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Spicy Tuna Burgers with Ginger

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© 2011 Helana Brigman
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I’m not what you would call a “burger person.”

I rarely, and I really do mean rarely, ever eat burgers with french fries and cheese.  It’s just not the kind of food I crave.  Perhaps it has something to do with the red meat and buns and mayo trifecta that just never gets me very excited.  I look at a traditional American burger and think,

“Are you really gonna eat that? If you put that in your body, I promise you’ll be feeling lethargic all day.”

And it’s true–regular burgers are higher in fat than ever, salty, and not that good for you (don’t even get me started on the debate between grass and grain fed cows!).

The point is, regular burgers are tiresome, boring, and always require some astronomic amount of condiment renovations.

Today, I suggest a renovation that comes from within the burger itself.  A burger that’s lean, healthy, and richly flavorful: spicy tuna burgers infused with freshly peeled ginger and spicy wasabi.  A burger that hints at the flavors of asian cooking, but blackened on an American grill.  Now that’s a burger I can get behind.

Spicy Tuna Burgers with Ginger

This recipe was inspired by the fresh tuna burgers in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book My Father’s Daughter.  Although some ingredients take a queue from her ingredients list (and thus, I nod to her book here), I suggest a more flavorful burger with some exciting adaptations.


* 2 tablespoons peeled ginger, chopped fine

* 1 pound high quality tuna (I use yellowfin tuna, often referred to as “sashimi” tuna)

* 2 teaspoons wasabi powder or wasabi-infused dressing

* 4 teaspoons Djon Mustard

* 2 teaspoons water

* 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

* 2 tablespoons walnut-infused olive oil (like the one from Fioré), can substitute regular olive oil

* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

* 4 buns, whole grain bakery style

* tomato, avocado, argula, and red onion, to garnish

1.) Prep ingredients: peel and cut ginger.

2.) Pat dry 1 lb fresh yellowfin tuna.

3.) Cut tuna into 1-inch cubes and add to a food processor.  Combine with wasabi, djon mustard, water, salt and pepper, garlic, walnut olive oil, and ginger.

4.) Process to the point where ingredients are just barely combined.  You want the burgers to have texture, so you should still be able to find small pieces of tuna chunks throughout.  If all of the ingredients “don’t combine fully,” then scrape down the food processing bowl and mix slightly with a flattened spatula.

5.) Shape mixture into 4 burgers and refrigerate covered overnight.  You can serve the burgers after a couple of hours, but the flavors are best when they’ve been allowed to sit overnight.

6.) Right before cooking, rub down burgers with 1 tablespoon walnut-infused olive oil.  Cook on a gas or charcoal grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.  For me, this step occurs when both sides are lightly blackened and the tuna is just barely cooked all the way through.  It’s best to remove the burgers right at the beginning of doneness as sashimi tuna tends to become extra fishy when overcooked, so be wary of overcooking.

7.) Serve on whole wheat buns with avocado, tomato, arugula or spinach, and any other desired topping.  Enjoy! Serves 4.

Nutrition facts:

327 Calories Per Burger w/Whole Wheat Bun (add extra for avocado, mayo, and other dressings)

Teriyaki burger

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Spicy Tuna Burgers with Ginger, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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  1. By Homemade Is Best #15 – Tuna on July 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    […] recipe, also from Helana’s blog, is an alternative to a regular old hamburger, it’s the Spicy Tuna Burger. This recipe was inspired by the book that we talked about on show #10, My Father’s Daughter […]

  2. […] a sucker for ahi tuna (as seen here, here, and here).  I can’t think of a fish that tastes better, is cleaner, and as beautiful as […]

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