girl, holding turkey burger, above plate

5 Delicious Takes On The Classic Burger

girl, holding turkey burger, above plate

Yes, those are my hands in this latest featured image. I wish I remembered to repaint them before taking photos, but hey- this is a blog about putting real life back into lifestyle blogging, so I figure it’s just par for the course.

Those of us in the U.S. take Memorial Day weekend for all it is- a long weekend, but more importantly, a time to reflect and thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. While we might choose to honor and remember specific relatives or loved ones, the way we celebrate has largely remained unchanged- the weekend is synonymous with family get-togethers, pool parties, and of course, THE GRILL. No Memorial Day is complete without a grillmaster whipping out hots and hams like no tomorrow.

Mike and I ended up stuck at home this weekend, and between his work (sadly, no paid holiday for him), and the running around we’ve been doing, we didn’t have time to get into the gym during their seasonal hours. I was feeling particularly bad about it, and so we compromised on making a turkey burger on a whole grain bun to still indulge in tradition- but in a lighter, healthier way! Turkey burgers are notoriously hard to make from scratch, because of how dry and tasteless they can end up. We adapted this recipe from the New York Times, and I have to say- it was the most tender, flavorful turkey burger I’ve ever had!! That said, it did carry the consistency of a sloppy joe, and while laying slices of cheese on top of each patty helped them hold shape, I’d recommend a binding agent like egg or breadcrumbs if you try this one out- and go easy on the salt!

We love experimenting in the kitchen. I never want to make the “traditional” version of any recipe, if I can create something totally out of the box! So, I figured I’d share some of my all time favorite non-traditional burger recipes, in honor of the biggest grilling holiday this side of Independence Day:

1. Spicy Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger, Macheesmo

peanut butter, jelly, hamburger, jalapeno

I mean…. the name says it all. Much like the above turkey burger recipe, there really aren’t too many ingredients, but there’s a particular beauty in simplicity when it comes to cooking, but specifically when it comes to the grill. If you can cook any burger, you can cook this burger. It’s a flavor combination that you don’t think would work, but believe me- IT DOES. Nick from Macheesmo recommends using creamy peanut butter, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have that on hand. If you really don’t like the spice, you can leave off the jalapeño, but in my opinion, the combination of heat, savory, and sweet is something that’s out of this world.

Check out the recipe here.

2. Mushroom Quinoa Burger, Good Housekeeping

mushroom, quinoa, burger, aioli, sprouts

I know what you’re thinking- Maggie, HOW DARE YOU suggest a burger that isn’t meat??!! Ordinarily, I’d be wagging my finger at myself right along with you, but I just can’t with this one. Good Housekeeping brags that this burger is “hearty enough for most carnivores”, and I wholeheartedly concur. Though a little bit more labor-intensive than the previous recipe, this veggie burger packs a punch with meaty portobello caps, tangy rice wine vinegar, and crisp sprouts, along with an aromatic rosemary mayo which, although I haven’t tried since I dislike mayo with a passion (sorry everyone), makes me almost convinced my tastes could change.

Check out the recipe here.

3.  Chicken Fajita Burger, Yummy Healthy Easy

Chicken, chicken fajita, burger, onion, tomato

Another heavy hitter in the healthy burger space, chicken burgers like this one from Yummy Healthy Easy are a great way to grill mindfully. I love this burger because it’s packed chock-full of roasted peppers, onions, and seasonings like cilantro and coriander. I just sub in the chipotle mayo for chipotle ranch and bam! Easily one of the tastiest burgers you’ll ever have- that’s a CoM guarantee 🙂

Check out the recipe here.

4. Pepperoni Pizza Burger, Oh Sweet Basil

pepperoni pizza, burger

Those of you who know me know I am pizza OBSESSED (I feel like the use of all caps is going to be a recurring theme in my food posts). This is honestly the best pizza/burger mashup out there, and that’s saying a lot since there’s a ton of options out there on Pinterest. What really seals the deal for me is the mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage in the patty, combined with tangy pizza sauce and (of course) plenty of mozzarella and parmesan. That, along with the heavenly instructions to “brush the buns with butter and toast them on the grill”, is enough to send me straight to the store to buy ingredients!

Check out the recipe here.

5. Pesto & Goat Cheese Burger, A Sweet Pea Chef

goat cheese, pesto, hamburger

This last recipe strikes just the right balance between the traditional and the unique, with lean ground beef, yellow onion and cremini mushroom, all packed into a burger slathered with a nutty homemade pesto and topped with goat cheese, which is my absolute favorite cheese due to its complex dueling notes of sharp and sweet. I honestly could ramble on for pages and pages about this burger, but I’ll try to sum it up like this: This is the sort of food you make to impress your friends or colleagues. It’s also the sort of food you make on date night. It’s a super easy, elevated take on a classic burger that just works no matter what scenario you place it in.  You’ve goat to try it! (had to).

Check out the recipe here.

Sitting here after writing all that, I’m just like…. man, do I love food. Burgers have a special place in American cuisine because they’re simple, yet can be taken in so many directions, as we’ve seen. Also, because the act of grilling brings us all together, no matter how far-flung our families are.

What are you grilling this Memorial Day? Do you have a special tradition or recipe that your family loves? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message! 

Keep it real,

-Maggie <3

*Note: All images used with the exception of the header image are the property of those sites linked to in this post. All recipes are theirs, and I’m sure they’d appreciate you checking them out and letting them know what you think!

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