Burgers with Caramelized Onions

July/August 1993, EatingWell Serves Two

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Ah, the magic of seared beef! Sauteing the onions with sugar turns them into a meltingly sweet topping to dress up these hearty beef-and-bulgur patties.

Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Makes: 2 servings

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  • 3 tablespoons bulgur
  • 1/4 cup boiling water, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 8 ounces 92%-lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, (see Tips for Two)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • Lettuce, for garnish


  1. Combine bulgur and 1/4 cup boiling water in a small bowl; let stand until most of the water is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons water, vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Keep warm over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Preheat the grill or broiler to high. Combine the bulgur, beef, tomato paste, parsley, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl; knead thoroughly to combine. Shape into two 3/4-inch-thick patties. Grill or broil on a lightly oiled rack until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Place the patties on buns, top with the caramelized onions and garnish with lettuce.

Tips & Notes

  • Tips for Two: Transfer leftover tomato paste to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Add to soups, chilis and sauces; stir into rice with oregano and cilantro to serve alongside Mexican dishes.


Per serving: 403 calories; 15 g fat (5 g sat, 8 g mono); 72 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 30 g protein; 7 g fiber; 644 mg sodium; 714 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (47% daily value), Iron (25% dv), Magnesium (23% dv), Potassium (20% dv), Vitamin A & Vitamin C (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

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Cooking for 2
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less
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