3 Simple burgers

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A Caprese burger with pesto and melted mozzarella. A Caprese burger with pesto and melted mozzarella. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

CAPRESE BURGER

1 cup basil leaves

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

½ teaspoon salt, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil

1¼ pounds 93-percent lean ground beef

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¼ teaspoon black pepper

4 (¼-inch-thick) slices mozzarella

4 (¼-inch-thick) slices beefsteak tomato

4 potato hamburger buns, split

1. Combine the basil, almonds and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in the food processor and blend until a paste forms. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream.

2. Heat the grill for direct-heat cooking (400-500 degrees).

3. Combine the ground beef, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper in a bowl and divide it into 4 portions. Gently form each into a ¾-inch-thick patty. Press the top center of each patty lightly with the back of a spoon or your thumb to form a small, ¼-inch-deep indentation.

4. Cook the burgers on the grill until they readily release from the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn, cook 3 minutes and top with the mozzarella; cook to desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes longer for medium (160 degrees). Meanwhile, coat the cut sides of the buns with cooking spray and place cut sides down on the grill to lightly toast for about 2 minutes.

5. Place a tomato slice on the bottom of each bun, top with the burger, spoon the basil mixture over the melted cheese and close with the top half of the bun. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 441 calories, 24 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 29 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 740 mg sodium

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HOISIN BURGER WITH SRIRACHA MAYONNAISE

¼ cup canola mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon ketchup

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1 pound 93-percent lean ground beef

½ cup chopped scallion

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

4 lettuce leaves

4 hamburger buns, split

1. Combine the mayonnaise, sriracha and ketchup; set aside.

2. Heat the grill for direct-heat cooking (400-500 degrees).

3. Combine the beef, scallions and hoisin and divide into 4 portions. Gently form each into a ¾-inch-thick patty. Press the top center of each patty lightly with the back of a spoon or your thumb to form a small, ¼-inch-deep indentation.

4. Cook the burgers on the grill until they readily release from the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook to desired degree of doneness, 5 to 6 minutes longer for medium (160 degrees). Meanwhile, coat the cut sides of the buns with cooking spray and place cut sides down on the grill until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

5. Place a lettuce leaf on each bottom half of the buns; top with the burger and the sauce, close the sandwich and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 356 calories, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 20 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 638 mg sodium

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CALIFORNIA BURGER WITH AVOCADO CRÈME

½ avocado

¼ cup light sour cream

½ teaspoon lime juice

1 pound 93-percent lean ground beef

½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup alfalfa sprouts

4 potato hamburger buns, split

1. Combine avocado, sour cream and lime juice in blender or mash with a fork until smooth. Taste, and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper, if desired.

2. Heat grill for direct-heat cooking (400-500 degrees).

3. Combine the ground beef, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper in a bowl and divide it in 4 portions. Gently form each into a ¾-inch-thick patty. Press the top center of each patty lightly with the back of a spoon or your thumb to form a small, ¼-inch-deep indentation.

4. Cook the burgers on the grill until they readily release from surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook to desired degree of doneness, 5 to 6 minutes longer for medium (160 degrees). Meanwhile, spray cut sides of buns lightly with cooking spray and place the cut-sides down on grill to lightly toast for 2 minutes.

5. Place ¼ of the sprouts on the bottom half of each bun, top with the burger and spoon the avocado crème over the meat. Close the bun and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 314 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 22 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 580 mg sodium

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