AJC Grill Week: Recipes for healthier burgers

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By Nicole McDermott

Summer time means grilling time, and we all know what that means: burger season. No matter your taste preference, we’ve rounded up 56 healthy recipes from around the web to fulfill all your burgery needs.

Before you get cookin’, we’ve highlighted some go-to tips for the healthiest burger ever.

This burger is just as much veggie as it is bean. Peppers, onion, and carrot join chickpeas and herbs for a nutritionally dense patty. Ground flaxseed — known for its high fiber and omega-3s — stands in for an egg to hold the ingredients together. Don’t forget to check out the recipe for healthier baked fries, included in the link above!

Though it may sound sinful to separate a burger from its bun (the shame!), this chicken version gets sandwiched between two slices of char-grilled zucchini. Not a bad way to up the day’s veggie servings!

In Vietnamese, banh mi stands for a single serving baguette, but the sandwich itself generally includes a meat of some sort as well as cilantro, chili peppers, and pickled carrots. Lean ground chicken, tons of veggies, and an egg makes this burger (which loosely mimics a banh mi) a healthy, well-balanced meal. Plus, the yolk makes for a hassle-free condiment.

This burger is easy-peasy to make (just be sure to remove the red chili pepper seeds or your tongue may lose all feeling for the remainder of the meal). If this is your first introduction to fish sauce, you can find the savory liquid (made from salted, fermented fish) in the Asian section of the grocery store, near the soy sauce. Or make this vegan version instead.

A Portobello mushroom cap stands in as the burger patty, as well as a driver for the topping mixture made of peaches, maple syrup, nutrient-rich chia seeds, tomatoes, and thyme. Since peaches are on this year’s dirty dozen list, it’s a good idea to splurge on organic!

These burgers are all about umami — the savory, meaty taste found in foods like mushrooms and soy. Instead of meat or beans, the burger draws on superfoodsquinoa (which packs a protein punch) and oats for its base. It gets its umami flavor from a hefty dose of white mushrooms.

Shredded beets, know for the rare antioxidant betalains, add a touch of sweetness to these patties. Even cooler: the beets turn the burgers bright red! One of these guys is a nutrition powerhouse, combining lentils, quinoa, rice, andoats.

The light yogurt sauce used for this burger — which uses nonfat plain Greek yogurt, cucumbers, superfood garlic, and lemon juice — lends flavor without adding a boatload of extra fat like regular mayo would. This burger is also chock full of vegetables (roasted red peppers, romaine, cucumber, and red onion). Choose a whole-wheat bun for an even healthier option.

This recipe calls for grass-fed beef, which tends to be slightly lower in overall fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids (compared to conventional meats). Turn topineapple and chipotle chili powder-infused avocado cream sauce (say that ten times fast) for both spicy and sweet flavors.

This guy is super simple. All it takes is venison, held together with egg and breadcrumbs, then sage, red pepper, and mushrooms for a little crunch and flavor. If you’re looking to ditch the mayo, check out our list of healthier condiments (we particularly recommend the yogurt herb Dijon spread or avocado spread).

This burger draws from traditional Asian flavors with ingredients like ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sauce. Find hoisin, a Chinese dipping sauce made from toasted mashed soybeans, in the Asian section of the supermarket. Try plain yogurt instead of mayo for a lower calorie swap.

Eating one of these burgers twice a week (or just eating salmon in general) can increase levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). Cilantro and lime create a light dressing, and sliced avocado adds some guilt-free, heart-healthy creaminess.

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