1. Chicken Burger with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli
For those nights when you’re craving a burger, a chicken burger can be an easy (but still delicious) alternative with far less saturated fat than a beef burger. This healthy dinner recipe is ideal because it can be made in 30 minutes or less. You’ll have a protein-rich, lower-fat meal on busy nights and you’ll still be satisfied.
It’s true: alternative burgers nearly always lead you astray when you’re dining out at a restaurant. Chicken burgers, turkey burgers, and yes, even veggie burgers tend to be every bit as unhealthy as their beefy counterpart. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore your burger craving. Instead, you just have to get a little creative—and it’s super easy to do.
We’ve gone ahead and helped you out by reinventing the chicken burger, using a lean grind of meat and a hugely flavorful—but surprisingly low-calorie—spiked mayo to deliver on the promise of a truly healthy burger you can happily indulge in.
NUTRITION: 330 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated), 730 mg sodium
2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and black pepper
1 lb lean ground chicken
4 whole-wheat or potato buns (or even English muffins), split
2 cups arugula, baby spinach, or mixed greens
HOW TO MAKE IT
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Set the aioli aside.
- Preheat a grill, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet.
- Combine the ground chicken with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper and mix gently.
- Without overworking the meat, form into four patties until the chicken just comes together.
- When the grill or skillet is hot (if using a skillet, add a touch of oil), add the burgers.
- Cook on the first side for 5 to 6 minutes, until a nice crust develops.
- Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the burgers are firm but ever so slightly yielding to the touch and cooked through.
- Remove the burgers. While the grill or pan is hot, toast the buns.
- Layer the bottom buns with the arugula, top each with a burger, then slather the aioli over the top of each.
- Crown with the bun tops and serve.
Eat This Tip
Aioli is traditionally a garlic and olive oil mayonnaise made in France and Spain, and the combination of these two ingredients makes for a much healthier spread than your average jar of Hellmann’s.
You can do a quick approximation by mincing a clove or two of garlic, then using the back of your knife—along with a pinch of salt for abrasion—to grind the garlic into a paste. Add it to olive oil–based mayonnaise (made by Kraft and Hellmann’s), along with any other flavor boosters. Some of our favorites: roasted red pepper, sriracha, chipotle, and balsamic vinegar.
Now, it’s time to get grilling—and eating!
2. Asian-Inspired Tuna Burger with Wasabi Mayo
Much like the chicken burger, our recipe for tuna burgers with wasabi mayo makes for a great weight-loss-friendly meal. Tuna is packed with lean protein, which will help you stay full and maintain lean muscle mass, and the wasabi mayo is so flavorful that you won’t need to use that much at all.
A firm, meaty fish like tuna is prime picking for the burger treatment, and we love making tuna burgers for a protein-packed meal. All it takes is a quick pulse in the food processor or even just a bit of fine chopping. Either way, make sure the fish is very cold, which keep the proteins from binding into tough lumps. The resulting ground tuna is ready to be formed into patties and dressed up in dozens of different ways. (If tuna isn’t your fish of choice, salmon works every bit as well.)
Plus, when topped with a spicy wasabi mayo, you’ll get a burger that brings the heat in every bite. This is far from the basic burger you might be used to!
NUTRITION: 330 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 460 mg sodium
1 lb fresh tuna
4 scallions, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Canola oil, for grilling
2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
1⁄2 Tbsp prepared wasabi (from powder or in premade paste)
4 whole-wheat sesame buns, split and lightly toasted
1 cup sliced cucumber, lightly salted
2 cups mixed baby greens
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Chop the tuna into 1⁄2″ cubes, then place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up (this will make grinding easier).
- Working in batches if necessary, pulse the tuna in a food processor to the consistency of ground beef. (Be sure not to overdo it; you only want to pulse it enough so that you can form patties.)
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, and mix in the scallions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Form into four equal patties.
- Place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before grilling to firm up.
- Preheat a well-oiled grill or grill pan.
- When hot, add the patties and cook for 2 to 3 minutes a side until browned on the outside, but still medium rare in the center.
- Flip and handle carefully, as these burgers are more delicate than beef burgers.
- Mix the mayo with the wasabi, then spread evenly onto the bun tops.
- Line the bottoms with cucumber and greens, top with the burgers, then crown with the bun tops.
Eat This Tip
Like any beef or turkey burger, these tuna patties are prime picks for an array of flourishes and accoutrements. Change up the burger with one of these treatments:
- Mix the tuna with Dijon and herbs (instead of the Asian seasonings), then top with slices of grilled tomato and tapenade
- Brush the Asian-inspired tuna patties with teriyaki sauce, and top with pickled jalapeños and rings of grilled pineapple
- Brush the Asian-inspired tuna patties with hoisin, and top with mayonnaise spiked with lime juice and sriracha