Happy Memorial Day Weekend! It’s finally here! The warmer weather. Longer days. Beautiful nights. BBQ’s. And….delicious BBQ food: burgers, hot dogs, potato salad! All those foods you love during barbecue season can be counterproductive to your health, wellness and weight loss efforts. And, if you’re not careful, you can end up packing on a few extra pounds over Memorial Day weekend alone!

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. I have 6 Amazing, Bikini-Friendly burger recipes you can make this weekend.  Even if you never, ever plan on wearing a bikini or stepping foot on the beach this summer, you’ll want to add these recipes to your summer BBQ burger repertoire, because they’re delicious, good for you and your waist line. And everyone will love them. They’re a nice change from plain, old boring burgers and you’ll never have to let anyone know these are actually good for them!

These recipes are from an old Women’s Health magazine article I’ve had for years and adapted to make even healthier.  I’ve made each of these burgers and they are incredible. And always a hit with everyone. And, there are some vegetarian burgers recipes here that you can easily adapt to make them completely vegan, too. To make the vegetarian burgers vegan, omit the cheese (you can use vegan cheese, instead, if desired) and substitute the eggs or butter in those recipes with your favorite plant-based alternatives. We all know too much meat is never a good idea, so it’s good to give your body rest and try something different, but just as satisfying and delicious. These options are great if you’re looking to cut back on meat or entertaining guests who don’t eat animal products. If you haven’t a clue what to eat or serve, you’ve got some terrific choices to keep everyone happy and healthy!

Gotta love that! 

So, here you go! 6 Amazing, Bikini-Friendly Burger Recipes! 

TURKEY GORGONZOLA BURGERS
1 lb lean ground turkey
3 oz Gorgonzola cheese, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp olive oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbsp barbecue sauce
Shredded cabbage (optional)

1. Preheat grill to medium. Combine first five ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Lightly mix together and form into 6 patties. Brush them with oil.

2. Grill burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temp is 165°F. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns; garnish with barbecue sauce and cabbage, if desired.

Makes 6 servings . Per serving: 293 cal, 11 g fat (4 g sat), 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 545 mg sodium, 26 g protein

BLACK BEAN OAT BURGERS
1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
1/2 cup plain rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup baby spinach

1. Preheat grill to medium. Place half the beans in a food processor or blender along with mushrooms, oats, garlic, egg, cumin, and pepper. Process until well mixed. Add remaining beans and pulse the machine until they’re combined into the mixture. Form into 6 patties and coat each with olive oil.

2. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve bean burgers on toasted buns and top with mustard, tomato, and spinach.

Makes 6 servings . Per serving: 283 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 45 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 300 mg sodium, 13 g protein

 
GARDEN CHICKEN BURGER WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 medium zucchini, peeled
1 lb lean ground chicken breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
6 flatbreads or naan
1 cup arugula or baby spinach

1. Warm 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add coconut sugar and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in mint and remove from heat.

2. Preheat grill to medium. Using a box grater or mandoline, shred carrot and zucchini, then chop into small pieces. In a large bowl, lightly mix shredded vegetables, ground chicken, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, egg, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 6 patties and brush with remaining oil.

3. Place burgers on grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Meanwhile, toast bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side.

4. Line flatbreads with arugula, add burgers, and top with strawberry sauce, then fold bread over burgers.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 387 cal, 8 g fat (2 g sat), 54 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 497 mg sodium, 27 g protein

STUFFED PORTOBELLO BURGERS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
1 Tbsp butter
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp raw or coconut sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 portobello mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
3 oz roasted red peppers
4 oz sliced low-fat mozzarella
1 loaf focaccia bread

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in sugar and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium. Remove stems from mushrooms, brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place eggplant slices on grill, cook for 2 minutes per side, then set them aside. Add mushrooms to grill, stem sides down, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Flip mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes.

4. Top 4 mushrooms with red peppers and mozzarella, then cover each with a remaining mushroom, stem side down. (Stem sides should be facing each other.) Cook for 2 minutes or until cheese has melted; set aside.

5. Meanwhile, slice focaccia bread in half lengthwise down the side, then slice each half into 4 squares. Toast squares on grill, 2 minutes per side.

6. Place each stuffed mushroom on a focaccia square; top with onions, eggplant, and focaccia square.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 536 cal, 14 g fat (5 g sat), 81 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 909 mg sodium, 26 g protein.

LENTIL QUINOA BURGERS WITH SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can (19 oz) lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 gloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
1/3 cup cilantro
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tsp olive oil
6 100% whole-grain buns

1. In a saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes. Let quinoa cool.

2. In a bowl, combine half the lentils, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cumin, cilantro, lemon juice, cooked quinoa, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in a food processor or blender; process until well combined. Add remaining lentils and walnuts; pulse until they’re incorporated. Form into 6 patties.

3. Preheat grill to medium. Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add sliced mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in wine and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Brush burgers with oil and cook for 4 minutes per side. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns and top with sauteed mushrooms.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 445 cal, 15 g fat (3 g sat), 62 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 305 mg sodium, 19 g protein

 
ASIAN SALMON SLIDERS WITH CITRUS YOGURT SAUCE
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lime
Juice of half an orange
1 tsp honey
1 lb skinless, boneless, wild-caught salmon
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 piece ginger (1 inch), chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
6 small 100% whole-grain pitas

1. Combine yogurt, lime juice, orange juice, and honey; set aside.

2. Preheat grill to medium. Wash salmon and pat dry. Chop half the fish and place in food processor along with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Process into a pasty puree.

3. Chop remaining salmon and add to puree along with bread crumbs and cilantro. Pulse until combined. Form into 12 small patties and brush with oil.

4. Grill 4 minutes per side. Stuff pitas with burgers and yogurt sauce.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 292 cal, 11 g fat (2 g sat), 27 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 446 mg sodium, 23 g protein

So there you have it! 6 Amazing, Bikini-Friendly Burger Recipes.

What makes these burgers a better choice?  They’re creative and fun and loaded with fresh and real ingredients your body can actually use, which will help your health and weight loss efforts. A word to the wise, tho’.  You don’t want to be eating burgers all the time, including these! And all those buns and the bread? You don’t want to be eating too much of that stuff either. These burgers stand alone pretty well, so you can totally omit the bread if you want or substitute with gluten-free bread, but do try to come up with some other options to toss on the grill this summer: like grilled chicken or fresh wild caught salmon and other fish. Make those kinds of foods your choices for every day summer BBQ meals. And don’t forget your veggies. Big platters of gorgeous grilled veggies like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, red, orange and yellow peppers, onions are so appealing and delicious. You toss in some fresh pineapple for a healthy, touch of sweetness. Or make kebabs with chicken or shrimp. Even marinated tofu or tempeh. Just thread your choice of protein on wooden or metal skewers and alternate with chunks of your favorite raw veggies and put them right on the grill. Brush with marinade you mix together yourself with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and fresh herbs and spices and they’re ready in just a few minutes. You can even grill fresh corn, too, right in the husk. So easy. Pay attention to your side dishes or you’ll be undoing your efforts to keep your meals healthy and your waist-line happy, even if you’re having healthier burgers. Focus on lots of fresh veggies, big, green tossed salads with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing and side dishes made with hearty, healthy whole grains and less on the mayo drenched, traditional BBQ favorites, like potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw.

Your body, mind, spirit and your guests will thank you!

Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Yours in happiness, health and success,

Looking for an adult beverage to enjoy with your burger? Try my Better Margarita!  Click the photo for the recipe.