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3 Alternatives to Beef Burgers
for the Summer Grill

by Dawn Boulay

Looking for a healthier, non-beef alternative to the burger? Try these and experiment with your own additions. These are lower in fat than beef burgers and high in protein and fiber. For a fast and easy method, pulse all the ingredients except for the meat in the food processor, remove the ingredients, then grind the meat.

Buying boneless chicken on sale and grinding it yourself saves money and gives you more control over the texture.

All of these burgers can also make a nice meal all year round, with or without the bun or with a side of brown basmati rice and a salad. To reduce carbs, use half a bun or serve on a portabella.


BLACK BEAN BURGERS

1 16 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed & mashed
1/ 2 red onion, finely diced
½ red pepper, finely diced
½ cup corn, fresh or frozen
2 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1-2 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (can substitute 1 TB chili powder and hot sauce to taste)
1 TB cumin
½ cup Monterey jack cheese, grated (OPTIONAL)
½ cup+ bread crumbs or oatmeal, pulsed in processor until bread crumb consistency
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except oatmeal until well mixed. Add enough bread crumbs to bind, and form into patties.

Place patties on a tin foil lightly sprayed with oil, and bake or grill 8 to 10 minutes on each side.

Serve on a whole grain tortilla or bun, topped with salsa.

FOR SALSA: Combine finely chopped tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice and chili pepper or hot sauce, drain and top the burger.


CHICKEN BURGER--ITALIAN STYLE

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, ground in food processor
3 cloves garlic
1-2 onions, minced
3+ TB fresh basil chopped
2-3 TB sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 egg
½ cup+ bread crumbs or ground oatmeal
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, using as many bread crumbs as needed to bind, and form into patties. Cook on a hot grill, broiler, or frying pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes each side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.

FOR CARMELIZED ONION TOPPING: Slice 2-3 onions and add to a little olive oil in hot pan. Cook over low to medium heat for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. OPTIONAL: Add the onions to a few tablespoons of nonfat/lowfat sour cream, and put a spoonful on your burger.


ASIAN STYLE BURGER

1 lb ground chicken or turkey
3 TB or to taste ginger, freshly grated
1 onion, finely minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2+ TB soy sauce, to taste
2 scallions, finely minced
1 TB Thai siracha hot sauce
½ cup+ Panko crumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and form 4 patties. Cook on a hot grill, pan or broiler for 5 or so minutes on each side, till juices run clear or internal temperature of 165F is reached on an instant read thermometer.

FOR MANGO TOPPING: Mix together: fresh/frozen mango, red onion, scallion, cilantro, lime zest & juice, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

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