Are you a fan of bacon double cheeseburgers? Fun Fact: McDonald’s sells about 50 million burgers per day worldwide. When we think of ground beef one of the top options is hamburgers. This is one of the most popular ones. However, you might be surprised at how many options you have. Beef is one of the “complete proteins” so you get all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) from it. In recent years many people have developed the idea that somehow beef is unhealthy. However, recent studies show that it’s related to how the cow is raised. If you pick organic and grass-fed beef it’s a healthy choice for what to make with hamburger.
As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life. If you have some ground sirloin meat in your fridge/freezer you might be wondering how to use it. It might be surprised how many options you have. It’s all about doing the research. Ground beef is one of the more flexible meat ingredients you can add to your meals. It’s already ground up so you don’t have to worry about slicing meat or cutting it into cubes. This can be a hassle and takes more time/effort when doing meal preparation.
Is Beef Healthy?
This is a big question because many of us have heard that red meat, in general, is unhealthy. What’s the truth? In the past, various studies were done that connected beef to heart disease. However, there’s the fact that humans have been eating red meat for thousands of years and haven’t had health issues until recently.
So, it seems the problem is related to how cattle are raised today. For example, grass-fed beef is a better choice than grain-fed cows. One main reason is the grass is part of the natural diet of bovines. When you consume grass-fed beef it seems to provide more nutrients than cattle that ate food like corn.
Another difference is many of today’s cattle are injected with strong chemicals like antibiotics and hormones. These chemicals can affect meat when people consume it. That, in turn, can cause various health issues, which could explain the link between red meat and the risk of serious diseases like heart disease.
So, it’s more about the type of beef you consume instead of whether or not you consume red meat at all. Besides how the cow was raised you should also research how much processing is done to make the ground beef product. Watch out for additives that can reduce the nutritional value of the meat.
Then there’s the amount of meat you consume. Studies show that cultures that consume low amounts of red meat like beef and pork tend to have a lower risk of serious diseases like heart disease. It’s better to go with protein options like fatty fish, turkey/chicken, and eggs.
That said, one plus of eating different protein sources is you get different amounts of various amino acids. For example, while beef, pork, chicken, and fish are all “complete proteins” they also contain different amounts of those aminos. So, eating some red meat now and then can be healthy.
What to Make with Ground Beef
- Pasta: You also have many options for adding ground beef to pasta. The hearty taste/texture of the beef pairs well with the pasta whether it’s whole or refined wheat flour.
- Beef Chili: This is a go-to recipe that includes lots of healthy ingredients like beef, beans, chili peppers, garlic, and onions. You can tweak the spiciness from mild to 5-alarm.
- Hash Brown Bake: This one is Hash Browns 2.0 with stuff like a can of chili and Sloppy Joe sauce. The result is a hot and hearty meal that’s baked not fried.
- Gyros: This is a go-to dish if you also like tacos and shawarma. It includes ingredients like fresh tomatoes, red onion, and if you want to make it super-authentic: tahini sauce.
- Meatballs: This is a classic beef dish that includes lots of variations. They include ones like different sauces, veggies, herbs, and spices.
- Kebabs: This includes different spices like parsley, cilantro, and cumin. You can also add veggies like tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions.
- Fiesta Salad: This is a Mexican-inspired meal. Ingredients include salad greens, cheese, avocado, and cheddar cheese. Swap out the high-carb hard-shell taco.
- Hamburger Steak: This is a bunless hamburger with toppings like mushroom gravy. This one pair well with potatoes and veggies like peas and carrots.
- Sloppy Joes: This is a classic meal that includes a sweet/spicy sauce. It’s a savory/filling meal that can include toppings like coleslaw.
- Shepherd’s Pie: Here’s a classic dish that can include ingredients like ground beef. You can add potato crust to the hearty ingredients like corn, carrots, and peas.
- Mini Meatloaf: This one includes different ingredients like onion, vegetable juice, and mustard. The main benefit of this recipe is it provides single-serve meatloaf for individual friends/family members.
- Burgers: This is one of the most obvious yet flexible options. You can top your hamburgers with lettuce, tomato, onions, mushrooms, avocado, cheese, and bacon.
Top Hamburger Toppings
There’s no question that hamburgers are one of the most popular and best uses of ground beef. However, besides the burger itself, you have a wide range of options for toppings.
One of the classic toppings is mushrooms. One of the benefits is that they provide a light taste and texture. This helps to complement the burger without overpowering it. There are many options with different flavors, so you should consider which toppings to pair with which fungus.
An interesting topping that’s not often used is avocado. However, high-fat fruit provides many health benefits. It’s loaded with healthy fats that can provide several health benefits. It’s also low carb at just 9g of carbs for half an avocado. You probably wouldn’t need that much for a burger topping.
Tomatoes are another great option. Fun Fact: Tomatoes are a fruit since they have seeds. This is a healthy food that’s high in nutrients including a powerful antioxidant that gives the tomato its red color.
Another veggie that’s often added to hamburgers is lettuce. If you want more nutrients to go with options like Romaine over iceberg. This veggie adds some crunch to your burger while balancing “heavy” toppings like cheese and bacon. Another plus is lettuce is super-low calorie/carb so it’s diet-friendly.
There’s no question that bacon is one of the top burger toppers. It’s meaty, crispy, and salty. Make sure to go with low-salt versions when possible to make it healthier. Bacon is also a Keto-friendly food since it’s low-carb and high-fat.
Pickles are another outstanding option when adding to your burgers. They have a crispy texture and tangy taste that add some pizzazz to your burgers/cheeseburgers. The tangy taste also helps to reduce the rich flavor of ingredients like bacon and cheese after taking time to pick what to make with hamburger.