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Top This: A Burger Contest

A few months ago we had an unseasonably warm Sunday. It was the sort of spring day when I open as many windows as possible in hopes of airing out the stale winter air that inhabits the house from fall through winter.

By midafternoon, the beloved scent of barbeque wafted through the open windows, tickled my nose and ignited my appetite. With simply a hot grill, some meat and veggies, my neighbors had officially kicked off grilling season.


Read on to find out how you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card for your next homemade hamburger dinner.

One of many reasons I’m an ardent fan of grilling is because you can make a fuss-free meal and it doesn’t have to be boring or bland. Take the hamburger for example. Over the years, my husband and I have experimented with lots of different recipes in hopes of creating the best burger ever.

During this quest for perfection, we’ve tried (and enjoyed) lamb, grass-fed beef, portobello mushrooms, turkey and black bean patties. But where we’re able to truly elevate our burger is in our choice of topping. Roasted red peppers. Goat cheese. Savory and sweet relishes. Bacon. Chipotle-spiked mayo.

Surely the world’s perfect burger must include some of these. At my house, we haven’t discovered the ultimate burger topping but we have enjoyed the search and are looking forward to another grilling season of tasting our way through more potential winners.

If you too are on a quest to build a better burger, here are a few of our favorite recipes to inspire you.

Wow your dinner companions with beef burgers topped with cherry-spiked mustard, sweet grilled onions and tangy blue cheese.

Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers offer a delicious family-friendly option without the meat.

Fans of cheese and bacon step forward and try these hearty and flavorful Gorgonzola and Smoky Bacon Burgers.

Raita, a cool cucumber and yogurt sauce, makes an ideal complement to the spicy patties in this lamb burger recipe.

The touch of finely chopped habanero pepper may be just the thing to make Turkey Burgers with Roasted Pepper and Avocado Salsa a star at your table.

Enjoy the fresh flavor of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich straight from the grill with this burger version.

Do you shake up the standard condiment rundown? Share your best-dressed burger in the comments below by June 30, 2012 and you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card. Update: The contest is over. Thank you to all who participated.  

Let the grilling begin!

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Marcy says …

My favorite burger combination so far this summer is: - grass-fed beef burger - Whole Foods Brioche bulkie roll bun (toasted on grill) - sliced roasted eggplant (lightly brushed with olive oil, grilled or oven roasted) - sliced grilled onions (full-circle slices placed directly on grill) Delicious!

Kathleen Conner says …

I love lots of carmelised onions, a thick chunk of cheddar cheese, 2 slices of bacon, a very thin slice of tomato, and a roasted bun slathered with mayo. =_

Sandra says …

Armenian style: cumin, chopped onions, parsley all mixed into raw meat before cooking on the stove or grill.

Arthur says …

I love raw onions on top of the burger...it's refreshing.

Cat Meurn says …

Grass fed beef burgers with mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper mixed into the ground beef prior to cooking, then bun-less topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms, goat cheese (cheve), sliced avocado and Amy's Spicy BBQ sauce drizzled on top. Delicious!

angie lilly says …

I love my veggie burgers, the ones that are supposed to taste like hamburgers, with ketchup, mustard, and dill pickle slices. Nothing too fancy. I also love to make marinated grilled portobella cap burgers topped with smoked provolone cheese. Yummers!

Megan W says …

In my humble opinion :), there is nothing better than a turkey burger topped with honeyed goat cheese, a few lightly sauteed red onion rings and a slice of homegrown beefsteak tomato all wrapped up in a few crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce.

Jyoti says …

Yummy 3 bean lentil and beet carrot burger, served with cheesy apple crunch and beet carrot slaw is our masterpiece veggie burger. In our house we like to keep it simple.   Simple ! Really ... Read on...Designed with ingredients from whole foods, every layer of the bite offers soul satisfying complimentary flavors. Simple? But definetly Delish!! The condiment is a creamy yummy combo of Boursin cheese , oikos yogurt chopped dill , chopped green apples and green chillies. Lather a small dollop of that on both sides of a home made fresh dill bun, or on Iggy's onion foccacio , even a whole wheat English muffin will do just as well.  The burger itself is a 3 bean & lentil base with  beets and  carrots  flavored with home roasted burger spice mix ! serve it with sweet potato baked fries. The burger lays on Boston bib lettuce and gets topped with beet carrot slaw mixed  in with chessy apple crunch relish and havarti cheese .  Celebrate and Enjoy! Happy 4th to all.

Jyoti says …

Recipe for Yummy 3 bean lentil and beet carrot burger, served with cheesy apple crunch Burger Mash base: Take 1/2 cup of red kidney beans, black beans, white cannellini beans, and mash all. To this add 1/2 cup of boiled and partly mashed French green lentils and red lentils. Add 1/2 cup of grated beet root and 1 shredded carrot.  A   boiled  and mashed medium sized potato,1 broiled mashed sweet potato follow suit. For seasoning in 3 tbsps of olive oil saute 1" of chopped ginger  , 4 cloves of chopped garlic , 2 chopped jalapeño chilli and add to mash mix above.  For the finale toss  add 3 tsp of roasted burger spice, 2 tsp of coriander powder,1/2 tsp of Mediterranean  salt ( for burger spice see recipe below) adjust salt. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs & 2tblspn. Mix all the ingredient(s) Make burgers/ sliders and grill or pan cook,with little oil till golden brown in color. Cheesy apple crunch: 2 tbsp of Oikos Greek yogurt ,1/2 disc of Boursin herb cheese,1/2 green finely chopped apple apple 1 tsp fine chopped dill HOME MADE SPICE FOR BURGER 2 tspn cumin seeds,2tspn coriander seeds,1tsp of caraway seeds,( black cumin ,shah jeera is available in Indian grocery stores) 1 tspn black pepper , 2 pods of green cardamom ,2 cloves 1" cinnamon stick 1 dry bay leaf. Dry roast all the ingredients in a non stick pan on slow fire 7 to 8 minutes, It is important to roast on slow fire.Cool and grind in a coffee grinder,seive the mixture. Add 3 tsps to the burger base. Store the remainder in air tight container for next batch.

hafencity says …

sweet jesus, now im hungry. In my opinion the burger is best served with cheedar... yumy!