Sink your teeth into four healthy summer burgers

Photo credit: SimplyRecipes.com

Photo credit: SimplyRecipes.com

‘Tis the season for a backyard BBQ, but letting loose on weekends doesn’t have to totally derail healthy eating habits.

And as much as I love the traditional all-beef patty (I am from the Midwest, after all), it’s nice to switch things up every now and then.

Start by pumping up your typical burger with nutrient-rich ingredients such as bean sprouts, shredded zucchini, beans, wheat germ and whole grains for added flavor, fiber and moisture.

Then when you’re ready to take the plunge, tickle your taste buds with these four alternative burger recipes that will satisfy the heartiest of appetites (and still be easy on the waistline).

Plus they’re so flippin’ delicious, you may just forget they’re good for you!

Cherry Bison Burger

Even though it has yet to compete in popularity, buffalo meat is lower in cholesterol and calories yet higher in iron and protein than beef. The rich flavor pairs well with cherries, which not only add a dose of antioxidants, but also a sweet zing to these burgers.

  • 1 pound ground buffalo (American Bison)
  • 3 ounces dried cherries, chopped
  • 3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients until well-blended, form into patties, then grill and serve with lettuce on toasted whole wheat buns.

Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Burger

There’s nothing tastier than that day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, piled high with all the trimmings. This burger is a throwback to that memorable meal, with all the same indulgent flavors, just less fat and fewer calories.

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • ¼ cup seasoned stuffing mix
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients until well-blended, then form into patties and grill, serving with cranberry relish and light mayonnaise on toasted wheat bread.

Chicken Satay Burger

Whether eaten on a stick or in a bun, this is one of my favorite dishes and easily transforms chicken into a simple-yet-exotic weeknight meal. Play with the spicy peanut sauce to get your desired consistency – thicker can be spread directly on the burger, while a thinner sauce would be great for dipping.

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients above until well-blended, and form into patties. While patties are on the grill, mix the following ingredients for spicy peanut sauce: ½ cup peanut butter with 2 tablespoons coconut milk, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns.

Glazed Ginger Soy Salmon Burgers

Sweet and tangy, this sea-based burger is easier to make than you’d think – plus it gives you a hearty helping of omega-3’s, vitamin D and selenium, each of which have their own powerful health benefits.

  • 1 pound canned or finely diced fresh salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 scallions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients until well-blended, form into patties and pan-fry using olive oil spray to prevent sticking. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns with ginger-lime aioli, which can be made with ½ cup light mayonnaise, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoons minced ginger and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

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