Making healthy choices can be hard sometimes. You just want to eat a burger and forget about consequences. But after you finish your meal, here comes the guilt. To prevent it, here are a few tips & tricks to make guilt-free healthy burgers!
I like eating burgers, that’s a fact. But anytime I finish that big burger full of meat, cheese, and sauces, plus a massive serving of potato wedges, I’m feeling so full that I can hardly move. Most of the time, this happens in the evening so guess what: everything I eat becomes fat on my hips. And then I feel guilty, and I swear I won’t have a burger in the evening never ever again! But I’m lying to myself because soon enough I start the same cycle all over again.
So, the question I ask myself quite a lot is how can I avoid all those fat sauces, patties, wedges, and magnificent burger buns? Because the reality is that I don't want to cut out burgers for good from the menu! And then I find out that healthy burgers not only exist, but they can be also delicious!
You can make healthy burgers by choosing low-fat meat and cutting down the bun. Don’t worry! Everyone on the dinner table will love them! Just go easy on the cheese, bread, and potatoes. What are we left with, then? Let’s see!
How to make healthy burgers
1. The meat
Usually, burger patties are made with beef. The tastier patties are made with ground beef with high-fat content. So, if you want to make a healthier version it's not enough to swap beef for turkey but use fat-free ground turkey (or chicken). Either you buy it, or you ground the turkey or chicken breast yourself. I usually go for turkey.
Just mix the mince in a bowl with some diced onion, garlic, and eggs, get your hands in there and work the ingredients together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. You can also add oregano, paprika, or other spices. Shape the mixture into patties about 1.2-inch/3 cm thick. There you go! You have some great patties for your healthy burgers!
What’s next? Cook them! At this point, your best option is the oven. Lay a parchment paper on a baking tray, then place your patties on it, and bake until they're cooked through.
If you like fish you easily use it to make some fish patties for your healthy burgers. Process boneless white fish fillets with garlic, chili, fish sauce, coriander and coconut until almost smooth, but don’t wait for the mixture to become a paste (2 to 3 minutes of mixing is enough). Season with salt and pepper, shape the meat into patties, then cook it in the oven.
If you want to go further with healthy cooking, you try a vegan burger. You might be surprised how tasty a quinoa burger can be. There are lots of recipes on the Internet, but the fact on which everybody agrees is simmering quinoa until it is cooked through. Then you let it cool completely and combine it with oats, parmesan, chives, and egg. The secret also lies in seasoning it well. Of course you have to cook the patties in the oven.
2. The bread
Sometimes I wonder what I like most about a burger. The patty or the bun? But when you consider some healthy burgers in your diet, you should reconsider your preferences a bit. And be open-minded of course. I’ve seen people who replace the bread or flatbread in a sandwich with a lettuce leaf and they say that’s a sandwich or a wrap. I really don’t agree. So, can I really replace a burger bun with anything else? The answer is yes and seems the sky is the limit!
Imagine you’re on an isolated island and you don’t have any bread or other grains. I know this is a tough one, but just play this game and you’ll see you still have some options for your bun. For instance, you can use sweet potatoes.
Actually, I have three suggestions: sweet potato, eggplant, and mushrooms. Slice one large sweet potato into 0.25-inch/6 mm slices, then bake on both sides on high temperature. Your fake bread will hold its shape well; it’ll be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
If you’re not that much into sweet things, choose eggplant. The texture and flavor of this purple veggie make it a surprisingly good substitute for bread. Just lightly grill or roast the eggplant slices before assembling your healthy burgers.
From afar, Portobello mushrooms even look like burger buns, they’re sturdy and hold their shapes no matter how many toppings you add. You can remove the gills before brushing the mushrooms with olive oil and salt and roasting them in the oven (8-10 minutes). Should I even mention that you’ll amplify the nutritional value of your meal?
3. The sauces
If you want to make some healthy burgers, mayonnaise is your worst enemy. Thank God you have other alternatives! Greek yogurt or mashed avocado blended with fresh herbs will healthily boost your burger's flavor.
You can also use low-calorie mustard or homemade tomato sauce. Forget about the ketchup, because almost any store-bought variety is packed with sugar. Peel some tomatoes, remove their seeds and the excess of juice, and blend them with vinegar and spices. You can have it as is or a bit simmered.
There are many healthy sauce combos: yogurt with herbs and Dijon mustard, yogurt with cucumbers and olive oil, and so on. Just be adventurous! Being creative in the kitchen means truly enjoying your cooking experiences!