These aren’t your Dad’s burgers

Burgers without the red meatSummer is the perfect time for grilling up delicious beef burgers, but doing so every weekend may not be the healthiest choice. Consider that a 3½ ounce patty made with 80% lean ground beef contains 271 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat  (34% of your daily limit) and 75 milligrams of cholesterol. Also be aware that most hand-formed patties tend to be more like four to six ounces, making that burger even higher in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Luckily, patties made with chicken, turkey, seafood or tofu cook up perfectly over the open flame. And summer also brings an abundance of fresh produce that can be the beginnings of some tasty burgers-with-a-twist. Just about any vegetable can be a substitute for meat or poultry in your burgers.

There are three main considerations to keep in mind when making these non-traditional patties:

  • Add enough “binding” in the form of eggs, mashed beans or even milk to help form the patty and to keep it from falling apart while cooking.
  • Non-beef burgers tend to be more delicate, so turn them carefully and consider using a well-oiled grill sheet pan to prevent anything from sticking or falling into the coals.
  • Cooking time will vary, so keep an eye out and don’t overcook them or they will be dry. Generally, veggie (and seafood) burgers need three to four minutes per side to cook.  If you are using a grill pan, flip them when they are golden brown on the bottom.

Now that you are ready to switch up your burger routine, consider some of these patty variations. You can even surprise Dad with something a bit different on the grill this weekend!

For a seafood twist, try Shrimp and Coconut Patties with an avocado mayo dipping sauce.

Your family will devour broccoli without complaint when you make Broccoli Burgers topped with homemade Parmesan Dressing.

To save time, use leftover grilled corn in these Bean Burgers with Grilled Corn.

And if you want to skip forming patties altogether, try these Portabella Mushroom Burgers for a rich-tasting veggie burger.

Most of patties in the recipes are pan-fried. Following the guidelines outlined above, you can easily grill them instead.

Still hungry for more? Get more ideas on Shaping up your slider here.


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Photo credit: Robyn Lee


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