Feel like a change from a burger that’s half bread? Try using crispy, juicy iceberg lettuce wraps! The leaves make a tidy wrap that adds a whole lotta crunch to your burger; you can add all your favourite toppings if you wish, but a spoonful of creamy, fresh, slightly sweet carrot slaw and a couple tangy pickle slices makes a fantastic flavour combination for these easy beef burgers. Kids have fun making them, too! (Skip to recipes.)
Oh, yes. It’s summer time – it’s burger time! (Not that we don’t eat burgers all year long, but it just felt good to write that. Somehow, summer seems even more like burger time than the rest of the year does. Maybe it’s because grilling is such a great way to cook them during these warm and glorious days (and yes, it’s still technically spring, but it feels summery!)
Cooking with Meredith
Meredith mixed together this super, simple hamburger recipe and whipped up a carrot salad like a pro. She’s twelve, but you could get younger kids involved doing everything from grating carrots to slicing pickles. Helping with the prep makes it all the more fun to eat!
And if there are no kids around, adults go crazy for these burgers, too. They’re gluten free, paleo, and low carb (you can always substitute the carrot salad for tomato and onion slices to make them keto and even more low carb).
Let’s Get Burger Making
First you mix up the lean ground beef, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Your hands are the best tools for this.
To get even sized burgers, pat the ground meat into a flat cake, then use a butter knife to cut it into six even wedges.
Scoop up each wedge and form it into a nice flat, oval patty.
Then fry ’em up! (Or throw them onto the grill for a summertime thrill.)
And while they’re frying you can get started on the carrot slaw and slice the pickles.
You can get the ‘wraps’ ready, too. Cut a head of crispy iceberg lettuce in half through the core, then cut out the core. Carefully pull away two or three leaves at a time, in one bunch, from the outside of the head for each lettuce ‘cup’.
Now, spread in a couple spoonfuls of carrot slaw.
Add the burger patty and tuck in a few pickle slices.
Mmmm. That was a tasty bite.
Now make a few more for the rest of the crew.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: Making the ground meat patties into oval shapes helps them to fit better into the lettuce wraps.
Iceberg lettuce is the best lettuce to use because it’s relatively firm and holds together well, plus the fresh, crispy crunch of it is very satisfying to eat with the warm burger ingredients. You can easily get six wraps out of one head of lettuce; three from each half. Just remove the leaves carefully to keep from tearing them, and try keeping two or three leaves together as you pull them off the lettuce head. Save the inner part of the head to use in a tossed green salad at another meal.
To make these burgers keto friendly, omit the carrot slaw and add tomato and onion slices.
for the burgers:
- 1 lb (454gms) lean ground beef
- ¼ cup (60ml) mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons oil
for the carrot slaw:
- 4 medium carrots (200gms), peeled and shredded (about 1 cup lightly packed)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- sprinkling of pepper
to assemble the lettuce wraps:
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce
- 3 to 4 dill pickles
Make the burger patties: Use your hands to mix together the ground beef, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until it is combined. Pat the ground meat into a flat cake in the bottom of the bowl, then use a butter knife to cut it into six equal wedges; this will help to keep all the burgers even in size. Scoop out each wedge of ground meat and roll it into a ball, then flatten and shape the ball into an oval that’s about 4 inches long by 2½ inches wide (10cm x 6 cm).
Cook the burgers either on a barbecue grill at medium heat or in a skillet. If using a skillet, heat it over medium heat and add the oil. Spread it around on the bottom of the skillet, then place the burgers into the pan. Cook them about 4 to 5 minutes a side, until they are nicely browned, but still moist and no longer pink inside (you might have to cut one open to test it). Put the burgers on a plate and cover them with foil; set them aside to rest while you continue making the carrot slaw.
Make the carrot slaw: While the burgers are cooking and resting, peel and grate the carrots, then shred them. You should have about 1 cup, lightly packed. Finely chop 3 tablespoons onion. Combine the shredded carrots, onion, raisins, mayonnaise, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Cut the lettuce head in half through the core, then cut out the core from each half. Carefully pull off 2 or 3 leaves at a time from the outside of each half so that they stay together in a bowl shape. Set them out on a work surface. (Save the leftover inside of the lettuce head for making salads.) Slice 3 or 4 pickles.
Assemble the lettuce wraps: Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of carrot slaw into each lettuce cup, placing it on one side of the lettuce. Add a cooked hamburger on top of the carrot slaw, then tuck in a few pickle slices. Fold up the other side of the lettuce leaves and enjoy. Make sure to eat your burger over a plate to catch any drips, and pass around napkins for any drippy fingers!
Makes 6 burgers in lettuce wraps.
For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.
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