April 15, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to flip your burger!

The protein in your burger, that is. Chefs and major food-service companies alike have had huge success with plant-forward burgers because they're delicious, satisfying, and better for you.

Chef Jenn Louis recently 

There are burgers, and then there are veggie burgers. But what if the two worlds could collide? Plants bring complexity, flavor, and intrigue to the classic burger, extending beyond the one dimension of an all-meat patty. They also provide a healthy dose of protein and fiber with far fewer calories than meat. Chefs are now playing with mix-ins like lentils, cauliflower, chickpeas, and wild rice. Here, we start with a half pound of lean ground sirloin and blend in sautéed mush-rooms and onions-more than a pound of umami-packed veggies that add moisture and create a rich, meaty mix with less heft. A more plant-packed patty also means you'll rely less on high-sodium marinades and fat-laden spreads. Try burger blends with mashed beans, cooked whole grains like farro or quinoa, chopped roasted beets, or toasted nuts. The key is to get the ratio just right: Too much plant and the patty falls apart and becomes unwieldy; too little and you may as well go all beef. Start with half of each; then back off or increase steadily until you find a blend you love.

Here's How We Made Our Mushroom-Beef Burger

- Our griller saves 240 calories, 25g fat, 6g sat fat, and 544mg sodium over the classic takeout burger.- Build it on a whole-grain bun for more balanced carbs, plus 2g extra fiber per serving.- Place pickles on the bottom so they stay in place; on top, they'd slip right off the tomato after one bite.- A sensible spread of canola mayo, unsalted ketchup, and Dijon mustard saves 185 calories and 180mg sodium over a slather of regular mayo, ketchup, and yellow mustard.- Separate layers of crunch (think red onion and pickles) to maximize texture. Aim for one on each side of the patty.- Our mushroom and ground sirloin blend saves 102 calories, 9g fat, and 3g sat fat per serving over a pound of 80/20 ground beef, with plenty of protein (18g) per serving. A combo of earthy cremini and mild white mushroom varieties still lets the beef star.- Crisp Bibb or romaine won't wilt on the hot burger like spinach or Boston lettuce.

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