Ironically, before I even had to stop eating gluten, I’d voluntarily cut back on bread. I figured that bread, buns, bagels, biscuits, and their kind were basically extra calories I didn’t need. I began experimenting with ways to enjoy hamburgers and cheeseburgers without the traditional bun and soon discovered that I’d been going about this whole burger thing wrong for years.
Burgers in no way need bread. In fact, they just might be better without it.
Over the many months since I began a whole new relationship with burgers, I’ve developed a few favorite ways to fix and serve them. Below are some of my favorites. Whether you have to eat gluten free for health reasons or choose to eat gluten free for health reasons, I know you’ll love bunless burgers as much as I do!
- Cut grilled or fried hamburgers into eighths and serve on top of tossed salad. Replacing a bun with vegetables is a nutritious and delicious swap. Any kind of dressing is delicious with a salad topped with “burger bites” but a mixture of Honey Mustard and Ranch is thisclose to Heaven.
- Next time you fry hamburgers, don’t stop at salt and pepper – add garlic powder… you’ll never make burgers without it again.
- Fry a couple of white or yellow corn tortillas and use them for “buns.” This approach is specially good if you use sliced avocado, red onion, salsa, and cilantro as toppings.
- Wrap burgers in leaf lettuce. Lettuce makes a great vehicle for carrying the burger from plate to mouth – while bringing very few unwelcome calories along with it.
- This one’s pretty obvious, but too good not to include. Season burgers with Montreal Steak seasoning and grill or fry to perfection – then top with a slice of your favorite cheese and sauteed onions and mushrooms. Add a little steak sauce (make sure it’s gluten free if you need it to be) and you’re set.
- This is one of those suggestions people either love or hate – top your burger with a fried egg. As long as Kosher salt and fresh black pepper are involved, I’m on board.
- Experiment with condiments and condiment combinations. You know as well as I do that mustard and ketchup are a beautiful combo, but you might not realize that a special kind of tasty magic happens when you combine ketchup and mayo. It’s outrageously good.
- There’s a familiar cast of characters that show up to a party when it’s time to top a burger – pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes… they’re all fantastic – just be sure to broaden your horizons every now and then and consider avocado, jalapenos, “hot pickles,” olives, and just about any “pickled” delicacy you can find in the condiment aisle. We’ve recently become obsessed with Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles. Find them and you’ll soon be as obsessed as we are.
- Before you form your burger patties, stir in chopped onion and chopped pickles into the meat, then fry as usual. These are extra delicious when you use the spicy bread and butter pickles, but you couldn’t go wrong with ANY pickles. Sometimes I incorporate the pickles, onions, and (every now and then) garlic into the meat. Other times, I fry my burgers, then briefly saute’ the toppings in the skillet, piling them onto the burger at the last minute.
- The picture below is one of my favorite ways to make burgers: Cheese-Stuffed Burgers. In this picture, I used Sharp Cheddar Cheese, but Swiss, Asiago, White Cheddar, and Mozzarella are all just as delicious. Simply fill the middle section of your burger with cheese and be sure it’s surrounded on all sides by meat. I usually simply take one or two slices of a favorite cheese (often deli-sliced), fold them into fourths and use that. When your fork cuts into the burger, cheese comes melting out, and… trust me… it’s a moment I live for.