’s Jungle Brothers with Sounds of the Safari. It has lots of animal sounds. I don’t think tapirs or okapi make much noise, though.


1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
2 t rosemary
1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine the yeast, sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Leave for about 1/2 hour to get frothy. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the buttermilk. Mix well with a spoon, and then pull into a ball. Add more flour or buttermilk (or water) as necessary to make a kneadable dough. Knead for about 5 – 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Set in a lightly oiled bowl in a warm place to rise about 2 hours till doubled in bulk. Leave for another hour to rise again. Form into 4 large rolls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet to set while you preheat the oven to 450. Brush the top of each with a bit of beaten egg, if you’d like them to get more golden. Bake until they’re golden brown and firm, and they sound hollow when tapped. About 30 minutes.


1 medium-sized eggplant – roasted (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic – roasted
1 1/2 cups french lentils – made with sage, rosemary, shallots, tamari, and marmite
1 cup oats – toasted
1 cup walnuts – toasted
1 piece whole wheat sandwich bread – made into fine crumbs
1 egg – beaten

Preheat the oven to 425. Prick the eggplant in a few places, and then place on a small baking sheet with two cloves of garlic. Roast for 45 – 60 minutes until it’s soft and collapsed. Remove the garlic cloves when they’re soft and golden. Set aside till it’s cool enough to handle. Scrape the flesh from the skin and process till smooth.

Make the French lentils like this. Be sure to add a minced shallot, 1/4 t marmite, 1 t tamari, 1 t sage, 1 t rosemary and 1 t thyme.

Toast the oats and walnuts for five to ten minutes, till they smell nice and toasty and are starting to turn brown. Let cool for a moment, and then process till they’re just crumbly.

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant puree, the lentils, the oats, walnuts, bread crumbs and egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to sit for about 15 minutes. Form into patties and fry on the stove in olive oil. Add a slice of cheddar if you like. Serve with tomato and lettuce, if you like.


6 thoughts on “Eggplant-french lentil burgers and rosemary buttermilk buns

  1. I didn’t know what an okapi looked like before I clicked the link. So cute!
    Thank you for these recipes. I always seem to have a half used carton of buttermilk left over from some previous recipe and I never know what to do with it….now I know to make buttermilk rosemary rolls. The burgers look really, really good too. By the way, your recipe for grillable beet burgers (posted ages ago) is wondrous! I’ve made it a million times over the summer and my girls also like it when I form the mix into small balls – like falafel – as they’re perfect for lunch boxes.

  2. I love your recipes! I recently made your Lentil, Mushroom, Walnut tart. Beautiful! I didn’t have a proper rectangular pan and put it in a pie pan. I was so good! The crust…hmm yum. I re-heated a piece for lunch several times and it was good to the very last piece. I don’t know how you find the time to figure the recipes out and then make them, but I’ very glad you do!
    Thanks for the inspirations!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad the lentil tart turned out well. Honestly, I only got a round tart pan this year, and the rectangular one was a birthday extravagance. I’ve used pie plates and cake pans, and they work fine, too!

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