It’s almost the weekend!
Which means something delicious is on the horizon!
When it comes to eating, particularly this time of year, I’ve always followed the 80-20 rule, eating as healthfully as possible most of the time with some indulgence thrown in every once in awhile. The best of both worlds is when I can come up with something that tastes amazing and feels indulgent but is still on the healthy side of things.
These bruschetta chicken burgers are just that!
Lean, ground chicken breast gets mixed with delicious seasonings, very similar to those I use in my chicken meatballs, and then is formed into burgers and seared/grilled to golden brown perfection. Each burger gets a healthy slice of fresh mozzarella (the indulgent part of things here) and a fresh tomato bruschetta topping! I promise you this: there’s no ketchup in sight and you won’t miss it one bit.
Well, I lied. Sorta. There IS ketchup in the chicken burger mixture, but that’s only because it’s my secret ingredient when it comes to making chicken meatballs or burgers.
Humble brag time: family and friends have told me I make THE BEST meatballs. Really. I’m talking people who have been raised on their Italian grandmother’s/mother’s meatballs their whole lives. And you know why? Because I put ketchup in the meatball mix. I swear. That’s the secret. I’ve made them without it and can totally taste a big difference. It just adds something special to the flavor. And these burgers are no different.
Dan inhaled these burgers. He couldn’t get enough and had one of those “I’m mad those are gone” reactions when we finished them. We ate them bunless (hi, January), but you could eat them on a bun, in a pita wrap, or in a lettuce wrap! Whatever floats your boat. The flavor is outstanding no matter which you choose. I even ate the last burger cut up over a big salad for lunch one day, and it was glorious. So much flavor!
For me, the bruschetta topping is my favorite part. Thank the heavens for delicious cherry tomatoes all year! In the summertime, you could use any tomato you like, but in January, the cherry/grape tomatoes are the only ones at the store that are worth buying. They’re juicy, sweet, and have awesome tomato flavor. I definitely intend on making these again in the summer, though, with dreamy heirloom tomatoes instead.
I love making meals like this in the dead of winter, too, because it reminds me of warmer months. This time of year can be so depressing, and anything that gets me through to March/April is necessary. If a chicken burger is what does the trick, so be it.
As I said earlier, one of the best things about these is how delicious and indulgent they taste and look. They’re ideal weekend food! They’ll make you think you’re in the 20 zone, but really, you’re still in the 80s. Love that!
These Bruschetta Chicken Burgers are my answer to the winter doldrums – they’re a taste of summer in January! They’re also still in my 80 zone in the 80-20 rule of eating. They look and taste super indulgent, but they’re actually still pretty healthy. Winning on all fronts, I’d say!
For the Bruschetta Topping:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Burgers:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- Burger buns or pita pockets
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Baby greens or microgreens (or whatever lettuce you prefer!)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic glaze
For the Topping:
While the burgers are cooking, make the topping by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and seasoning, to taste, with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15-20 minutes while you make the burgers.
For the Burgers:
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ketchup, spices, herbs, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning. It should taste a little over-seasoned – remember, the meat isn’t in the mix yet and we want it to be super flavorful.
- Fold in the chicken until it is just incorporated, trying not to overwork the meat.
- Divide the mixture into fourths and form four burger patties. Place the burgers in the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes per side.
- Top each hot burger with a slice of fresh mozzarella and then carefully transfer to burger buns or pita pockets.
- Top the burgers with the bruschetta mixture, greens, more basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: burgers
Keywords: bruschetta chicken burgers, bruschetta topping, healthy burger recipes, healthy chicken burgers, fresh mozzarella burger, caprese burger recipe, healthy chicken recipes