Burgers are a very popular meal choice. There is taste and flavor beyond beef. Many ingredients can be used to make your own low fat or veggie burgers. There are many ready-to-use veggie burgers available with varying levels of fat.
At home and when eating out, low fat and veggie
burgers have become the burger of choice for many Americans. Burger Kings
across the US and Canada are offering veggie burgers,
as are Hard Rock Cafes and the food outlets at Disney amusement parks.
America’s biggest corporations are
offering low fat and veggie burgers in their company dining services. Here is a
list, compiled by the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine, of just
some of the companies serving low fat and veggie burgers to their employees:
Michigan), General Motors ( Michigan), Texaco ( New York), Procter and Gamble (
Ohio), AT & T ( New Jersey), Wal-Mart Stores ( various locations), Phillip
Morris ( New York), Hewlett-Packard ( California), Metropolitan Life Insurance
( New York), State Farm ( Illinois) and Mobil(Virginia).
It seems low fat and veggie burgers are
making fast fans of many former double bacon and cheese burger lovers.
Lest you think that beef is the meat of choice for
burgers, think again.
are being created with chicken, turkey, salmon, buffalo, veal and vegetables.
The Sheraton Inn, Seattle, Washington, offers a salmon burger
served with a choice of condiments including a lemon dill mayonnaise.
Restaurant, Irvine, California, offers several “veggie”
burgers, including a bean-and grain based burger and a potato and lentil
Chicken and turkey burgers are
available as a frozen, ready-to-use menu items; just throw them on the grill
and go. Chicken and poultry burgers are very neutral in flavor, ready to be
seasoned. Try red pepper flakes, white pepper and cilantro for a Southwestern
flavor, bell pepper, tomato puree and garlic for a Mediterranean flavor.
A Nice, Juicy, CHERRY
Big and juicy doesn’t have to mean
cholesterol-city. Nutrition-sneaky chefs have been playing with their burgers
and have found ways to keep them juicy without adding fat. A deli owner in Washington State found a way to cut the fat
in burgers and incorporate his state’s famous crop- cherries. He found that
substituting ¼ the meat with fresh cherry pulp he keep the color, texture and
juice of the burger and cut the fat by 25 per cent. The USDA has just allowed
chopped prunes or prune puree to be substituted for some of the beef in burgers
supplied to schools across the country. Both cherries and prunes add texture,
moisture and nutrients without adding fat or sodium or detracting from meat
If cherries or prunes are not your cup
of tea when it comes to burgers, take out
some of the meat and add in soy, tomato products, egg whites combined
with fresh bread crumbs or minced fresh vegetables.
Or perhaps you’ll scrap the meat and
go with a veggie burger instead. High in fiber and vitamins and low in fat
(unless you fry them, bind them with eggs or top them with half a pound of
cheese), veggie burgers can be made with chopped, cooked vegetables, cooked
grains (rice, barley) and corn, tofu and other soy products and potatoes. Make
your own or select from the many frozen, ready-to-use products available.
Serious Veggie Burger Research
all veggie burgers alike? There are so many on the market right now. You’ll
probably want to do taste and cooking tests to decide which veggie burger best
fits your needs.
Veggie burgers are generally lower in calories and
fat than hamburgers . Extra lean ground
beef gets more than half its calories from fat; most veggie burgers have less
than 20% of calories from fat. Meat has no fiber; most veggie burgers have at
least 3 or 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving. While veggie burgers have
little or no cholesterol, a 3.5 ounce hamburger made with extra lean ground
beef has 90 milligrams of cholesterol. Veggie burgers, especially those made
with soy, contain generous amounts of protein and iron. Vitamin B-12 is added
to some veggie burgers. The only negatives for veggie burgers are that most are
higher in sodium than ground beef and may require additional fat while cooking
to prevent sticking.
But How Do They Taste?
Some veggie burgers are made with soy protein or mushrooms
and these burgers looked more like hamburgers. They often have a chewy texture,
a brown color, and a grilled flavor.
Some veggie burgers are based on combinations of beans, grains, or
vegetables. These tend to look a little
more “home-made” and may crumble easily. Some veggie burgers contain eggs, egg
whites or cheese, so read the label for additional fat content.
You get the best results from veggie burgers when
you follow the cooking directions on the box. Some veggie burgers can be baked
or cooked, without fat, in nonstick pans. Others need to be fried in small
amounts of oil. Become a label reader. Just because a veggie burger contains no
meat or cheese does not mean it is low in fat or can be cooked without fat.
Remember that veggie burgers can be multipurpose
ingredients. In addition to serving them as a hot sandwich, veggie burgers can
be crumbled and be the “meat” in meat sauce and soups, formed into individual “
meat” loaves or used in chilies, sloppy joes and French dip sandwiches.
Low fat and veggie burgers are a
popular, fun-to-eat menu item. So stoke up the grill and get the buns toasting!
Farms Hard Rock Cafe (3 oz) 170 6 8 340
Original Sunshine Burger (2.5 oz) 250 10 15 230
SIDE BAR: TOPPINGS
your burgers from the other burgers on the block. Offer a wide assortment of
toppings to add that extra accent. No one will even notice the fat is missing!
cucumbers (sliced lengthwise), shredded carrots, broccoli, radish, alfalfa and
soy bean sprouts, bell pepper slices, shredded and leaf iceberg, chilies (of
various “heat”) red leaf, romaine, Bibb lettuces, fresh spinach, endive, ,
yellow and red tomatoes, red, yellow, white, sweet onion slices, minced fresh
garlic, raw and sautéed button
mushrooms, thinly sliced jicama, and yes, fresh, thinly sliced pineapple and peaches.
stuff:: cucumbers (sweet and savory chips, slices, spears), carrot slices, green
tomatoes, green and black olives, cabbage (kimchi), Daikon radish, baby corn,
celery slices, gardenia (a mixture of pickled vegetables), pepperocini (sweet
Italian peppers), artichoke hearts, heart of palm, capers, watermelon rind
Cheeses: Part skim mozzarella, shredded veggie cheeses
( made with soy milk), specialty low fat cheeses.
tomato ketchup, flavored ketchup, mayonnaise, flavored mayonnaise, red and
green Tabasco sauce, various hot sauces, selections of salsa, chutneys,
mustard, flavored mustards, grated horseradish, salad dressings, such as ranch,
thousand island, russian, green goddess, creamy French, pickle relish, pepper
relish, steak sauce, soy sauce, flavored vinegars, barbecue sauce, chopped
fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary), fresh cilantro.
SIDE BAR: The Five Commandments of Moist Low Fat Burgers
rules when it comes to burgers; follow these six rules and should have perfect
results every time
1. To add moistness to lean
meat or seafood, add some mashed fresh
avocado or thawed frozen avocado pulp. Avocado has a neutral flavor and a rich,
creamy texture which will make lean meat moist. Yes, avocado contains fat, but
it is the unsaturated, “good” kind of fat.
2. A touch of tomato puree,
ketchup or chopped, deseeded fresh tomatoes helps to ensure moistness.
3. When preparing low fat
burger mixtures, add small amounts of cold water, stock or tomato juice.
4. Experiment with a moist
stuffing, such as chopped and steamed mushrooms or onions, barbecued or baked
beans or black beans
5. Include moist toppings, such
as thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes, salsa or chutney
Side Bar: Burger Ideas
a creative wall when it comes to new low fat burger ideas? Here are just a few
ideas that can be made with low fat meat or a basic veggie burger mix ( see
or Grilled mushroom burgers White
and Black Bean Burgers
Bean Burgers Grilled
Red Bean Burgers Lentil
Carrot Burgers Oat
Black Bean Burgers White
Bean and Rice Burgers
and Brown Rice Burgers Grated
about 10 burgers. If you don’t have the tofu needed in this recipe, you can
substitute prepared and cooled mashed potatoes.
potatoes, cooked and peeled 14 each
cooked carrots 2
green peas 2
bread crumbs 14
1. Mashed cooked potatoes. Set
2. Heat and grease a griddle.
Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender. Combine mushrooms with potatoes in
large mixing bowl.
3. Add remaining ingredients,
except crumbs. Mix thoroughly. Add just enough crumbs to have mixture form
patties. Form into 3 ounce patties
4. Cook on hot griddle or bake
in 350-degree oven until browned on both sides.
Basic Veggie Burgers
Makes 8-10 burgers
This is a great “pantry” recipe, as many of the
ingredients should be on your shelf. This is also a great way to use leftover
veggies. If you don’t have the tofu used in this recipe, you can substitute
prepared and cooled mashed potatoes.
1 ½ cups
canned sliced carrots, drained (reserve
1 ½ cups
canned cut green beans, drained
1 ½ cups cooked pinto or red beans
2 ½ cups dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted margarine
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
½ cup ketchup or chili sauce
2 Tablespoons silken tofu
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
oven to 325 degrees. Place carrots, green beans and pinto beans in a blender or
food processor and puree until almost smooth.
Place mixture in a large bowl. Stir in
remaining ingredients until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add some of
the reserved carrot liquid; if it is too thin, add additional breadcrumbs.
mixture into burgers and place on nonstick baking sheet (or spray with
vegetable oil spray). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and
Note: this mixture can be pressed into a loaf pan
and baked as a loaf.
makes 6-7 burgers
veggie burgers can be baked or pan fried. If you would like to use them as
“meat”balls, they can be microwaved in sauce.
2 cups firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup onions, minced
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup celery, minced
¼ cup bell peppers, chopped
1/c cup water or carrot juice
oil for frying
In a large
bowl mash tofu until almost smooth. Add all ingredients except water and
combine until well mixed. Slowly add water or juice until mixture is thick
enough to form burgers.
Form into small burgers and refrigerate for 30
minutes. Fry in oil until browned or bake (at 350 degrees) for 20 minutes,
until heated and browned.
Burgers ( source: www.kelloggs-us.com)
from the recipe files of Kellogg’s
cup Kellogg’s All Bran cereal
cup chopped onions
Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
teaspoon garlic salt
pound lean ground turkey
all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Cover, refrigerate
and allow to stand for 5- 10 minutes, or until the cereal softens.
broil or fry bran burgers for 4 minutes or until browned and the proper
internal temperature is reached.