People LOVE good food, and juicy burgers are already famous worldwide. Regardless if they are made using beef, chicken, or even a veggie patty, we are craving burgers and eating them for our happiness.
However, suppose you are following a weight loss diet, simply having allergies to gluten or respecting the carb-free lifestyle. In that case, you can consider eating a burger without a bun.
When looking for a carb-free burger, there are so many healthy alternatives to choose from. Moreover, you can try these healthy recipes in the comfort of your home.
It is healthier, fun, and helps you control daily calorie intake. Discover why burgers are healthy and how you can replace the buns with some lighter options.
Advantages And Downsides Of Burgers
Let’s start with the nutritional value of burgers. So, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), foods such as meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and poultry contain vital nutrients to keep our bodies healthy and strong (1).
However, some of the foods mentioned above can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat once they are processed as fast-food. According to an Appetite study (2), consuming fast-food too often can be a potential risk factor for heart and diet.
So going back to our first question, eating a burger with a bun is considered a fast-food menu that increases significantly in calories, sodium, and fat. Yet, you can cut some calories and replace the carbs in bread with healthier, lighter choices. And yes, it is healthy to eat a burger without a bun.
Making a Burger A Bit Healthier
Burgers are, without any doubt, some protein powerhouses. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (3), they can easily be part of a diet plan, as the meat patties are full of good proteins.
Furthermore, you can uplift their health benefits by adding some nice toppings, such as tomatoes, onions, vegetables, or lettuce.
Rather than spreading ketchup or mayo, look for sugar-free ingredients that contain no saturated fat. Furthermore, to avoid the bad carbs, you can opt for whole-grain bread and avoid frozen burger buns.
If you want to avoid any health risks, the easiest way is to cook the burgers in a new way. Use a barbecue or a grill, without adding any more oil.
Are Plant-Based Burgers The Healthier Option?
Currently, fast-food chains and restaurants have tried to make the classical burger healthier by replacing the meat patty with a vegetarian one. These types of vegetarian burgers (4) are low in cholesterol, calories, as well as saturated fats.
The good news is that due to the vegetarian lifestyle hype, even some fast-foods introduced the plant-based burger in their menus.
However, being plant-based does not make them necessarily healthier. As long as you add sauces and other sugar-rich ingredients, they will still turn out bad for your health.
But what if we told you that you can still opt for the classic burger with a meat patty and not miss the whole tasty picnic anymore? You just need to replace the bun with some low-calorie options and still enjoy the fresh taste of meat.
How To Make A Burger Tasty Without Using the Classical Bun?
Have you ever thought about replacing the bread bun with vegetables and cut the extra carbs in your burger? Here are some tasty alternatives for the bun. Choose your favorite one and reinvent your home-made burgers:
- Portobello Mushrooms
These mushrooms are big enough to cover your burger. Furthermore, they are sturdy enough to hold all the ingredients inside together. If you are looking for a juicy alternative for the bun, the Portobello mushrooms are great.
Make sure you plop them first on the grill, then brush their surface with olive oil and herbs. The cooking time will last around 10 minutes.
Advantage: their color, as well as the shape, makes these mushrooms look like true buns. Check these recipes for inspiration.
- Fresh Lettuce
The internet is already full of fresh lettuce burger recipes. Consider replacing the bun with some lettuce and enjoy a fresh, healthy burger. You can use a variety of lettuce, but I mostly recommend you the romaine because it is more sturdy and holds all the ingredients inside.
Tip: You can wrap the burger into larger lettuce leaves, and you will get a nice pocket of meat and vegetables.
Personal opinion: I mostly like using lettuce for salmon burgers rather than beef ones.
Most of the classic burgers contain tomatoes already, so why not turn these vegetables into a nice, healthy bun? Just pick a big plump tomato and slice it. Take the burger and place it in between the two tomato halves.
Tip: I recommend you scoop out the seeds. This way, the whole process will be less messy. Also, avoid the supermarket tomatoes, and look for tastier ones, like the local farmers’ tomatoes. The flavor is much more prominent.
Eggplant is a tasty alternative to a burger bun. You can either grill or roast the eggplant slices to obtain that crispy interior, with the light and airy inside. The texture should be like a bun, but so much richer in nutrients and vitamins.
Eggplant burgers are perfect for those of you who are following a gluten-free diet, a keto, and whole vegan meals. I am in love with eggplants on the grill.
For getting the best eggplant burger, look for those bigger vegetables that can be nicely sliced and grilled, so they can be the perfect substitute for the bun.
Bonus: researches have shown that consuming eggplants regularly is linked to a decrease in the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hair loss (5). So you will not only enjoy a delicious burger but will absorb the health benefits of eggplants.
- Sweet Potatoes
Replace the classic bun with sweet potatoes and lower the carbs intake. Sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamins and healthy carbs. Just cut the potatoes in ½ inch slices, and flat them on a baking sheet.
Heat the oven at 400°F and leave the sweet potatoes no more than half an hour. There are lots of recipes to inspire you to use sweet potatoes.
Personal opinion: This is actually one of my favorite bun replacements because you also get the fries experience at each bite.
Cauliflower is a “star ingredient” nowadays. Since you can use it for making healthy pizza, it is clear as day, you can also use it for low-carb burgers, more precisely cauliflower burger buns.
Just slice the cauliflower so they can imitate a burger bun, then place the meat and the other ingredients between the 2 slices.
- Zucchini Buns
Zucchini is an incredibly low in calories vegetable, as well as a delicious replacement for the burger bun.
Once it is baked, zucchini turns into a crunchy burger bun. Suppose you are on a diet and constantly check your weight and calories. In that case, you should know that zucchini is full of fibers and antioxidants.
Eating a burger without a bun is a healthier, lighter option. As long as you know how to replace the bun with the right vegetables, the result will be a delicious burger.