Spending time outdoors and having meals outdoors with friends and family during the summer months is something that I really enjoy. Before I cook outside, I like to finish preparing anything that has to be prepared inside the house, so I can give the grilling the time and attention that it deserves. If the weather is nice, I may prepare the salad outside, too; but usually, I give all of my attention to the grill.
Once in a while, I like to change up my regular beef burger and use a different protein. Ground chicken, turkey, or salmon makes for a healthy option that delivers on taste. Try some of the combinations below or experiment with your own. You will find that these lower-fat options need a little help to keep them from falling apart on the grill. Adding breadcrumbs or eggs will do the trick, and in my turkey burgers, canned green chilies work well.
Spinach and Feta Chicken burgers
1 pound of fresh spinach leaves
1 pound of ground chicken
4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
¼ c. bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
(optional) 4 whole-grain buns
- Chop washed spinach and saute in 1 tsp of olive oil. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Place ground chicken in a large bowl. Gently crumble the feta and add to the bowl the breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Divide into 6 equal portions and form into patties.
- Place on preheated grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
(Nutrition (6 burgers) Calories 131; fat 5 g; sodium 330mg; carbohydrate 6g; fiber 1g; protein 17g )
Salmon burgers with Tzatziki Sauce
Salmon burger Ingredients:
1 ½ pound salmon broken into pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ small onion chopped
2 T. chopped fresh dill
2 T. chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp lemon zest
Olive oil as needed
Onion, tomatoes, and cucumber slices to garnish
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic minced
2 T. grated cucumber
1 tsp. Freshly chopped dill
1 tsp. Fresh chopped parsley
2 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
- Pulse together the onion, salmon dill, chives, egg, lemon zest, oregano, and salt in a food processor.
- Form into 4 patties, refrigerate for one hour.
- In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, cucumber, herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil; refrigerate.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Remove salmon from the refrigerator, brush both sides with olive oil, and place on a heated grill. Cook until heated through, about 4 minutes per side.
- Serve on a toasted bun with cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion.
(Nutrition: Yields 5 burgers; Calories 165; fat 3.4g; sodium 399g; carbohydrate 1.6g; fiber .5g; Protein 30g)
Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado and Tomatoes
4 ears of corn
¼ c. olive oil
1 c. chopped tomatoes
⅓ c. red onion, chopped
2 T. basil ribbons
⅓ c. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
- Remove husks from corn and soak ears in cold water while the grill is heating.
- Remove corn from water, pat dry, brush with olive oil, and season with kosher salt.
- Grill corn until kernels are lightly charred. Allow the corn to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine avocado, tomatoes, onions, and basil.
- When corn is cool, remove kernels from the cob.
- Add to avocado mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ c. olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, then season with salt and pepper. Pour over the corn mixture and enjoy.
(Nutrition (6 servings) Calories; 145; fat 5.6g; carbohydrate 24g; fiber 4g; protein 3g)
Grilled Eggplant with Chimichurri Sauce
1 ¼ c. packed fresh parsley leaves
3 T. packed oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
⅓ c. extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes
Kosher salt to taste
1 large eggplant
kosher salt as needed
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- Remove ends from eggplant and slice in 1/4:” slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and generously season with salt. Set aside.
- In a mini food processor, pulse together the parsley, oregano, and garlic until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes, and season with salt. Set aside and preheat the grill to medium.
- Blot the eggplant with paper towels and remove the moisture.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil and place on a heated grill.
- Grill for 4 minutes on each side.
- Arrange on serving dish and serve with chimichurri.
(Nutrition 2-3 slices of eggplant and 3T. Chimichurri sauce 303 calories; fat 20g; sodium 15 g; carbohydrate 31 g; fiber 19 g; Protein 6 g)