Healthier, Homemade Burger & Kale Salad

I love burgers, but it’s hard to afford a $10 decent, juicy one from your local pub regularly.  Plus, everything I have read and know about eating out proves that the calorie count is exponentially higher.  When that craving for a burger came over me the other night, instead of opting to meet a friend for a greasy sandwich, I decided to head to Trader Joe’s and make my own.

In the meat section of the store, there were a variety of burger options, mainly differing the fat content.  For $1 more, I opted for the 96/4 burger, meaning that only 4% of the meat was fat.  Generally speaking, the fat content tends to be significantly higher out (In ‘N Out Burger has 60/40 for their famous burgers).  So I was already on the right track.

For the bun, I decided on the fresh Ciabatta rolls from Trader Joes, which I love.  They’re smaller in size, fresh and light, the perfect vessel for my burger.  Plus, they come in a pack of six buns, perfect for the rest of the week’s meals.

I also decided I needed a vegetable side.  I don’t have an oven/stove in my apartment (don’t ask, it gives me anxiety), so a salad seemed like the appropriate choice.  I had remembered a delicious Kale Caeser Salad at The Fat Radish a few months back and decided to replicate.  Kale has lots of nutrients and that wonderful crunch.  With a mixed variety of cherry tomatoes, I knew this would be delicious.

I got home and organized all of my ingredients.   I lightly seasoned both sides of the burger with salt, garlic powder, dried rosemary and a little bit of black pepper, while my George Foreman grill began to heat up.  I sprayed the grill with PAM (healthier alternative to butter or oil) and began to cook my burger.

In the meantime, I washed the Kale, placed it in a bowl.  I simply sliced the small tomatoes in half, placing them in the bowl with their bright yellow and red colors standing out against the dark green kale.  Finally, I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan (left over from Chicken Carbonara the other night) on top of the tomatoes and kale.  I waited to drizzle the healthier Caesar dressing I’ve had from Trader Joe’s since I didn’t want the kale to wilt while I put my burger together.

I flipped the burger to the other side after 5 minutes, and crumbled Goat Cheese (which I always keep in house) on top of the burger, to slightly melt into it as the other side cooked.  I sliced the ciabatta roll and placed it onto the grill to give a nice toasted crust to the inside of the bun.  When finally done, I placed the burger onto the bun, added some fresh basil leaves, and VOILA!  A fancy, pub style burger for a fraction of the price and calories, with all the flavor as your local pub.

Looks pretty good right?  It tasted even better.  I cracked open a Blue Moon Beer (one of my favs), poured the dressing on top of the Kale Salad and sat down to enjoy my wonderful meal.

This is so easy to do, and so worth it.  The next time you are craving a burger, try and make it yourself.  You’ll feel accomplished, healthier and completely satisfied!



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