Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burgers

1 large eggplant*
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup cooked lentils
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (spicy or mild)
2 teaspoons potato starch, cornstarch, or arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or other sweetener)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove the top of the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Place it cut-sides down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Bake for 25 minutes or until the eggplant is completely sunken in and tender. Remove to a shallow dish and allow to cool completely. (You can do this even several days in advance and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.)

Once the eggplant is cool, discard any liquid that has accumulated and scrape the flesh from the peel. Place the pulp in a food processor and pulse a few times to make a coarse puree. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix very well and allow to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, wipe or spray it with a little pan spray or canola oil. Wet your hands and form eggplant mixture into patties about 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. (You can also form the burgers by spooning the mixture into the pan and using the back of a spoon to shape it into patties.) Cook three or four at a time until lightly browned and then carefully flip over and brown the other side. Remove with a spatula and place each burger on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until burgers are cooked through.

Serve with traditional hamburger condiments or with Spicy Onion-Pepper Relish.