Several years ago I still remember going to an In-n-Out restaurant with my aunt when she ordered her burger 'California Style'. I had never seen a hamburger wrapped in lettuce before and I thought that was such a strange idea. A hamburger without a bun? What's fun about that? Well, several years (and pounds) later, I realize the wise philosophy behind no bun. If you are like me and love homemade hamburgers, you realize with the bun, ground beef, cheese, mayonnaise, a hamburger is not necessarily a great 'health' food choice when you are trying to cut calories. I decided yesterday to come up with some simple ways I could still eat my beloved homemade hamburger but made a few tweaks to make this burger less than 1/2 the fat than a regular burger. Here are some simple tips to help you eat what you love without all the calories and fat ;) Enjoy!
*Use ground beef instead of ground beef (if you don't love ground turkey, use half turkey and half beef--no one will ever know!)
*Add A LOT of seasonings to your ground meat to give your burger a lot of flavor without adding a lot of fat. Some garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, etc. all give flavor without calories.
*Serve your burger on a bed of lettuce instead of on a bun. You can wrap the burger in lettuce or just serve the juicy burger on top.
*Instead of a fattening sauce or mayonnaise, drizzle your burger with some balsamic vinegar or a lowfat salad dressing. I love to boil down some balsamic vinegar until it's a thick sauce and drizzle that on my burger. It adds TONS of flavor and a sweet tangy flavor which is great on beef or chicken.
*Serve your burger with a hard cheese (like feta, parmesan, blue cheese, etc.) instead of a cheddar. It's fewer calories and has more flavor so you can use less and still get a burst of flavor.
*Caramelize some onions in a little olive oil to add some sweet and pungent flavor to your burger without having to add extra fat.
*Use only egg whites in your ground turkey/beef mixture to cut out a few grams of fat and calories.
Bunless Turkey Burgers with Gorgonzola and Red Onions
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey (or all ground turkey)
3 egg whites (or full eggs)
4 garlic cloves
3 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 cup bread crumbs or panko crumbs
1 large white onion, diced fine
1 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls. butter or olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (blue or feta also work)
2 tomatoes, sliced
6-8 pieces of lettuce
In a large mixing bowl, add together the ground beef and turkey and combine thoroughly together. Add the egg whites, garlic cloves, black pepper, salt, balsamic vinegar and bread crumbs. Combine. Cut the white onion into very fine pieces and add the ground meat mixture. Combine the hamburger mixture until all is incorporated and set aside.
Slice the red onion into thin strips. Heat a saute pan to medium high heat and add the butter or olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced red onions. Continue to saute on high heat for 30-60 seconds and then turn down the heat and continue to saute until the onion begins to soften. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and allow the mixture to simmer and the vinegar to start to evaporate. Once the onions are all tender and the balsamic vinegar is cooked down, set those aside.
Slice the tomatoes and lettuce pieces as desired. When ready to cook the hamburgers, patty them out into 1/4-1/2 lb. portions and place on a plate. Heat a griddle or grill to high heat. Place the burgers on the heat and cook until the bottom side is dark, golden brown. Flip the hamburgers and cook on the other side for 10-12 minutes, or until he center of the burgers are cooked through and no longer pink. When ready to serve the burgers, place the burger on a bed of lettuce or spinach. Top with the carmelized onions, tomatoes and sprinkle with some gorgonzola, feta or blue cheese (optional). Serve warm.