Memorial Day and burgers on the grill go hand in hand, but burgers can often be grease-laden calorie bombs—not so appealing for those of us who want to get the summer off to a healthy start. So here at EatingWell we’ve come up with a suite of Healthy Burger Recipes that are sure to please the palate without plumping your waistline. The key is to think outside the box and experiment with your ingredients. That way you can enjoy a juicy burger on Memorial Day, and many days ahead.
Here are a few of my favorite healthy burger recipes:
Inside-Out Cheeseburgers: Why put the cheese on top of the burger when half of it just melts off? Instead, form the burger around the cheese so you can char the meat and safeguard the more delicate flavors. Use any mixture of hard or semihard cheeses—Emmentaler and Gouda or Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano also pair well.
Spanish Pork Burgers: This Spanish-themed burger is boldly flavored with sautéed onions (which keep it moist), paprika, garlic and green olives. The creamy mayonnaise spread is tangy with lemon and a hint of earthy saffron.
Smoky Buffalo Burger: Here we flavor sweet, beefy buffalo (bison) with smoked cheese and smoky barbecue sauce. Instead of melted on top, cheese is used here to season the meat—adding moisture and smoky flavor inside the burger. Wild rice bulks up the serving size (and adds vitamins and minerals), while keeping it lean. Plus the flavor and chewy texture are a wonderful complement to the meat. If you can’t find buffalo in your store, substitute 90%-lean ground beef.
Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce: Rather than a heavy, fried falafel, here's an updated version of this pocket sandwich: a light chickpea patty served in a whole-wheat pita with a flavorful but light tahini sauce.
"Fajita" Burgers: This spicy burger is served on an oblong roll, slathered with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise and topped with roasted Anaheim peppers and a delicious slaw.