Ultimate Greek Burger

Serve these Ultimate Greek Burgers at your next barbecue. Highlighting fresh Greek-inspired flavors, this recipe will kick your burger game up a notch.

Greek Burger on a toasted bun with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad

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How these Ultimate Greek Burgers will step your burger game up a notch

There is nothing better than a juicy burger right off the grill. A beef patty is a classic, but after hosting and attending so many barbecues, it’s time to switch things up! Don’t worry, we are keeping the beef patty, but enhancing it with Greek-inspired flavors. As a chef, I love Mediterranean flavors and as a dietitian, I love the health benefits that come along with following a Mediterranean style diet.

bite taken out of a Greek burger

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean-style eating pattern encompasses a wide variety of foods and flavors from the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. While the cuisines of each country differ slightly, they all have a few things in common. To build a healthy Mediterranean plate, start with fresh vegetables and fruits, add lean protein and whole grains, and enhance with dairy and healthy fats.

Why lean beef is included in the Mediterranean Diet

The eating pattern allows a wide variety of proteins (including fresh lean beef, pork, poultry, and fish) that support heart health. Lean beef contains important nutrients, like protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins that your body needs.

What does “lean beef” mean?

Beef can only be claimed as “lean” if the cut of beef is less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100-gram serving.

overhead image of greek burger topped with tzatziki sauce and tomatoes

What’s different about this Greek Burger?

Ripe summer produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs are essential to Greek cooking. Flavors are incorporated within the lean beef as well as adding layers of additional flavors and textures as you build the burger.

Why I love this recipe

Can’t go wrong with a delicious burger, am I right? I love the fact the burger is stuffed with spinach and onion, along with plenty of seasonings. I’m not a fan of raw onion on top of my burger (caramelized onions – that’s a different story!), so the addition of them minced within the burger adds a subtle flavor vs. overpowering. The addition of the added veggies helps keep the lean burger moist and juice.

I kind of kept traditional burger toppings on here. The tomato salad adds a tanginess while the tzatziki adds a cooling creamy effect. I never said this wasn’t going to be a messy eating kind of burger!

Chef’s Tips

  • Invest in a digital thermometer. DO NOT cut open the burgers to check their doneness. This will release all their juices leaving you with a dry burger.
  • Take the time to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers. This will prevent your tzatziki sauce from being watery.
  • Oil your grill grates. Dip a bunched-up paper towel into a high-heat cooking oil (such as canola oil or olive oil). Be careful not to saturate the paper towel. You want enough oil on it to coat the grill grate, but you don’t want it dripping everywhere. Using an oven mitt and tongs, carefully wipe the paper down on the grill grate.

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Greek Burger on a toasted bun with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad

Ultimate Greek Burger

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

Serve these Ultimate Greek Burgers at your next barbecue. Highlighting fresh Greek-inspired flavors, this recipe will kick your burger game up a notch.


Ingredients

For the tomato salad:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the tzatziki sauce:
1 English cucumber
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt

For the burgers:
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
½ small red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 hamburger buns


Instructions

For the tomato salad:

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the tzatziki sauce:

  1. Using a cheese grater, grate the English cucumber. Using a thin dish towel or paper towels, press out any excess liquid. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt. Fold in the cucumber.

For the burgers:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grease grill grates.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, spinach, onion, garlic, dill, feta, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Do not overwork the meat mixture. Form into 4 beef patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for approximately 4-6 minutes then flip over and grill another 4-6 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F.
  4. Add burgers to a bun and top with tzatziki sauce and tomato salad.

Notes

  • Invest in a digital thermometer. DO NOT cut open the burgers to check their doneness. This will release all their juices leaving you with a dry burger.
  • Take the time to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers. This will prevent your tzatziki sauce from being watery.
  • Oil your grill grates. Dip a bunched up paper towel into a high-heat cooking oil (such as canola oil or olive oil). Be careful not to saturate the paper towel. You want enough oil on it to coat the grill grate, but you don’t want it dripping everywhere. Using an oven mitt and tongs, carefully wipe the paper down on the grill grate.

Keywords: burger, Greek recipe, Greek burger, beef

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FAQ

How do I know when the burgers are done?

See the chef tip above. Invest in a digital thermometer. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F.

What can I serve these burgers with?

You can’t go wrong with serving fries with these Ultimate Greek Burgers! If at a BBQ other ideas can be veggie sticks, seasonal fruit, like watermelon or grilled pineapple, potato salad, or a simple mixed green salad.

How else can I use lean ground beef?

Ways to repurpose this Greek burger

  • Greek burger salad. Add the tomato salad and other veggies you have on hand, a heated patty, quinoa (or a different whole grain), and add the tzatziki as a salad dressing.
  • Greek pita. Ran out of burger buns? No problem. Crumble up a burger and stuff it in a pita with the tomato salad and tzatziki sauce.

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Resources:

O’Connor LE, et al. A Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat has cardiometabolic benefits for adults who are overweight or obese in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2018, nqy075.
https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy075/5036105

Leidy HJ,et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:1320S-9S

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for
Standard Reference Legacy Release, April 2018. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

Green Bean Potato Salad

Gearing up for picnics and barbecues this summer? Add this Green Bean Potato Salad to the menu.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

One of my jobs during summers at college, I was working at this outdoor catering company, where we prepared food on-site at graduation parties, barbecues, picnics, etc. When working in catering, you have to prepare recipes in large quantities to feed the masses. One of my least favorite things to prepare is the potato salad.

Green Bean Potato Salad in a wooden bowl

Traditional potato salad is dressed with mayonnaise. That is one condiment that I just never enjoyed. Now, just imagine preparing potato salad for 100+ people at one time. The amount of mayo I had to scoop daily was unreal.

Since I don’t personally enjoy mayonnaise, I wanted to create a non-mayo based dressing for potato salad with an added twist by adding green beans and corn. Don’t be afraid to switch up a classic and bring something new to the table, like this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Why use red bliss potatoes for this Green Bean Potato Salad

Red potatoes have smooth thin skin. Its skin is edible, so it’s not necessary to peel or remove it after cooking. Like many waxy varieties, red potatoes are low in starch and won’t produce a light, fluffy texture. They are best used for boiling and roasting and work well in dishes that would benefit from a potato that holds its shape, even when sliced and diced, like for this Green Bean Potato Salad.

Health benefits of potatoes

Poor potatoes have a bad reputation in some people’s eyes. “Oh, I can’t eat potatoes because they are too starchy” Yes, potatoes are starchy because they are carbohydrates and carbohydrates give us energy. Also, there are many nutritional benefits that potatoes provide our bodies. They are high in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

Culinary term: blanching & shocking

The word blanch refers to a cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in steam or boiling water, usually followed by shocking, which is rapidly cooling the food in an ice bath or with cold air.

When you blanch food for the right amount of time it helps maintain flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value. No one wants limp and soggy green beans.

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green bean potato salad in a wooden bowl

Green Bean Potato Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

1 pound red bliss potatoes
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 pound French green beans, cut in half
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. In a large pot add potatoes. Fill with water and bring to a boil and season with salt. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
  2. Using tongs, carefully remove the potatoes and let cool. Add corn to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, or until corn is tender.
  3. Using tongs, carefully remove the corn and let cool. Add the string beans to the boiling water. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Drain green beans and immediately put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When cooled drain green beans and let dry. 
  4. When potatoes are cooled, dice into cubes. Cut corn off the cob. (see notes below for a tip to do this easily)
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Add potatoes, corn, and green beans. Toss to coat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Let the potato salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors marinate.

Notes

Tip to cut corn off the cob.

Substitution tip: Don’t have corn on the cob? Swap for sweet canned corn or frozen corn kernels. 

Keywords: potato salad, green beans, corn, potatoes, side dish, recipe

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This recipe was originally posted in July 2013. The photos and content of the post have been updated.

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Tomato Cucumber Salad

With just five simple ingredients, this Tomato Cucumber Salad will become a regular side dish to serve up with any spring or summer recipe.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Why I love this Tomato Cucumber Salad recipe

Who says salads have to start with a bed of lettuce? We’ve chatted before about how salads don’t have to be boring! What I love the most about this recipe is simple its ingredients, taking less than 10 minutes to put together, and can turn into so many new variations. (see below)

Using mini cucumbers is key

While any kind of cucumber can work in this recipe, I urge you to seek our mini cucumbers, because I think it really makes the recipe. No need to peel the skin. The skin of mini cucumbers is tender and delicate. Just simply slice into coins and they are ready to go.

When I develop a recipe, I always think about the perfect bite. When slicing mini cucumbers into a coin, it takes the same shape and size of the cherry tomatoes so you are able to get everything all in one bite. Plus, it’s more time consuming to peel, seed, and quarter a regular cucumber.

Recipe Tip

If you are using a conventional cucumber, I recommend removing the seeds. Why? Because they are bitter and don’t want any bitterness added to the dish. For a conventional cucumber, peel, scoop out the seeds, slice and cut in quarters for this recipe.
For other cooking tips, go here.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

How to make this Tomato Cucumber Salad

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Whisk together dressing.
  3. Toss together.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
    It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Storage Tip

Keep this Tomato Cucumber Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Variations

Additions

Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can or two of chickpeas and add to the mixture. This will add different textures, plus a good source of plant-based proteins

Feta cheese: I love feta cheese. Hold off on seasoning with salt and pepper at the end after tasting with the feta cheese. Feta cheese will add salt to the dish, so maybe a little sprinkle of pepper will be fine. Also, if making this dish in advance, add feta just before serving.

Red onions: The key is to thinly slice red onions, so they don’t overpower the whole dish. If you are looking for something a little sweeter or more tang, try adding my Quick Pickled Onions.

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baby cucumbers with cherry tomatoes in a wooden bowl

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Light and refreshing salad to compliment any spring or summer dish. 


Scale

Ingredients

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 mini cucumbers, sliced into coins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Add cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Drizzle over cucumber and tomatoes. Add basil.
  3. Toss everything to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

Variations:
– Add chickpeas
– Add feta cheese

Keywords: cucumber, tomato, salad, no cook, vegetables, low carb, recipe

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

Ribbon sliced vegetables in an Asian dressing is light and refreshing. This Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect for warmer weather and also a delicious change from a traditional salad.

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulieRD - refreshing and light Asian inspired salad. #saladsthatdontsuck #carrot #cucumber #salad #Asiandressing #lowcarb #healthy #recipe

Utilize your vegetable peeler a little more than just removing the skin. No need for a fancy spiralizer. Simply continue to peel using your vegetable peeler to create delicate vegetable ribbons.

What are English Cucumbers?

I specifically used English cucumbers in this recipe. Why? Because English cucumbers (also known as burp-less, seedless, or hothouse cucumbers) taste is less bitter than conventional cucumbers, are milder and almost have a hint of sweetness. You can find them in the produce aisle wrapped in plastic. Conventional cucumbers are waxed protecting their skin, whereas English cucumbers are not and have a thinner more delicate skin that is protected by the wrapping.

Switch it up from your traditional lettuce-based salads and try something new! This quick and easy Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect to switch up your salad game in the warmer months.

Want to turn it more into a meal? Try adding shrimp on top.

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad in a white bowl with a vegetable peeler

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: Asian

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 large carrots, peeled 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and cucumbers into ribbons. Combine the cucumbers and carrots in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toss the cucumbers and carrots with the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

Keywords: sesame, cucumber, carrot, salad, no cook, side dish, healthy, low carb

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons

There is nothing worse when trying to enjoy a kale salad and your jaw becomes numb with all the chewing. It’s most likely that the kale wasn’t treated properly. Kale is very fibrous, but the simple technique of massaging kale can change your whole kale salad experience. I’ve talked all about this already here.

Salads don’t have to be boring! Mix and match with various food groups, flavors, and textures. I like to add both raw and cooked elements to add different depths of flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a white bowl

Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes provide additional sweetness from their caramelization.

Tips to perfectly roast vegetables:

  • Cut vegetables approximately the same size. This will prevent smaller pieces from overcooking and larger pieces not being cooked through.
  • Don’t overdo it on the oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is enough for a full tray of vegetables. Instead of drizzling the oil when the vegetables are already on the sheet pan, toss in a large bowl then place vegetables on the sheet pan. This will ensure all vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Vegetables should be an even layer on the sheet pan. Overcrowding can result in the vegetables steaming rather than roasting.
  • Stop stirring. Simply flip vegetables halfway through the cooking process. Constant stirring won’t allow the vegetables to caramelize evenly on each side.
  • Looking for easy cleanup. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden serving utensils

With a little meal prep, this salad can come together in minutes. Roast sweet potatoes in advance, wash and chop kale, batch cook quinoa, and make the dressing. By getting the prep process started earlier on can help put meals together in minutes. With kale being very fibrous, it lasts longer in the refrigerator. I wash and chop kale for the week and store it in a breathable produce bag. Then, I can easily prepare a salad; add it to a smoothie, or sauté for a quick side dish.

Fun Fact:

Have you ever notices kale that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, the edges start to turn an orange/yellow color. Yes, the kale is aging, but it’s not going bad. As kale ages, the deep green chlorophyll color begins to fade and the vitamin A & C colors shine through. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A & C.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden utensils

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.


Ingredients

For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, chopped, cut into cubes
8 cups kales, stems removed and chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
1/3 cup golden balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt, to taste


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through until sweet potatoes have caramelized and are fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
  3. In a large bowl, add the kale and massage to become tender. Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine.
  4. In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and maple syrup. Secure lid and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. 

Notes

The addition of feta cheese to this salad is great if desired. 

Keywords: salad, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, walnuts, cranberries, healthy

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Play around with this salad combination. For a more filling meal add protein, like beans, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc. Switch up the dressing. Add fresh fruit, like pears, apples, or pomegranate seeds too.

One-Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

This one-pan chicken sausage & gnocchi saute utilizes simple ingredients to create a delicious meal in minutes.

kale with chicken sausage and gnocchi

I never understood the mad rush to the grocery store when there is an inkling of news about the possibility of snow. Previously, working as a retail dietitian, the madness was unreal. The aisles with the bread and milk would be completely wiped out. I guess everyone’s instinct is to survive on bread and milk if they get snowed in? I’ll never understand.

Sausage, gnocchi, and kale in a white bowl

My kitchen isn’t always completely stocked and with news of snow, I’m the last person you will see heading to the grocery store. I don’t want to deal with the craziness!

I think it’s fun to poke around the kitchen utilizing what I have on hand to create new meal ideas. I always say that makes me feel like I am on an episode of “Chopped“. (minus the crazy ingredients like cow’s tongue the contestants get in their mystery baskets)

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl on a marble slab

Each kitchen no matter how big or small has four kitchen zones: the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and countertops. Don’t just open the fridge and just decide “there’s nothing to eat, let’s grab take out.” Utilize the ingredients in each zone to create a meal. This recipe uses all four kitchen zones to create a delicious and balanced meal.

Refrigerator: chicken sausage, kale
Freezer: gnocchi
Pantry: olive oil, white beans, chicken broth
Countertop: garlic

chicken sausage and gnocchi in a white bowl

No need to rush to the grocery store when there is snow on the forecast. Just utilize what you have in each kitchen zone! And with simply one pan, chicken sausage & gnocchi saute came together in minutes.

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One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: one pan

Description

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté making meal time a breeze


Scale

Ingredients

10 oz. gnocchi*, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 links chicken sausage*, sliced on a bias
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth


Instructions

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken sausages until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Add garlic, white beans and gnocchi. Saute until beans and gnocchi are warmed through. (Keep an eye on the garlic. Do not let it burn. Turn down heat if needed.)

Add chicken sausage back into the pan. Then, add kale and chicken broth. Stir to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cover until kale wilts. Remove lid and allow excess moisture to evaporate. 

Serve. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. 


Notes

  • *Can use cauliflower gnocchi in this recipe, if desired.
    *I used Alfresco chicken sausage.

Keywords: kale, chicken, chicken sausage, one pan, gnocchi, white beans, beans, dinner

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Pumpkin Pie Bites

Do you ever have something on your to-do list that just keeps getting rolled over every time to a new to-do list? Welp. That’s posting this Pumpkin Pie Bites recipe. Sorry for holding out on you.

bite taken out of an energy bite

I know I am often the minority when it comes to the love of my paper planner. (Passion Planner to be exact) For the month of January, the pages are completely filled with meetings, cooking classes, presentations, parties, etc. I’m one of those people who likes being busy, but sometimes things fall through the cracks, like posting this recipe which has been sitting in draft for the past two weeks. #sorryivebeenbusy

bite taken out of a pumpkin pie bite

A version of this recipe was developed with one of my awesome JWU interns. I have a sweet spot for JWU interns and I am a JWU alum myself. I love spending days in the kitchen as a full “test kitchen” days. It’s been fun working with JWU interns because we speak the same “culinary language”. This recipe was tested a few times until the texture and taste came out just right.

energy bites in a white bowl on a stone slab

Batch cook these little energy bites for the week. They are the perfect on-the-go snack. Who says pumpkin season is over? Let’s keep the pumpkin around all year round!

bowl of pumpkin pie bites
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pumpkin pie energy bites in a white bowl on a slate

Pumpkin Pie Bites

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 bites per serving) 1x
  • Category: snack, dessert
  • Method: no-cook

Description

Batch cook these bites for an energy-boosting snack during the day!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • boiling water, as needed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour*
  • 1  1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Process until fairly smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. Transfer to a separate bowl and fold in chocolate chips. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, scoop 1-tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls. The mixture makes about 16 bites. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

If the dough is too sticky, pulse in additional coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. 

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin pie, energy bites, snack,

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Beef and Barley Soup

Cozy up to a bowl of Beef and Barley Soup. Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally.

Beef & Barley Soup in a white bowl

I am on a total soup and stew kick lately. Mainly because I can cook once and eat all week.

I am teaching three cooking classes this week, so cooking all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home it to cook again and wash more dishes!

beef and vegetable soup in a white bowl

Soups are great! Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally. Any good soup starts with mirepoix. I like to use dry herbs and spices in my soup recipes because you are able to add them during the cooking process, as they can stand up to the heat. 

Aim to add more whole grains in soups and stews when you can. Barley is a fantastic whole grain. I chose to use hull-less barley. This type of barley has an outer hull that’s so loosely attached to the kernel that it generally falls off during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.

Beef & Barley Soup in bowls with a white and blue striped napkin

This beef and barley soup may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth the wait.

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beef and barley soup in a white bowl

Beef and Barley Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, fat trimmed off and cubed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup hulless barley
  • 4 cups kale, spines removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess flour. 

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and cook just until the meat starts to brown, turning as needed. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, to not crowd the pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Deglaze the pan with red wine scraping the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer and reduce red wine by half. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.

Add beef back to the pot with water and beef broth. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, add barley and turn down to a simmer for 45-50 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally so the barley won’t stick together. If you find that too much liquid has evaporated or the soup is too thick add more water as necessary until you get the desired consistency.

Remove soup from heat and stir in the kale while the soup is still hot to wilt. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. 

Garnish with parsley, if using.


Notes

If you do not want to use wine, deglaze with additional beef broth.

Keywords: barley, beef, soup, batch cooking, meal prep

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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

There is nothing better then cozying up to a warm bowl of soup on a chilly evening. Soups can pack in a ton of flavor utilizing various food groups creating a balanced meal.

A couple of weeks ago I had a cooking class called “Hearty Soups & Salads” and in the class, we discussed when making soup, the ingredients and steps are well thought out to build and develop depths of flavors.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

You might think, pairing butternut squash and Honeycrisp apples would yield a soup too sweet, but with the addition of sharp cheddar and plain yogurt, adds a balance of salty, with a hint of tart and tangy.

When blended, this creates a silky smooth soup. Batch cook and freeze some for later.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Properly cool, freeze, and reheat soup:

  1. Refrigerators and freezers cannot cool soups quickly enough for food safety protocols. Speed up the cooling process by placing the pot of soup in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir soup to help release the heat.
  2. Label and date large ziplock plastic bags. To help pour soup in the bag, place bag in the bowl and cuff the bag over the edges. Ladle soup into each bag, let out excess air and seal.
  3. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer. When completely frozen, stack bags to save space in the freezer.
  4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup in a white bowl

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD

Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
½ sweet onion, diced
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup) [I used Cabot’s sharp cheddar]
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish


Instructions

Saute onions with butter over low medium heat in a large stockpot until translucent.
Add squash, apples, and stock or broth in a large pan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and simmer squash for 20 minutes or until very tender.
Uncover and let cool. Puree in blender or food processor, in batches, if necessary.
Return puree to saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir in yogurt, cheese, and ground red pepper. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Whisk soup just until heated through (do not allow to boil). Serve sprinkled with chives.


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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin isn’t only for sweet recipes. Try switching things up and use pumpkin in a savory cooking application. Start with this Turkey Pumpkin Chili! 

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with a piece of cornbread in a white bowl

How is October already coming to an end? Fall is a busy time for me with conferences and a lot of work travel. Also during this time of year, I’m sure your Pinterest boards are being saturated with pumpkin everything! I am would say I am a self-proclaimed pumpkin lover, but my RD friend Maggie I would nominate as the president of the pumpkin lover’s club. She just came out with a pumpkin cookbook featuring 50 creative pumpkin flavored, shaped, & spiced recipes.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with piece of cornbread in a white bowl

Did You Know?

A few years back I was at a conference and an RD from Nestle was there speaking about Libby’s canned pumpkin. That brand is a staple across supermarkets nationally. I’m sure many of you, like myself, stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin this time of year. I was fascinated to learn they exclusively use Dickinson pumpkins, which are a special strain of pumpkins.

Why Dickinson Pumpkins?

Libby’s acquired the rights to the “Libby’s Select Dickinson” pumpkin in 1929 from the Dickinson family who brought it in the early 1800s from Kentucky. If you ever Google “Dickinson pumpkin” images that appear look like a pale, slightly misshapen butternut squash, not the jack-o-lantern pumpkin you may be thinking of. When Dickinson pumpkins are grown and cultivated just right, they yield a sweet, bright orange flesh that’s amazing in dishes from pies to pasta, and a healthier ingredient to swap into some of your favorite recipes.

Confession: One year I was a little too pumpkin obsessed. I ate it in my oats for breakfast, stirred it in my yogurt, made smoothies, breads, soups every. single. day. I had a tad too much beta-carotene and my palms started turning orange. Lesson learned.

While pumpkin is used in sweet applications the majority of the time, pumpkin works well with savory applications. This chili is perfect for someone who isn’t too crazy about super spicy chili. It’s a mellow flavor with a hint of sweet. I feel like chili isn’t complete without a slice of cornbread. I always crumble up the cornbread right into the chili.

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white bowl with turkey pumpkin chili with a piece of cornbread

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: chili

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken stock and beans, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with cornbread.

Notes

This chili freezes well. Make a large batch and freeze half for another time.

Keywords: chili, pumpkin, turkey,

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