When the days are long and the sun shines bright, burgers with fresh seasonal veggies and endless salads are the way to go. And with so many variations available, it’s easy to enjoy a different burger every week.
But, if your family is like mine, they may be hesitant to try new burger recipes for fear that you’re trying to replace their favourite burger forever. One way I got my family to try new variations was to promise that I wasn’t replacing their favourite burger, just looking for more burgers to enjoy. More burgers, more often? Now that was an idea they were willing to explore.
When introducing new variations, start small by simply adding a few extra toppings to the usual assortment. To come up with ideas, think of a cultural theme that can also help with planning side dishes. For example, a Mexican-inspired burger can be topped with salsa, avocado slices and hot sauce and served with a colourful quinoa salad.
To really shake things up, try making a different style of patty and serving it on something other than a traditional hamburger bun. For example, a black bean or chicken patty served with tzatziki, tomatoes and lettuce in a pita. Your family may not even recognize it as a burger, but that’s OK because they’re going to love it.
To help you enjoy more burgers more often this summer here are a few more ideas and recipes to try.
While many of us grew up with beef or beef and pork patties, these aren’t the only options. Add to your repertoire and try patties made with chicken, turkey, chickpeas, bison, tuna, crab, lamb, mushrooms, lentils, eggplant, quinoa, beans or some awesome combination of these.
The bun or bread surrounding the patty is very important. It has to be the right size and texture to suit the patty. While the soft, squishable bun works for many classic meat burgers, don’t be afraid to try something different. Consider pita bread, English muffins, ciabatta bread, toasted garlic bread, sourdough bread, bannock or even non-bread options such as grilled portabello mushrooms, cabbage or lettuce leaves to surround your patties.
The toppings make burgers an ideal food for families where everyone has slightly different taste preferences. Offer traditional toppings for conservative eaters and spicy or unique toppings for adventurous eaters eager to try something different.
Traditional: lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, relish, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, mushrooms, cheese, bacon and chili.
Spicy: sriracha sauce, hot pepper rings, curry sauce, jalapenos, adobo sauce, sweet chili sauce and wasabi mayo.
Unique: pesto, tzatziki, hummus, avocado, grilled veggies, pickled or fermented veggies, fried egg, sauerkraut, beets, blue cheese, tomato jam, tomato salsa, mango salsa, sweet onion relish, chimichurri sauce, bacon jam, roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes.
Basic chicken burgers
- 1-1/2 lbs. ground chicken
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp. ketchup
- 2 tbsp. dried parsley (1/3 c. minced fresh)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Shape into six patties. With the back of a teaspoon, make a dent in the centre of each burger. This helps the centre of the burgers cook faster.
Preheat barbecue on medium heat. Grill burgers with the barbecue lid down, until a meat thermometer inserted into the burgers reads 175 F (about 9 minutes per side). Serve on whole wheat buns topped with your favourite burger toppings. Coleslaw made with red and green cabbage goes very well with these burgers. Makes: 6 patties.
Black bean and rice patties
- 1 (19-oz./540-ml) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 c. cooked brown rice
- 1/4 c. chopped onion
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. bread crumbs (22 g)
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. salsa
- 1-2 tbsp. canola oil
In large bowl, coarsely mash beans with a potato masher or fork. Add rice, onions, egg, bread crumbs, seasonings and salsa. Mix well. Shape into 4 patties, about 1 inch thick. Heat oil in large skillet and fry until golden on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Makes: 4 patties.
Ultimate crab cakes
- 2-1/2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. Dijon whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. seafood seasoning
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. capers, chopped
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 lb. fresh crab meat, remove any remaining cartilage
- 3/4 c. panko
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
In large mixing bowl whisk together mayonnaise, eggs, Dijon whole grain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, seafood seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, capers, parsley and lemon juice. Add in crab meat and panko and fold together until combined. Form into eight patties and place on baking sheet prepared with waxed paper. Let rest for 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. until they hold their shape. Over medium-high heat warm a large skillet and add 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Fry in small batches. Cook each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until browned and heated through. Remove from heat and keep warm. Cook remaining crab cakes, adding additional butter and olive oil as needed. Makes: 8 patties.
Recipe Source: Canadian food blogger www.mdivadomestica.com.