The move from Long Beach, NY to Williamsburg, Brooklyn was a change for me – a move from flip flops to pointed toe equestrian boots, to wetsuit-tight jeans, to nobody being tan in August. I also found that every single corner deli in my Bedford neighborhood has amazing produce and a wide variety of healthy whole foods & ingredients.
I took on the idea of making the same foods that I used to make on the grill when I was in Long Beach using different, healthier ingredients and found that with a little creativity and nutritionally minded shopping, I ended up with much better tasting and MUCH healthier dishes.
One example is the Chicken Breast Burger, which eliminates the unhealthy elements of the traditional ground beef, or turkey burger.
Ground meat is typically made from “what is left” from the butchering process leaving a high fat/calorie content compared to more expensive cuts that are sold as steak and breast meat. Buying the actual chicken breast and grinding it yourself gives you roughly the same protein for 1/3 the calories and 1/10 of the fat.
Potato rolls are processed, high calorie, high carbohydrate breads that your body breaks down quickly and easily into simple sugar resulting in elevated insulin levels. This can in turn elevate your body’s ability to store the saturated fat between the buns. Opt for whole grain mini pitas instead.
Most plain or frozen burgers don’t taste that great on their own, so the first thing that most of us do is dive into the condiments before even thinking of taking a bite. You won’t need any condiments because this chicken burger has a great natural flavor.
4-6 oz. skinless chicken breast
1/2 small white onion
1 egg (white only)
2 Tbsp. non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Kale
1 whole grain mini pita
1 slice large tomato
Ground cayenne pepper
Meat seasoning (any)
1. Grind Chicken Breast (or go to work with a knife until ground – see photo to right)
2. Mix in a bowl with finely diced onions, one egg white, seasoning, and 1 tbsp of Greek yogurt (keeps meat from drying out).
3. Form meatball shaped patties and press onto a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray and press to 1/2″ thick…if the burger is too thin they turn into hockey pucks.
4. Grill to 3/4 heat setting
5. Place patties on the grill while still on the foil for 3-5 min until the ingredients bind together, then flip. Remove the foil and grill until visually cooked, then flip one more to sear the side that was on the foil.
6. Toss Kale, a few onion slices, and a dash of olive oil, then add to the grill with the halved mini pita for a toasted finish (the kale will go fast)
7. Dress with a thin slice of avocado, a spread of condiment of choice (Greek yogurt and a dash of deli mustard shown), grilled onion slices and a slice of tomato. Play jazz but avoid the cheese, not needed for this recipe.
A little effort goes a long way. Put a little TLC into the making of the patty, take a few extra minutes to choose quality ingredients and there will be no need to douse the sandwich with ketchup and cheese, or have to worry about grease pouring out of the back of the burger onto your shorts when you go for a bite.
Max Hazan is a new contributor to BuiltLean.com. He will be writing about many creative ways to make healthy foods taste better while keeping them low calorie. Please leave a comment to show Max some support as this is his first post! Bio information and more pics will be added soon.