Like most families, we’ve been cooking up a lot of burgers this summer. The experiment has been both delicious and eye-opening, as we’ve discovered that you don’t really need to use beef to make an exceptional burger.
I don’t have any issues with using beef, but I like to expand my boys’ taste buds by showing them that we can make some of their favourite dinner recipes a little more interesting by swapping just a few key ingredients. Plus, beef can be on the pricey side and in order to keep my food budget in check – three sons plus one husband does not equate to reasonable grocery bills – I like to periodically replace it with something a little more economical.
Here are our five favourite burgers made without beef:
Salmon Burger: My friend Julie is one of the best cooks in the country (yes, the country!) and her salmon burger is the best fish-y burger I’ve tried. If you’re tired of roasting or grilling your salmon this season, definitely give these burgers a go. And if my enthusiastic endorsement doesn’t convince you, the caper mayo – a definite upgrade from the pale yellow jarred tartar sauce of our youth – surely should.
Cajun Turkey Burger: This recipe came to me via a podcast, and now it’s become one of my favourite family meals. Although it’s not listed as an ingredient you really do need to top these with a slice of spicy Havarti cheese (shown in the photos), which you can leave off for the littles if they aren’t big on bold flavours. It’s also suggested that you top these burgers with avocado, but I prefer to take that one step further and smear guacamole over the buns instead of using mayo or another condiment. You can double, triple and even quadruple this recipe, and freeze the leftovers for future dinners.
Chicken Burgers with Avocado Relish: Clearly I have a thing for pairing poultry and avocados because these chicken burgers with avocado relish are in heavy recipe rotation in my house as well. Infused with tangy buttermilk and grainy Dijon, and topped with a chunky avocado relish, this family-friendly dinner should easily please the masses.
Easy Grillable Veggie Burger: For those who follow an alternative diet – or who just like to feed their family something other than meat every once in a while – these grillable veggie burgers are divine. Made with recognizable ingredients you probably have in your cupboard (and suggestions for run-of-the-mill substitutes, if you don’t) and less than 10 ingredients, this is one of the better meatless burgers I’ve made to date.
Shrimp Burger with Old Bay Mayo: While shrimp and burger are two words that don’t usually get lumped together, trust me when I say you won’t regret making these. Similar in texture to a crab cake, the patties take less than 10 minutes to cook making this an easy weeknight dinner that’s definitely impressive enough to serve to your weekend guests. Serve with our Mexican corn salad, crunchy potato chips and briny dill pickles for a meal you won’t soon forget.
Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo
Slightly adapted from Endless Summer
For the mayo:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
For the burgers:
400g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed, if frozen)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup safflower oil
4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Sprouts or lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1. To make the mayo, in a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise and Old Bay seasoning to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
2. To make the burgers, place half the shrimp in the bowl of a food processor and add the egg, panko, green onion, lemon juice, salt, and garlic powder. Pulse until smooth. Add the remaining shrimp to the bowl and pulse a few times until it’s coarsely chopped. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Using damp hands, shape the shrimp mixture into four patties.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until this shrimp is opaque throughout.
4. Spread the buns with the mayo mixture, add the burger and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and broccoli sprouts. Serve immediately.