For years, the competition was one-sided: There were beef burgers, and there was everything else. We didn't look to the turkey burgers of the world -- much less their seafood and vegetarian counterparts -- and expect culinary greatness. But this summer, unconventional burgers are coming into their own, and they're poised to take on the traditional favorite.
What separates delicious alternative burgers from unexciting ones are a few simple tricks in the kitchen. To capture that essential charred richness, for example, one of the recipes here uses grilled eggplant to replace some of the beef. In another, the addition of smoked fish ups the appeal of a salmon burger severalfold. And with just the right cooking time, a turkey burger pulls off a seared finish and a still-juicy interior.
Toppings, whether they include vibrant marinated red onion or a homemade special sauce, get the same careful consideration. So, too, does composition: Take the decadent double-portobello burger, made with two caps and a molten layer of cheese between them.
Even with flavorful add-ons, many of these burgers happen to be lower in calories and saturated fat than beef patties. They sport whole-wheat buns for added fiber and pop with fresh produce. Looks like we have a winner, or several.
Recipes to Try