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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:

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: