Whether it’s a day out at the beach, a backyard BBQ or just catching up with friends at the pub, burgers are definitely a go-to favourite (if you don’t mind getting your hands a tad messy). There’s so many variations to this common classic, it can be a struggle to choose one that keeps your tastebuds and waistline smiling!
In the face of all the new burger creations, many of us will still agree that you can’t go past a sweet’n’simple cheeseburger – and I can’t agree more. Like many food instances, simple is best. Here’s some reasons why…
Fancy fillings, not-so-fancy waistline
Nowadays, burgers are not only dominating pubs and fast food chains, but are also marching in to the menus of cafes and restaurants. This means a need to invent new and exciting flavour combinations to satisfy the changing crowd of burger-eaters, which brings gourmet, exotic and often hipster burgers to the playing field. Have you tried burgers with maple bacon, fried chicken or pork belly, or veggie burgers with quinoa, falafel or even kimchi! You even have a choice of buns – sourdough, toasted brioche bun, fluffy milk bun, bright green matcha buns… Others are just plain over-the-top and somewhat ridiculous. Ever heard of the donut cheese and bacon burger, or the DB burger with braised ribs, foie gras, truffle and parmesan bun??
As adventurous as they may sound (and look), these bun-spirations are probably set for the “special occasion” or “sometimes” food category, since they’re loaded up with the nasty three: saturated fat, salt and added sugars. Making your own burger means that you know exactly what’s going in your burger and you can make it just the way you like it. It also costs a fraction of the price of deluxe wagyu beef burger or southern-style chicken burger. Just some more reasons why homemade is best-made!
Layer up right
The order of fillings in a burger seem to be a contentious topic amongst burger fans. After reading up on some blogs and forums by burger makers (there’s forums?!), there are moot points for and against putting the pattie on the lettuce vs salad veggies on top of the pattie, cheese on the pattie vs onion relish in between, sauce on the base vs at the very end … and like the many ‘burger protocols’, there are just as many individual preferences: in my household alone, some like the bun to be sauce-free (so stick the sauce somewhere in the middle…?), cheese, no cheese, salad on top, salad on the bottom, toasted vs untoasted bun. The most important thing is to ensure a fresh and nutritious combination of fillings. Then you can worry about the order after that!
Make that burger count!
A commercial burger might only give you a lettuce leaf and pickles (hmm… does the tomato sauce and caramelised onion count?). Adding veggies to your burger provides more bulk and key vitamins and minerals with very little extra kilojoules. More fibre also means more satisfaction for longer and less room for that side of fries or thickshake. Despite your high hopes, the vegetable serves count of an average burger is probably under 1 (noooo!). Rather than relying on these high-salt, high-sugar veggie options to tick your 5 daily serves of veg (yes, tomato sauce is actually high in added sugars), why not make your own customised burger for a healthy AND delicious twist! Pump up the veggies in your own homemade burger by adding grated carrot or zucchini into your pattie mixture. Add colourful salad leaves and sliced tomato, and spread a quarter of an avo on the bun to count as one serve towards your daily five – yay!
Cost: $17.25 ($4.20 per burger)
Cooking time: 20 mins (+ 10 mins chilling time)
- 350g regular lamb mince
- 80g shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (brown swiss mushrooms work well too)
- 1 stem spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (try to opt for a salt-reduced variety)
- 4 wholegrain bread rolls, split
- 1 avocado, ripened and roughly mashed
- 5 cups (or about 20 leaves) lettuce, washed and rougly torn (green or red oak lettuce work well)
- 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tasty cheese slices (20g each)
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Sauce, to serve (see Notes)
- Black pepper, to season
- Canola oil spray
Let’s get cooking:
- Line a large plate or baking tray with baking paper or foil.
- Combine mince, mushrooms, shallot and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl. Season with pepper. Using clean hands, mix ingredients until well combined (knead lightly – less kneading results in a juicier and tender patty). Make four patties and place on prepared tray, flattening them. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes to hold their shape.
- Meanwhile, spread bread roll bases with a quarter of the avocado. Top with torn lettuce.
- Remove patties from fridge. Spray a large frying pan with canola oil and heat on medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside.
- Spray the same pan with canola oil and add patties, gently pressing down on the centre of each patty with your fingers to flatten outwards (see Notes). Cook for 3-4 minutes or until bottom is browned, then turn over. Add onions back into the pan around the patties to combine and caramelise with the juices in the pan. Place a slice of cheese on each patty and cook for 1-2 minutes or until patties are cooked to your liking and cheese has melted slightly.
- Top each bun base with a patty and divide caramelised onions. Top patty and onions with a tomato, sauce (2 teaspoons, if using) and bun top. Serve warm.
- When meat cooks the heat will make it shrink, so make your patties larger than you want them to turn out. Thicker patties also take longer to cook, and if you have the heat up too high the patties might burn on the outside but still be undercooked inside. Since the centre of the patty tends to be where it can be quite thick (and therefore take longer to cook through), pressing down on the centre of the patty when you start cooking it will ensure even cooking and in less time!
- You can toast the bread rolls too, if you prefer some added crunch.
- Sauces: the caramelised onions works wonders and packs the burgers full of flavour, but if you’re keen some sauce… Worcestershire sauce goes well with lamb and the mushrooms. Alternatively, try making some garlic aoili for a homemade twist. Combine cloves of crushed garlic with good quality mayo and keep chilled until use.
- This burger is great serve with a side of sweet potato wedges for an extra serve of veggies.
One serve provides 1.5 serves of veggies.
|Total fat (g)||23.6|
|– Saturated fat (g)||8.8|
|– Sugars (g)||5.9|