A delicious, healthier take on the classic, wrapped up for little hands to eat without utensils. Stuffed with finely-grated vegetables, the burgers stay moist with an additional layer of homemade marinara. They can be a bit messy, but there’s something satisfying about getting your hands dirty with a burger – and not from the grease of the burger.
Sadly, there is no drool-worthy picture to share. We were too busy capturing Claire’s first bites of “solid” food.
Chicken (Vegetable) Parmesan Burgers
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 lb ground chicken (add 1 small grated and/or 1 small zucchini)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 loaf whole-wheat bread or four whole-wheat hamburger buns
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound baby spinach (about 8 cups)
- Preheat the broiler. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Toss the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan and the Italian seasoning on a plate; season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Form four burger patties from the ground chicken. (At this point, I added a small grated carrot and a small grated zucchini before forming the burgers.) Dip the burgers in the egg, then in the crumbs, turning to coat.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Place the bread cut-side up on a broiler pan; spread the bottom halves with sauce, then top with tofu, more sauce, the mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Broil until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and let wilt, about 1 minute. Place on top of the cheese and cover with the bread tops.