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Now that spring has fully sprung, I thought a burger was in order to start off the backyard BBQ season.  I mixed sautéed carrots and onions into my burgers to bulk up, and keep em’ moist.  Add your juicy burger, to a toasty wheat bun with creamy avocado, crispy bacon and sprouts…okay, you’ve got to admit that’s a great way to start off grilling this year. 

Ruby Tuesday’s Avocado Turkey Burger rings in at a monstrous 968 calories and 61g fat.  My burger is made with lean ground beef and only 365 calories, including bun and all the fixin’s.  Just for fun I had to look up RT Restaurant’s highest calorie menu item, the Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, 1,521 calories and 92g fat, yes believe or not, 92 grams of fat.  Oh my, just reading the stats made my pants feel tight!

Great sandwich for a Mother’s Day grill out with family and friends.  Add a side of grilled asparagus, hummus with carrots and celery, fresh fruit, or baked fries and it’s a party. 

For baked fries just cut washed russet potatoes (skin on) into match sticks, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and bake on a sheet pan in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness, or until browned and crispy.  Makes you want to fire up that grill and throw on your grillin’ apron, doesn’t it?

California Burgers

serves 4

  • ½ SMALL ONION, CHOPPED
  • ½ cup CARROT, CHOPPED
  • 2 GARLIC CLOVES, MINCED
  • 1 tsp DRIED PARSLEY
  • 3/4 tsp SEA SALT
  • ¼ tsp GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • ¼ tsp CRUSHED RED PEPPER (optional or to taste)
  • 1 tsp EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • 1 lb LEAN GROUND BEEF or TURKEY*
  • 4 slices LEAN TURKEY BACON
  • 4 LIGHT WHEAT HAMBURGER BUNS (80 calories each) or THIN BUNS

 toppings:

  • 1 RIPE AVOCADO
  • ½ FRESH LEMON, JUICED
  • 4 SLICES OF TOMATO
  • 1 cup ALFALFA SPROUTS
  • 4 Tbsp GARLIC or RED PEPPER HUMMUS or LIGHT MAYO

*I used Laura’s brand lean (96/4) grass-fed ground sirloin in recipe.  I prefer organic, good quality meat, but any lean (96% fat or higher) ground chicken, turkey or beef available will work great too.

1. In a small skillet heat olive oil and cook carrot, onion and garlic, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, a 4-5 minutes or until softened.

2. Add cooked vegetables, parsley, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to meat.  Mix with hands just until combined (over mixing will toughen meat).  Form mixture into 4 equal sized patties.

3. To easily cook bacon, place separate slices on a broiler or rack fitted pan.  Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes at 375 or until desired crispness. (I made all my bacon at once to freeze or use leftovers in breakfast sandwiches).

4. Grill burgers on and indoor or outdoor grill for 4-6 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.  Flip once and don’t smash down with a spatula while cooking, it will dry out burger.

5.  Toast buns directly on grill, cut side down, or under a broiler oven, just a minute or two, watching carefully not to burn.  While buns are toasting cut toppings, here is the best way I’ve found to slice an avocado.

First, cut in half around pit with a large sharp knife.

Then, remove pit with knife. Twist slightly to loosen.

Now, slice or dice while in the peel.

Separate flesh from skin carefully with a spoon, all the way around.

And you’ve got fresh, not mushy, avocado slices. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over avocado slices to prevent browning (you can see mine were already starting to brown).

6. Layer up burger: on each bun bottom spread 1 Tbsp hummus or mayo, top with a grilled burger, tomato slice, 1 strip bacon, ¼ the avocado (a few slices), about ¼ cup sprouts and toasted bun top.

NUTRITION INFO PER BURGER (with toppings): 365 calories

(sorry my nutrition software is out of commission at the moment, had to do this one by hand – hope for it to be back up running soon).

I can’t have wheat so I put my burger on bed of romaine, still delicious with some blue corn chips.

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