Burger Bonanza? Bring It On...

Instant Grit

Heat up your summer menus with these lean versions of a cookout favorite. On the menu: Black Bean Burger Lettuce Wraps, Big (Lower Fat) Greek Burgers, Mushroom Swiss Turkey Burgers, and Caprese Burgers... 


Photographs by Gayle Brooker

Food styling by Cynthia Groseclose
Recipes by Heather Garvin


Black Bean Burger Lettuce Wraps

(Makes 4) 



2 cups canned black beans, drained well (do not rinse)

2 ½ Tbsp. yellow onion, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. lime juice

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. cornmeal, divided

1 Tbsp. canola oil

Leafy green lettuce

Fresh salsa, either tomato or pineapple 


Directions: Mash black beans (using a potato masher or fork) in a large bowl, with onion, cilantro, cumin, lime juice, garlic powder, and chili powder. Fold in one tablespoon of cornmeal to bind. Form mixture into four patties. Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat patties lightly in remaining cornmeal then cook for three to four minutes per side until nicely browned and heated through. Place each burger in a lettuce leaf and top with salsa. Serve immediately. 


What's In it? 140 calories, 4g total fat (0.3g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 594mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 7g fiber, 2g sugar 


Big (Lower) Fat Greek Burgers

(Makes 4)



1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. dried dill

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups baby spinach leaves, firmly packed

1 lb. ground 93% lean beef or turkey breast 

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. salt

4 whole wheat pocket pitas

Red onion, sliced

Cucumber, chopped 


Directions: Stir yogurt and dill together in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Chop spinach and cook until wilted, stirring constantly for one to two minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer spinach to a kitchen towel and wring well to remove excess liquid. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add ground meat, garlic, pepper, and salt to the bowl, kneading until well-combined. Form into four patties. Spray grill grate and preheat to high. Cook burgers over direct heat for three to five minutes per side, or until desired doneness (three to four minutes per side for medium-rare beef; five minutes per side, or until inserted thermometer reads 165°F for turkey). Tuck each burger into a pita and top with yogurt sauce, red onion, and cucumber.


What's In it? 290 calories, 11g total fat (3g saturated fat), 65mg cholesterol, 839mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 4g fiber, 5g sugar 


Mushroom Swiss Turkey Burgers

(Makes 4) 



1 8 oz. package cremini mushrooms

3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced

1 ¼ lbs. ground turkey

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. salt

4 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

4 whole wheat buns


Directions: Brush mushrooms clean, discard stems, then finely chop. Preheat oil in a medium-sized skillet and cook mushrooms with garlic and shallot until soft, stirring occasionally for about two minutes. Let cool completely. Stir mushroom mixture in a large bowl with turkey, pepper, thyme, and salt. Form into four patties. Preheat grill to high heat and spray grate with cooking spray.  Grill burgers over direct heat for four to five minutes per side, or until thermometer inserted in center reads 165°F. Top with sliced Swiss and close lid. Cook for another minute, or until cheese is melted, then serve on bun. 


What's In it? 417 calories, 18g total fat (5g saturated fat), 91mg cholesterol, 485mg sodium, 27g carbohydates, 40g protein, 4g fiber, 5g sugar 


Caprese Burgers

(Makes 4) 



1 lb. ground chicken or 93% lean ground beef

3 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper

4 Tbsp. part-skim mozzarella, shredded

Thickly sliced vine-ripe tomatoes

4 whole wheat buns


Directions: Combine meat with basil, tomato paste, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Separate into four equal portions. Form half of each portion into a disk, making a small indentation in the center.  Press one tablespoon of cheese into indentation then top with remaining half of meat portion. Form into a patty. Spray grill grate with cooking spray and preheat to medium heat for chicken, high heat for beef. Cook chicken burgers over direct heat for about five minutes per side; for beef, about three minutes per side. Place tomato slices on grill over indirect heat.  Turn tomato slices after two minutes or until they start to blister. Close lid and cook for another two minutes. Transfer burgers to buns and top with blistered tomato. 


What's In it? 293 calories, 11g total fat (3g saturated fat), 69mg cholesterol, 479mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 4g fiber, 5g sugar