High-Protein Burgers That Aren't Beef
The Importance of Protein
Protein is a major part of a healthy diet, especially if you hit the gym regularly. Not only does protein repair muscles after a workout, it also rebuilds those muscles fibers, leading to stronger, more defined muscles. Eating meat probably isn't going to kill you, but you probably don't want a beef burger every. single. day. Mix it up with these delicious high-protein burger recipes made with lean protein options like quinoa, salmon, and bison.
Keep in mind that those ground beef burgers are so juicy partly because of their fat content. So for burgers made from low-fat alternatives like ground chicken, you'll want to add a little fat (the good kind!) back in with condiments like creamy vegan mayo, says chef Eric LeVine of New Jersey restaurants Paragon Tap & Table and Morris Tap & Grill. On the other hand, a salmon burger will stay moist and flavorful without any help, thanks to salmon's healthy monounsaturated fats.
Lentil Curry Burger
Lentils are relatively low on the glycemic index, so you'll avoid a carb-induced blood sugar spike. The curry flavor will trick people into thinking you spent hours in the kitchen.
Get the recipe: Lentil Curry Burger
Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa
One of these juicy salmon burgers provides about half your recommended protein for the day, plus lots of omega-3 fats. Avocado salsa made with poblano pepper and green onion ups those healthy fats even more.
Get the recipe: Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa
Thai Chicken Burgers
You already know that grilled chicken breast is basically the no-brainer go-to option for lean protein, so these Thai Chicken Burgers just kick that healthy choice up a notch. Ground chicken is enhanced with jalapeño, garlic, fresh ginger, and more for a flavorful patty. But it's really the homemade slaw tossed with peanut butter dressing that'll make your mouth water.
Get the recipe: Thai Chicken Burgers
Vegan BBQ Tofu Burger
LeVine, who was previously a vegan for many years, says that nonvegans order his restaurant's vegan veggie burger all the time (it's made with black and white beans, red pepper, mushrooms, and even steel-cut oats). (Avoid these tofu cooking mistakes when you're whipping up your own.)
Get the recipe: Vegan BBQ Tofu Burger
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burger
This recipe combines two protein- and fiber-rich winners: sweet potato and black beans. When you look at the ingredient list (or the burger components in the mixing bowl) it may seem a little intimidating, but it's all stuff you already have in your kitchen—swear. Regardless, the cilantro-lime sour cream makes any prep work well worth it.
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burger
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Burgers
The cheesy flavor of these plant-based burgers comes from nutritional yeast. (In case you're wondering: WTF Is Nutritional Yeast and Why Should I Be Eating It?) You'll become a convert as soon as you try these healthy high-protein burgers.
Get the recipe: Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Burgers
Greek Lamb Burger with Tzatziki, Tapenade, and Feta
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better flavor pairing than lamb and tzatziki—it's a classic Greek cooking combo for a reason. It's true that 3 ounces of lamb will be a little fattier than say, a veggie burger (duh). But that means you'll get one seriously juicy burger and 21 grams of satisfying protein. (If you love these flavors, also try: 50 Healthy Mediterranean Diet Recipes.)
Get the recipe: Greek Lamb Burger with Tzatziki, Tapenade, and Feta
Pomegranate Feta Bison Burger
Bison offers the same familiar taste of a beef burger, but for fewer calories and less fat. Plus a 3-oz. bison burger offers up 22 grams of muscle-building protein.
Get the recipe: Pomegranate Feta Bison Burger
This recipe by The Village Cook is the green smoothie of burgers—with just spinach and egg whites as the base, it’s seriously healthy, and no one will believe it actually tastes so good. But point out the cheese, garlic, and onions, and no one can argue that that flavor combination doesn’t go together (or just give them a bite to prove them wrong!).
Get the recipe: High-Protein Spinach Burger