Beef and Beyond: 6 Reasons to Cook More Burgers

From classic beef and savory poultry to hearty fish or vegetables, here are six out-of-the-box burgers that cater to various tastes and nutritional goals.

By: Emily Lee
FN Kitchens Juicy Grilled Cheeseburgers

FN Kitchens Juicy Grilled Cheeseburgers

FN Kitchens Juicy Grilled Cheeseburgers

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Now that grilling season is in full swing, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to cook up a juicy burger. While classic beef is undoubtedly the reigning patty of choice, let’s not forget there are burger options that are equally worthy of our attention and just as good (if not better) for us.

If you’re hosting a summer party for a health-conscious crowd, whether it’s a casual cookout or a formal sit-down dinner, surprise your guests with a juicy burger that satisfies their hunger and staves off their guilt. From savory beef and poultry to hearty fish and vegetables, here are six powerhouse burgers that cater to various tastes, dietary restrictions and nutritional goals.

Classic Beef

There’s no getting around it: Summer feels incomplete without a classic, all-American beef burger in your hand from time to time. But if you think you need to skip beef entirely in order to reduce calories, think again. Food Network Kitchen’s Juicy Grilled Cheeseburgers (pictured at top) take the guilt out of this summertime staple and weigh in at just under 400 calories per serving — roughly half of what you could expect to receive from most fast-food permutations.

These quarter-pounders are lightened up with 90-percent lean beef; each patty is topped with merely half an ounce of cheddar and served on a grainy whole-wheat English muffin. Cover the burgers with a grill lid to create a steamy environment that helps the beef retain its juiciness.

Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Protein-Packed Turkey

Turkey has the unfortunate and undeserved reputation as the dieter’s alternative to juicy beef, but grill master Bobby Flay’s moist Turkey Burgers can change that stigma. Made with a mixture of white and dark meat turkey, these burgers provide roughly a day’s worth of protein, with a whopping 47 grams per serving.

Top them with a round slice of tart goat cheese to complement the bird’s natural gaminess. Sweet Meyer lemon-honey mustard and peppery arugula complete the burgers with a fresh summertime touch.

Lean Chicken

It’s rare to find a burger that’s both tender and low in fat, so for your next dinner party, serve up these lean yet juicy Chicken Burgers for just 11 grams of fat per serving. A basic grilled chicken breast sandwiched between two buns doesn’t have the same appeal as these kid-friendly, hand-formed patties, which epitomize casual summertime fare.

Combine the ground white meat with low-fat milk and grated sweet onions to ensure moist results for very few extra calories.

Food stylist: Stephana Bottom
Prop Stylist: Leslie Siegel


Food stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop Stylist: Leslie Siegel

Photo by: Kana Okada ©2011, Kana Okada

Kana Okada, 2011, Kana Okada

Heart-Healthy Salmon

We forget that meaty salmon makes an ideal substitute for beef- and poultry-based burgers, so here’s our reminder: Perfect Salmon Burgers as seen in Food Network Magazine. “Perfect” is a tough name to live up to, but this recipe delivers on its promise.

The secret? Hand-formed patties made with a combination of pureed salmon, which includes mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice and cayenne, and small-diced pieces of center-cut salmon. Incorporating the hearty pieces of diced fish will ensure that the burgers retain the same soft, buttery texture of a salmon fillet.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

High-Fiber Lentils

Accommodating vegetarians and vegans should never be difficult — or a drag. To the rescue: Food Network Kitchen’s Vegan Lentil Burgers, spiced with aromatic garlic and cumin, then grilled to perfection. Each patty is packed with brown lentils, chopped red onion, spinach and walnuts for a flavorsome burger that’s high in fiber and protein but still low in fat.

All-in-One Edamame

We know what you’re thinking: “Another veggie burger?” But here’s the scoop: Edamame are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in fiber and protein but low in fat and cholesterol. They lend a hearty texture and a buttery flavor to any meal, so don’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried ‘em. The best part of this Edamame Veggie Burger is the contrast between the melt-in-your-mouth center and the crisp, brown crust, reminiscent of falafel, which you can achieve under the broiler.

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