Burgers are such an excellent Summer food. It always reminds me of cookouts, family and friends. I don’t typically think of making burgers during the winter months. I more so seem to choose to eat a burger during the winter months if I go out to eat.
So, the real question is, how bad are burgers? They seem to get such a bad rep. Especially when you think of a fast food burger, like McDonald’s or Burger King. Nutritionally speaking, utilizing ground beef to make a burger versus other ingredients like turkey or beans for a vegetable burger, the beef doesn’t stack up. Let’s look at the stats:
Beef (80/20 beef/fat blend): 290 Calories, 23g fat (9g saturated), 19g protein, 0g fiber
Turkey (Perdue): 160 Calories, 8g fat (2g saturated), 21g protein, 0g fiber
Bean (Boca Spicy Black Bean): 110 Calories, 4g fat (0.5 saturated), 10g protein, 4g fiber
Statistically speaking, the bean burger wins hands down. It provides the least amount of Calories, fat and saturated fat, and provides a source of fiber. However, most people may argue the same debate as me, if you are going to eat a burger, you want the real thing. That doesn’t help the nutritional situation, though, at hand.
Both the bean and the turkey burgers provide excellent substitutes for a burger. Nowadays, they make products that you can purchase in the store for convenience that pack a lot of flavor into those “healthier” burgers. Before tossing a turkey or bean burger idea to the side, try one! I think you’ll be happily surprised.
Now let’s get back to the issue at hand. How can you make a beef burger still provide you with the delicious beef flavor to satisfy your craving, and yet provide perhaps better nutritional value? SUBSTITUTIONS! In this recipe, I substitute some of the beef for apple and spinach. The apple provides moisture, because the majority of an apple’s composition is water. You won’t get the same dry texture like you do from turkey burgers. Turkey burgers become dry due to the lower content of fat. The apple and spinach further provide fiber, an added bonus to the burger. By removing a content of ground beef, you reduce both the calorie content and the fat.
Lean Mean Burger
1/2 lb ground beef 80/20
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple, peeled and ground into fine pulp
1/2 cup spinach, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
In a medium size bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Form into 8, 1/2 inch thick patties. Heat oil in a large skillet, and cook burgers until golden brown and cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Serve the lean mean burger on a bun with light mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.
**TIP: Patties can be made 1 day ahead. Cover in saran wrap and chill in refrigerator. Bring patties to room temperature before cooking.