The Sneakiest Way to Make a Burger Even Healthier

Promise, it'll still satisfy even the strongest burger cravings.

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At the end of an exhausting workday, nothing gives you more of an endorphin rush and gets rid of that hangry attitude than comfort food—and that means wolfing down a juicy burger loaded with condiments.

Sadly, burgers aren't known for their superb nutritional qualities. But before you go make yourself a side salad with the wilting lettuce you have in your fridge, listen up: You can sneak in a serving of produce by swapping some of the meat for vegetables, says Robert McCormick, the brand chef for True Food Kitchen, a restaurant chain that serves food that not only tastes good but is good for you.

"Vegetables bring delicious depth to a burger," he says. Just like your parents did with your meals as a kid, you can sneak nutritious veggies into a burger and without noticing a difference, flavor-wise.

Ready to build your healthy(ish) burger? Here's how to do it.

Swap some of the meat for a complementary veggie.

Start by replacing half the meat (or a quarter) in your patty with mushrooms. "They add a luxurious caramelized flavor," McCormick says.

Use different types, like cremini, oyster, and shiitake, and "sauté them with onions and garlic to release all that extra moisture and deepen their taste," he says. Then mix the mushrooms with ground meat to make patties.

When you're short on time, skip the prep and use pre-prepared patties, like Tyson Raised & Rooted blended burgers, which combine Angus beef with isolated pea protein for 19 grams of protein, 60 percent less saturated fat, and 40 percent fewer calories. (Wait, what exactly is in an alt-meat burger?)

Get grilling—no matter the season.

Once you've carefully shaped your patty into a flawless round (yes, plating matters!), head outdoors and pop that bad boy on the hot grill.

Too cold to step outside? Cook your burger in a grill pan like the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Enameled Cast Iron square grill pan (Buy It, $42,, which retains heat and distributes it evenly for a perfect sear. Plus, it's dishwasher safe.

Go crazy with the toppings.

After the patty has browned and the savory scent is making your mouth water, drop it on a bun and start piling on the good stuff. Remember: "Choose your topping thoughtfully—you want to excite your palate but not overwhelm it," McCormick says.

  • For brightness and bite, add a spoonful of shredded jicama that's been pickled in a brine with turmeric and jalapeños. "This tastes great on a plant-based burger," McCormick says.
  • For crunch, top the burger with shredded red and green cabbage that's been tossed with vinaigrette. "It balances the richness of the burger," he says.
  • And for a touch of creaminess, smear on homemade aioli that's been combined with smoked paprika or fermented black garlic, or try melted goat cheese sprinkled with chives.

Now for the best part: Taking that first ravenous bite.

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