Bun-Free Greek Burger

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Want to know the two key eating practices that I see consistently in research when it comes to what is essential to better health and disease prevention?

  1. Eat MORE plant foods (veggies, nuts, beans, fruits, etc.).

  2. Eat LESS animal protein (beef, chicken, pork, etc.).

The first I’ve fully embraced, but the second has been a struggle. I’m a meat eater who’s not too much of a tofu fan (#dietitianproblems) and just not ready to go totally meatless at half or more of my meals. But when I ran across Grilled Beef-Mushroom Burgers in the June issue of Cooking Light, I had a lightbulb moment:

Maybe my starting place should be decreasing (not eliminating) animal protein in foods we already eat and upping plant foods to compensate.

In the recipe, mushroom pulsed into fine pieces in the food processor took the place of some meat – but there was still meat. The idea was brilliant, and I was ready to try – but I was seriously nervous about how they’d go over with the rest of the house (like had the oven preheating for some emergency chicken nuggets if needed).

The results? AMAZING – as no one had a clue that mushrooms made up about 1/3 of the meat mixture. The mushroom’s umami flavor makes them blend in so they’re not noticeable in flavor OR appearance. It just tasted like a great burger!  And, an unexpected perk was how juicy the burgers ended up being. In fact, I actually prefer these mushroom burgers over regular ones.

Their original recipe was simple, but I took the liberty to simplify it even more with a store-bought Tzatziki sauce. I like to wrap my burger in a lettuce leaf – or even easier, serve it over greens – and dollop with sauce. The kids prefer there’s in a bun with ketchup.   

Want to know the best part? The kids have no idea they’re eating more veggies and they have started requesting my “new burgers” when it’s burger night!

What are your favorite types of burgers?  Let me know how you like it below or over on my social media pages : Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd / Facebook @Real Food. Real Life. - Carolyn Williams, PHD, RD. Enjoy!

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Bun-Free Greek Burgers

Umami flavor of mushrooms makes them a perfect sub for some meat. They are full of moisture, so you don’t have to worry about your burger drying out. Mix with lean ground beef, cook and top with your favorite Greek toppings to make a delicious, juicy burger perfect for weekends or busy week nights! | Makes 6-7 full-size burgers or 10-12 sliders

INGREDIENTS

  • 1¼ pounds lean ground beef (90/10)

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or whole

  • 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • TOPPINGS: Tzatziki Greek Yogurt dip (store-bought), lettuce leaves (Romaine, Butter or Iceberg), tomato slices, onion slices, Feta cheese

METHOD

  1. Place mushrooms in food processor; process until fine crumbles (a little smaller than rice grains). Place mushrooms in bowl; pick out any unprocessed stem parts. Using a paper towel, absorb as much moisture from mushrooms as possible. Repeat until moisture has been absorbed.

  2. Add hamburger meat, Greek seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper. Using hands, incorporate ingredients throughout mixture. Shape into 6 or 7 patties.

  3. Grill over medium-high heat until desired temperature is met. If you do not have time to heat up the grill, simply bake in oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. 

  4. Serve over bed of lettuce or wrap in large Romaine, Butter or Iceberg lettuce leaf. Top with tomatoes, onion, Feta cheese and tzatziki dip.


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