Burgers truly can be a healthy choice, especially when made at home – a place where you can control the quality, quantity and variety of ingredients that goes into them. Lean meats, fish and fibre-rich legumes offer a wholesome alternative to fattier cuts loaded with bacon, cheese and mayo. Fresh, flavourful spices, oils and herbs can turn milder, lean proteins into a burger that rivals any drive-thru cheeseburger. For something different this summer, look no further than these juicy and healthy burger recipes.
Vegan Lentil Burgers
Pulses, nuts and spinach are formed into juicy, texturally pleasing, drive-thru-worthy burgers that everyone at the table from vegans to meat-eaters will love to wrap their hands around. Serve on a bun with your go-to burger condiments, or keep things ultra-light by topping a mountain of lettuce with the protein-packed patties.
Middle Eastern Chicken Burgers
The warming tastes and aromas of the spice route meld beautifully with lean chicken for a burger that’s healthier than average, with a flavour similar to deep-fried falafel – minus the buckets of oil.
Healthy Chili Bean and Bulgur Burgers
On the outside, these burgers may look like a fried chicken sandwich, but their wholesome interior holds bulgur, beans and a bit of Mexican cheese. With no deep-fryer or boxed, sawdust-tasting veggie burger in sight, this healthier alternative to a summertime favourite is OK to crave – and eat – all year long.
BBQ Chicken Burgers with Slaw
Mild chicken gets a Southern makeover with the rich flavours of BBQ. A bright and crisp slaw adds texture, moisture and a whole lot of tang to the finished dish. You won’t miss the beef with this stacked dinner.
Tandoori Chicken Burgers
Tandoori spices imbue chicken with a vibrant red hue and familiar flavour for a burger that will surprise, delight and offer something different for dinner tonight. Mango provides a sweet contrast, while yogurt cools things down.
Everything Salmon Burgers with Scallion Sour Cream Cheese
Salmon’s high omega-3 content makes a juicy, buttery burger choice that just happens to be good for you. This recipe is a play on bagels and lox with everything bagel spice-infused patties and a bracing scallion sour cream cheese spread for the bun. Serve it on a whole wheat Montreal-style bagel if you want to fully embrace the theme.
Moose Burger with Wild Blueberry Onion Jam
Outside-the-box meats, like moose, are ultra-lean, protein- and iron-rich options to beef. This recipe, using wild moose, gets a foraged blueberry and onion jam garnish for something truly Canadian, healthy and majorly filling. Find the ingredients for this meal at specialty markets and butcher shops.
Bobby Flay’s Turkey Burgers
Turkey outside of the holiday season is made fresher, lighter and weeknight-friendly with this contemporary burger. Toppings of honey-mustard dressing and goat cheese bring the meal to life so there’s no need for bacon or American cheese.
Grilled Portobello Burger with Onion Jam
For veggie burgers, it doesn’t get any easier than employing the naturally meaty portobello mushroom as a patty. Mushrooms offer a smaller amount of protein than bean and meat burgers, but make up for it in terms of flavour; this recipe is no exception.
Quinoa Burger with Feta and Black Olives
Give burger night a gluten-free Greek twist with protein-packed quinoa. Salty feta and black olives hold everything together, while oyster mushrooms add meatiness and depth of flavour. Serve with tzatziki sauce or hummus, and a thick slice of beefsteak tomato.
Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa
Fragrant Thai basil and green onions are mixed into wholesome ground turkey for a garden-fresh burger that will keep you on your toes. A finely chopped pineapple and bell pepper salsa is the sweet contrast to this savoury summer affair.
Tofu Patties with Chili Lime Pineapple
A tropical topper brings mild tofu to life in this meatless burger alternative. Tofu offers plenty of protein for a burger that gets lots of zing from lime, chili and tangy pineapple.
Baked Falafel Sliders with Tabbouleh and Maple Tahini Sauce
Falafel shakes off its round, deep-fried persona, getting baked into slider-sized patties instead for a burger you will want to – and can – pop a few of in one sitting. A dollop of maple tahini offers a fun twist on the classic sesame sauce, while fresh toppings deliver a welcome contrast to this decadent yet healthy vegetarian meal.
Black Bean and Corn Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato ‘Bun’
Their crave-worthy texture and big, bold flavour makes homemade veggie burgers worth whipping up at home instead of going the frozen route, which are often full of additives and preservatives. Serve on a regular bun, or try your hand at this sweet potato version for a flour-free alternative.
Tofu Black Bean Burger with Curry Mayo
Curry mayo adds a pop of deep, richness to this vegetarian burger, low in saturated fat and high in fibre and protein. Serve on a bun or bed of lettuce for a meal that you’ll want to schedule into your meal plan, every week of summer.
Get this recipe for Tofu Black Bean Burger with Curry Mayo
Allison Day is a cookbook author, nutritionist (RHN) and the creator of the award-winning food blog Yummy Beet.