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14 December 2010
Maybe it's the 13 years I spent as a vegetarian, but I very rarely crave a burger, as many meat eaters I know say they do. But I still find them completely tantalizing when I do have one.
No one in their right mind would ever try to convince you that a turkey burger could ever pass for a hamburger (seriously, it can't be done, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something), but I've still found some great ways to make a turkey burger nearly as satisfying as the real deal. (Note: vegetarians can apply much of this to the veggie burger of your choice.)
Here's how I make a satisfying and delicious dinner with under 400 calories, and that's super easy to whip up...
Line up some fresh lettuce, tomatoes and basil (in this case, the last spoils of the season from our garden -- SoCal is blessed with a crazy long growing season).
Cook the turkey (or veggie) patty in a little spritz of heart-healthy walnut or almond oil, with a sprinkling of kosher salt and white pepper, which is more mild than black pepper.
Prep a pita bread or your chosen healthy burger vessel. I looooooove the Alternative Pita from Western Bagel, and if you can find them at your local market, you're lucky indeed. Each full-size pita contains only 110 calories (usually between 150 and 200), contains 8g of fiber and is only made with pronounceable ingredients. Same deal for Western Bagel's Alternative Bagel, which is an equal obsession of mine.
One of the things that makes this recipe so satisfying is the fresh mozzarella cheese that goes into it, and makes it like a little caprese burger. Trader Joe's makes individually wrapped fresh mozzarella sticks, which are the size of string cheese and are 80 calories a piece. You can also cut up a regular ball of fresh mozzarella, but just watch how much you're cutting off if you're trying to keep it as healthy as possible.
Once the turkey has cooked all the way through (always check, since salmonella is no fun), let the cheese and basil get nice and melty on top of it.
Throw it into your pita with some fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and voila! A healthy caprese burger!
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