Burgers are a North American classic.
Typically made with ground beef and a few ingredients for flavouring, burgers are a spring, summer and early fall staple.
Over the years, home cooks and chefs alike have been tinkering with the classic burger recipe to bring them to the next level. Not that there’s anything wrong with the classic hamburger by the wat 🙂
But why not experiment a bit? I think it’s time to give your hamburger a taste and nutritional makeover by adding some unexpected ingredients like whole grains, and unique toppings instead of mustard, relish and ketchup.
Beefing up the protein
These burgers offer three different sources of protein: ground beef, quinoa and hummus.
Beef, like all animal protein, has the greatest concentrated source of essential amino acids. Some plants foods do too but the question is, do they supply them in optimal amounts?
You’ll get more protein per serving and per calories, along with a bunch of other essential vitamins and minerals from animal protein.
What’s great about adding a pseudo-grain like quinoa to the ground beef is that quinoa is a great source of protein compared to other grains, so it’s a great way to sneak in extra protein and amino acids.
Like the quinoa, legumes, which are technically called “pulses”, like chickpeas also have some protein but not enough to be a source on its own.
By adding hummus as a dressing, you’ll get great flavour and a creaminess that takes this burger to the next level as they say, AND the amino acid content in the beef will top up the amino acids in the chickpeas – win-win.
Most likely you’ve never considered adding hummus or other bean spreads on your burger before, or maybe you have!
Something like hummus offers a great ‘mouth feel’ or creaminess which helping to bump the fiber content of the burger, along with the quinoa.
Made from chickpeas, hummus is a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and phytonutrients.
Replacing lettuce with spinach rounds out the nutritional profile as an excellent source of brain-loving lutein and zeaxanthin.
As a green leafy vegetable, spinach has a unique sugar/carbohydrate called sulfoquinovose that specifically feeds and promotes a good type of gut bacteria – Gut Bacteria And Leafy Greens.
When has medicine ever tasted so good? 🙂
Beef and Quinoa Power Burgers
- 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1 lb/454 g lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 buns whole-grain hamburger buns, split and toasted
- 1/4 cup hummus
- 4 large tomatoes
- 2 cups packed baby spinach, or tender watercress sprigs
In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl.
In food processor, combine cooled quinoa, beef, green onions, cumin and salt; pulse until blended. Form into four, 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick patties.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook fro 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Spread top halves of buns with hummus. Transfer patties to bottom halves and top with sliced tomato and spinach. Cover with top halves, pressing down gently.
- Substitute lean ground turkey or lean ground pork for the beef
The Complete Leaky Gut Health & Diet Book available at Chapters and Indigo in Canada, and Barnes & Noble in the US. Of course, you can also order it on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com today!!
Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on digestive, gut, mental health. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.