When you think of a burger, you’re no doubt picturing a juicy beef patty on a bun. But burgers don’t have to be made of beef — or even meat — to be a mouthwatering meal. Consider these five cow-free options the next time you’re eating out or heating up the grill.
Turkey burgers typically have less cholesterol and fat than beef patties. When preparing them, just make sure they’re well seasoned; because they’re missing a lot of fat, they require extra flavor. They also have a tendency to dry out, so be sure not to overcook them. Pretty much any topping that goes with a beef burger tastes great on turkey, but our favorites are Swiss cheese, red onion, and avocado. For a foolproof turkey burger, try Anne Burrell’s recipe on the Food Network”s website.
Bison Burger with Cabernet Onions and Wisconsin Cheddar
Though still technically red meat, bison is still a healthy alternative to beef and tends to be leaner and higher in protein. This meat option is getting more and more popular, so you should have no problem finding a supermarket that sells it. Bison burgers are delicious with barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, and sharp cheddar. Or try Epicurious’ recipe for bison burgers with Cabernet onions and Wisconsin cheddar.
Best-Ever Veggie Burger
This vegetarian alternative comes in various forms made with everything from black beans to soy. You can buy pre-made and frozen veggie burgers from MorningStar Farms, Dr. Praeger’s, Gardenburger, and BOCA Burger. Or you can make your own at home with this recipe from the food blog The Kitchn. Good veggie burgers taste delicious with anything, but we love them topped with aioli, fresh tomato slices, and mixed greens.
Portobello Mushroom Burger with Swiss Cheese and Avocado
Portobello mushrooms are thick and meaty, making them a great alternative for vegetarians, vegans, and anybody who wants a break from red meat. Bonus: research conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found that replacing beef with mushrooms resulted in reduced calorie consumption overall while maintaining satiety. Brush them with oil and brown them on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet. Top with mozzarella or feta cheese, roasted red pepper, and fresh basil, or try the Skinny Taste’s recipe for portobello mushroom burgers.
Salmon Burger with Grilled Pineapple
Salmon offers heart-healthy fats that keep you satisfied, slim, and with glowing skin. While burgers made with salmon require a few more ingredients — eggs and mashed potato or breadcrumbs to bind — they’re well worth the effort. Skip the ketchup and top your salmon patty with avocado slices, mayonnaise, and green onions. Complete with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or try this tropical recipe for salmon burgers with grilled pineapple and teriyaki.