Cherry Burgers

March/April 2008

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In this healthy burger recipe, dried cherries are mixed into ground beef to reduce fat and increase antioxidants. Serve the burgers with your favorite garnishes. And, if you think that ketchup is made only from tomatoes, think again! Tart cherries are simmered in this delicious healthy ketchup recipe to make a fine condiment for just about any poultry or meat. Try the leftover ketchup with grilled chicken or pork, or as a dip with sweet potato fries.

"Just served for fathers day. Huge hit. Fun to make and oh so juicy and full of flavor. Used panko instead of the fresh whole wheat crumbs. because I had it. Looking forward to using the cherry ketchup on other things. "
Cherry Burgers

Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 burger, 1 Tbsp. ketchup

Active Time:

Total Time:


Cherry Ketchup

  • 1 10-ounce package (2 cups) frozen pitted cherries (not in syrup)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cherry Burgers

  • 1/2 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, cut into thin rounds
  • 12 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat English muffins, split
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 cup Cherry Ketchup


  1. To prepare the ketchup: Combine pitted cherries, dried cherries, vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel. Holding lid securely in place, blend until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Transfer the ketchup to a small bowl. (Makes 1 1/3 cups.)
  2. To prepare the burgers: Place onion in a medium bowl, cover with ice water and let soak while you prepare burgers.
  3. Preheat grill to medium (see Broiler Variation).
  4. Place beef in a large bowl and gently mix in cherries, breadcrumbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until combined. Divide into 4 equal portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Make a slight impression in the center of each. (This is so the patties cook evenly and don’t puff up.)
  5. Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the patties until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
  6. Toast English muffins. Drain the onions. Assemble the burgers on the English muffins with onion slices, lettuce and about 1 tablespoon Cherry Ketchup each. (Refrigerate leftover ketchup.)

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the ketchup (Step 1) for up to 2 weeks.
  • To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian’s brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
  • Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won’t stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
  • Broiler variation: Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Broil patties 3 to 4 inches from the heat source until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, 4 to 5 minutes per side.


Per serving: 432 calories; 10 g fat (3 g sat, 0 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrates; 6 g added sugars; 20 g total sugars; 32 g protein; 7 g fiber; 515 mg sodium; 504 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (40% daily value), Vitamin A (31% dv), Iron (27% dv), Calcium (19% dv), Magnesium (17% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3 1/2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fruit, 3 lean meat

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March/April 2008
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