It’s summer time, and grills all around the world are firing up for the weekly (and for some people daily) return to how our ancestors cooked food…over an open flame. Charcoal, propane, or even wood, herds of cattle will be transformed into delicious meals for the millions. Most favored around the US is the hamburger. Alone or on a bun, with a limitless banquet of possible toppings available, many have quested and explored to create the perfect burger.
In my own search, it’s been around one word: healthy.
I love a good burger as much as the next person, but the high calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. deters me from having them frequently. Some can easily go to Mickey D’s on a daily basis, and it’s no wonder obesity is such a problem in the US. The ideal recipe hit me one day while thumbing through a copy of Men’s Health Magazine. I came across a wonderful recipe for what they call The Best Summer Burger. The recipe takes lean ground beef and mixes it with chopped onion, spinach, oats, and lean shredded cheese. The end result was four large patties out of a pound of beef, each roughly 320 calories.
Now I thought that was a decent recipe, but too restrained and bland. I would rather put cheese on top of my burger than in it, and I love to use seasonings to enhance the flavors of meat. So I changed the recipe around a bit, and the end result are six patties for a pound of beef and less calories than the Men’s Health burgers.
In this recipe, I use a seasoning blend called Adobo. Usually found in the Spanish food sections of most grocery stores, it’s a blend of garlic, salt, and other seasonings. I like to use it on burgers for the flavor it adds compared to just adding salt and garlic powder. You’ll find many Hispanics live by their Adobo, but I’ll warn you that it is high in sodium. So use it carefully.
Each of my patties is approximated at around 200 calories apiece, and they are not skimpy either. They fit perfectly on a bun as you’ll see in the image. Give them a shot and see what you think.
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1/3 cup of onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tbsp of Italian seasoning mix
- 1/2 tbsp of Adobo seasoning mix
- 1 tsp of black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Use your hands for best results.
- Divide the mixture up into six parts and form into patties.
- Cook them any way you desire.
When I prepare the spinach and onion for the mixture, I’ll puree them in a food processor. If you like things chunky, then go with a knife. I personally like destroying them simply to make them mix better with the meat and oats.
Your mixture might look a big grayish. Don’t worry, this is normal.
Variations are across the board, which is why I removed the cheese from the Men’s Health recipe. Top the burgers with any cheese and/or condiments you like, as well as cook them any way you prefer. Grill them, broil them, bake them, fry them, you get the point.
You can also forget my seasonings and try your own combinations. Just be sure to use the beef, egg, oats, spinach, and onion. One suggestion is to add some low-sodium soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and pepper for an Asian flavor. Top it even with a slice of grilled pineapple.
If you like things spicy, then try some lime juice, chili powder, Adobo, and red pepper.
A Greek-style burger would be to use 1/2 a pound of ground lamb with 1/2 a pound of ground beef, then season with garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Top with feta cheese, tomato, and tzatziki sauce.