There’s a definite knack to making Mediterranean Beef Burgers by the Hairy Dieters, but once you master it you’ll never return to supermarket burgers again. Firstly, follow the recipe carefully and only use a small courgette otherwise your burger will be overpowered by too much of the green stuff! Secondly, after you’ve mixed the ingredients in a bowl, use a stick blender to blend everything together and then form your burgers with wet hands so nothing sticks.
Use good quality reduced-fat mozzarella rather than Cheddar or any other cheese for your topping, and don’t forget to include the sliced tomato, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar which really enhances the flavour. Finally, cook your burgers gently and slowly in a frying pan, griddle pan or, like me, on your gas barbecue. If you’ve got time, pop them in the fridge to ‘firm up’ before you cook them. If you follow these instructions you’ll be left with a juicy, tasty and, above all, much healthier burger to savour.
Feel free to omit the ciabatta roll to save on calories and replace it with home-made chips if you like. Get the ‘barbie’/ ‘BBQ’ on now!!
Recipe: Mediterranean beef burgers
Calories: 413 calories per serving
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: Approx 20 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 18 minutes
Ingredients: 1 small courgette, 1 medium onion, 400g lean beef steak mince, 2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed), 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste or tomato purée, 1 tsp sunﬂower oil, 4 ciabatta rolls, 100g reduced-fat light mozzarella (well drained and cut into 4 slices), 2 large ripe vine tomatoes, sliced fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar (for drizzling), ﬁne sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.63
Method: Trim the courgette and grate it coarsely on to a board, then tip it into a large mixing bowl. Peel the onion and grate it coarsely, then add this to the bowl with the courgette. Put the minced beef, garlic, oregano, basil and tomato paste or purée into the same bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Mix with clean hands until everything is thoroughly combined.
Divide the mince mixture into 4 evenly sized balls and ﬂatten each into a patty shape about 2cm thick. Brush the oil over a large nonstick frying pan and place over a low heat. Fry the burgers gently for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through, turning them halfway through the cooking time. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting.
While the burgers are cooking, cut the ciabatta rolls in half horizontally and place them on a grill pan, cut side up. Cook under the preheated grill until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and take the bread oﬀ the tray and put it to one side.
Place the hot burgers on the tray and top each one with a slice of mozzarella. Put the tray back under the grill for another 1–2 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted.
Put the bottom half of each roll on a plate and top with sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. Add a dribble of balsamic vinegar and some black pepper. Add a sizzling hot burger, top with the remaining bread and serve right away. Fantastic!