I wrote a while back about breadcrumb alternatives for meatballs, and recently tried that “bulking down” technique with burgers. Awesome success. Couscous and quinoa both make great skillet burgers (see a foremost authority’s signature technique here), but there’s more than two ways to pull this off. I am not above sneaking vegetables into my system using this method when my heart says vegetables but my head says meat. Here are some other ways, using a 1/3 to 1/2-ratio of “other stuff” to ground beef:
I don’t really want to know my burger has been tampered with in a delicious manner:
- Diced sautéed eggplant or mushrooms
- A ton of caramelized onions
- Crumbled extra-firm tofu
- Shredded potatoes
- Buckwheat groats
- Some kind of interesting rice
I ain’t scurred:
- Chopped pepperoncini, fresh oregano and sautéed spinach (also works nicely with lamb)
- Chopped pineapple, cilantro and red onion
- Diced cooked butternut or acorn squash
- Sautéed mirepoix and caramelized leek (this one might need a smear of pâté)
The other thing you can do, not to reference the most popular recipe on our site since its inception or anything, is fill a burger with any of the above ideas. But I like the cutting idea because: a. it makes me feel like a badass ground beef dealer; and b. it keeps the moisture-enhancing ingredients evenly distributed. There is no real dilution of the meat flavor or lack of the crispy, salty crust you want from a great burger. Plus, you don’t feel like there’s a puck of meat in your stomach after.
The moral of the story: meat and vegetables can get more intimate in the burger world than just lying on top of each other. I try not to keep it PG unless I really have to.
More burgers for lunch on Food Republic: