August > Healthy Recipes of the Month

Healthy Recipe of the Month

Healthy Grilled Burgers

Better, Lighter Burgers. The great American burger has been gaining weight like a cartoon sumo wrestler lately. In fast-food joints and fancy restaurants alike, it's all about superdupersizing.

It's time to reclaim America's national food for folks who want to grill a juicy, delicious, and satisfying burger that is plenty big enough but fits into a healthy diet, too.

The secrets to healthy burgers are now revealed. Less fat in the patty requires a few tricks in the kitchen to keep things juicy; those tricks are here. If you like it simple, try the brisket cheese-burger. If you like spice, the poblano burger is very nice. If you want fish, the salmon burger is the alpha and the omega 3 of fishburgers. There are flavors for every palate. So fire up the grill this weekend and get your better, lighter burger summer going.

Simple, Perfect Fresh-Ground Brisket Burgers

This is the purist's burger, and the best argument of all for using fresh-ground meat. Preground supermarket beef is often made from trim and scraps. The result can be inconsistent flavor. Not only that, but preground meat compresses the longer it sits in tight packaging, which affects texture. So it's much better to start with whole cuts of beef and grind them yourself, or get the butcher to do it at the shop or supermarket.

Grinding also lets you control fat. We use lean brisket, lower in saturated fat, and then add olive oil, which ensures juiciness and a rich, meaty flavor. View Recipe: Simple, Perfect Fresh-Ground Brisket Burgers

Lamb Burgers with Indian Spices and Yogurt-Mint Sauce

This burger is kept lean by using lamb shoulder, which has about two-thirds less fat than pre-ground lamb from the supermarket. For a lighter texture, grind it yourself (using a grinder attachment for your stand mixer or an old-fashioned hand grinder), or ask a butcher to do it.

Vadouvan, an Indian spice mix, flavors the meat. The patties get tantalizingly aromatic when charred on a hot grill.

Mint and yogurt provide the perfect counterpoint to the spice mix. Finally, sweet roasted red peppers and bitter radicchio round out a delicously tasty burger. View Recipe: Turkey Burgers with Cranberry-Peach Chutney

Greek-Style Burgers with Feta Aïoli

This burger—stuffed with roasted bell peppers and spinach—carries Greek flavors in every bite. Greek cuisine highlights healthy ingredients such as vegetables and olive oil, so these burgers are a filling, lighter alternative to traditional hamburgers. View Recipe: Greek-Style Burgers with Feta Aioli

Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant

How do you get a burger made from mild, low-fat turkey to have some of the meaty richness of beef? Add some rich, meaty flavors! Here's the kitchen science: Beef and other red meats contain compounds called glutamates. So do soy sauce and Marmite, which is a powerfully strong yeast extract found in a lot of supermarkets (the Aussies love a version called Vegemite). We add a bit of both to our turkey mixture, lending this burger the umami flavors of real red meat.

As for juiciness, another challenge with turkey, that comes from the addition of mildly flavored eggplant. We simply roast the eggplant with olive oil, then puree it, then blend it with the ground meat. View Recipe: Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant

Salmon Burgers

This light, tasty burger proves that salmon can be every bit as satisfying as beef. The trick is to get the texture right. Ground beef will stick together firmly to form a patty, but ground salmon alone can be soft and difficult to work with, and a binder like breadcrumbs or eggs can blur the salmon flavor. Solution: For perfect texture, we puree one quarter of the salmon into a fine paste and use it to bind the rest of the roughly chopped salmon.

The burgers are then flavored with classic fish condiments. Adding shallots offers a great oniony kick. Lemon zest and tarragon add complexity. The whole beautiful thing is finished with a deliciously tangy honey-mustard glaze. View Recipe: Salmon Burgers

Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream

The secret to this burger, which is made of lean, preground supermarket sirloin, is the addition of a mixture called a panade, a mash of milk and bread used to keep meatballs tender and moist. Also in the mix are warm spices often found in Mexican chorizo sausage—such as coriander, paprika, and cumin. There's a creamy, smoky poblano sauce, and the burger is finished with a quick red onion pickle that lends a wonderful tang. (The pickled onion recipe yields more than you'll need for a single batch of burgers, but it keeps for several weeks in the fridge. Use on sandwiches or salads—or the next batch of these poblano burgers.). View Recipe: Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream

Source: Cooking Light, 2011

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