Grilling season is here and if you are looking for a tasty option besides fatty beef burgers there are plenty of choices not involving cardboard-like vegetarian burgers. Make your own burgers out of everything besides beef for a creative take on grilling.
Best Burger Making Tips
1. Use Fresh Ingredients: People think because a burger patty is a combination of a lot of ingredients, they don’t have to be good ingredients. Not true. Use the best and freshest ingredients you can find.
2. Keep it Moist: Nothing is worse than a dry burger so keep the “meat” moist by adding a little bit of liquid to the raw in ingredients. For example, soy sauce works great as does ketchup, egg, or vinegar. Onions, tomatoes, and canned beans also will help keep your burger tender and juicy.
3. Don’t Overcook: If you are using meat like chicken or pork in your burger you should cook it to at least medium to medium-well in order to make sure the meat is cooked through. But there is no need to cook your burger well-done or burnt, which only dries it out and reduces flavor. If you are using only vegetables, then just make sure the veggies are cooked through and fairly tender. You don’t want to bite into partially cooked, crunchy vegetables in a burger.
4. Add Herbs and Spice: To get even more flavor out of your burger add fresh or dried herbs and spices. Rosemary, basil, or cayenne pepper among other herbs and spices make excellent additions to any burger. The flavor of the meat or vegetables will really be enhanced with just a pinch of flavor and creativity.
5. Get Creative with the Garnishes: Instead of the same old ketchup and mustard for burger toppings, try something different by creating distinct sauces for each burger. For example a black bean burger will taste great with a spicy avocado mayo or a chicken burger will taste great with a rosemary aioli.
Mushroom & Black Bean Burger with Corn Salsa
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 green onions, diced
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup diced fresh mushrooms
1, 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 teaspoon cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and quickly sauté white onions and garlic until translucent; add green onions and sauté until tender. Mix in cardamom and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender.
2. Meanwhile, mash the black beans with a fork until mashed well. Mix in the mushroom mixture and cilantro and combine well, trying not to mash up the mushrooms; season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into patties and place on a preheated grill. Shut lid and let cook 8 to 10 minutes per side. Flip patties very carefully so they do not break.
3. While burgers are cooking, combine corn, peppers, parsley, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When burgers are finished cooking, place each on a bun and top with corn salsa.
1 white onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cherry peppers, chopped
1 cup sliced radish
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 pounds ground chicken
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is translucent. Add the peppers, radish, tomatoes, and carrots and saute until tender.
2. Meanwhile, preheat grill until hot.
3. Next, mix ground chicken with cooked vegetables, egg, breadcrumbs, and Italian seasoning; mix until well combined and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Form the chicken mixture into patties and place on grill. Cook patties 7 to 8 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through, flipping gently to patties don’t break. Remove patties from grill and place on rolls.
Salmon Burger with Avocado Mayo
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 small shallots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons dill
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 avocados, pitted and quartered
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Hot pepper sauce to taste
1. Chop up salmon in a blender or food processor with Dijon mustard and soy sauce until just combined, the salmon pieces should still be in fairly large chunks. Add the shallots and dill and pulse until blended.
2. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and mix in breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Mixture should be fairly wet and moldable. Shape mixture into patties and place on a preheated grill.
3. Cook patties 5 to 6 minutes per side, flipping carefully so they don’t break.
4. Meanwhile, mash up avocadoes and mix in mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a few drops of hot sauce. Serve patties on buns topped with avocado mayo.