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Gourmet Burgers

Take your burger to the next level with these exotic picks

It's no secret that Americans love their burgers—but, believe it or not, it's possible to indulge without sacrificing all the hard work you put into the gym. If you're willing to get creative with the ingredients, you can whip up some delicious and healthy burgers that will deliver plenty of taste without any of the post-meal guilt.

From cherries to ostrich meat, these are our picks for the most exotic (yet healthy) gourmet burgers that you can make right in your very own kitchen.

CHERRY BURGER

Up your level of antioxidants and reduce fat content by mixing dried cherries into ground beef. This burger also provides the sweet/spicy combo that is so appealing to our palates. The recipe combines finely chopped cherries with whole-wheat breadcrumbs, small sweet onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Combine with lean, ground beef and serve on a whole-wheat, toasted English muffin; top with lettuce and cherry ketchup. Unusual and savory, you can't go wrong with this winner.

OSTRICH BURGER

Although exotic and delicious, ostrich meat is not for everyone. But if you have an adventurous soul, then you'll want to try this dynamic burger which has a beef-like quality but is a much leaner meat. Test your guests by serving these burgers at your next barbecue to see if they can tell the difference between your ostrich burgers and regular beef burgers. The recipe couldn't be simpler: Combine ground ostrich, onions, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to create an out-of-the-ordinary burger your friends will be talking about long after they leave the party.

CURRIED CASHEW BURGER

You've always loved cashew nuts but who knew they could be used to create a nourishing and hearty burger. The curried cashew veggie burger is also surprising for its authentic "meaty" feel. The secret is grounding the cashews, which give them amazing flavor as well as texture. The red lentils in the recipe are a tasty delight and also act as a cohesive element to bring the burger together. You'll need to toast cashews in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant; then ground the cashews in a food processor. Throw in water, diced carrots, the red lentils, curry powder, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic salt and pepper and serve with a cucumber-mint raita sauce on pita bread. So delicious, you'll want to re-create this burger over and over again.

WASABI SALMON BURGERS

Inspired by the ingredients in the fresh and healthy Japanese foods you love, the wasabi salmon burger incorporates ginger, sesame oil and wasabi. The recipe calls for chopped salmon with scallions, egg, ginger and sesame oil mixed together. A dash of honey and wasabi powder adds a nice flavor. Form into patties and fry in the sesame oil. Serve on whole-wheat buns with reduced-fat mayonnaise and sliced cucumbers as condiments. Or skip the bun and add the patties to salad greens, carrots, radishes and sprouts.

SOUTHWESTERN PUMPKIN BURGER

This recipe is all vegetables, perfect for any vegetarians you might know. The Southwestern reference takes into account the burger's final color, spice and fragrance and its fresh tomato salsa topping. To vreate this delicious burger you'll need to blend together pumpkin puree, fresh or frozen corn, chopped red or green bell peppers, onions, toasted wheat germ, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, cumin, garlic, chili powder, virgin olive oil and salt and pepper and cook to perfection. Next, top with tomato salsa, Monterey or cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce and served on flour tortillas. Tasty and lite, this is the ideal burger for lunch or an evening snack. Related articles:

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