My husband is obsessed with Mexican food. It’s literally his favorite cuisine. I’m pretty sure I could feed him nothing but tacos, burritos and other Mexican favs every day and he’d be completely ok with it (the man even always assumed he’d end up marrying a Hispanic woman!).
I’ll admit, I do enjoy Mexican inspired dishes but I can’t really eat anything day in and day out. I crave variety (which you should be able to tell from the many and varied dishes I’m always posting).
Let’s switch gears and talk burgers for a second. I’m definitely the kind of person that likes a lot of stuff on mine (the same holds true for pizza). Cincinnati is also sort of a burger town with a ton of different places offering ‘gourmet’ or customized burgers (I can walk to one that has an ostrich burger). Cincinnati Magazine even did a feature on the 40 best burgers in the city. Click here if you want to see a Tumblr on the article by Peter Vidani (this entire tumblr is devoted to random stuff in the burger universe).
My favorite ones to visit are the places that you can build you own. I typically get them topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms and green peppers, pepperjack, a fried egg (if the place offers it) and chipotle mayo – yum! Plus I like to throw some lettuce and tomato on there too. It’s messy and delicious and amazing (and thankfully my husband and I split one so I don’t feel as bad).
So last night I was set on doing a burger with the ground round I had bought (95% lean) but bowing to my husband’s tastes decided to do a sort of Mexican inspired one which is how the Twisted Fajita Burger was born. Why is this burger twisted? My reasonable explanation for the name is that I’m twisting a burger and fajita together. And really, doesn’t it just sound cool?
I know what you’re thinking – but 95% (or more) lean beef produces dry burgers! Well you’re right, it does. Unless you add stuff to the patties to increase both moisture and flavor. I promise you these burgers will be juicy and delicious and I’ll admit, a bit messy.
On the side I served some homemade baked fries since I had some potatoes from my CSA to use up. I sliced them with my mandoline then tossed with ½ Tbsp canola oil, and some chipotle chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Since I already had my oven on at 450 from roasting the peppers, I just threw them in the oven for 25 minutes while I worked on the burgers.
A note – I make my own salt free fajita seasoning that I keep on hand. I’ve included my recipe for it below. You could easily use your favorite or even a store bought one, although I’d probably skip the addition of any additional salt, especially if you’re watching your sodium intake. Feel free to increase the fajita seasoning recipe. Just keep any extra covered in a cool, dark place.
Shortcut Method for when you, darnit, just want this burger but don’t have a lot of time. Buy a 4 oz can of diced green chilies instead of roasting your own and then just use regular red onion (instead of roasting it) both in the burger and on top. Honestly you could probably even buy chipotle mayo but I’d advise against it since that stuff it not the healthiest choice out there (although delicious, very, very delicious).
The prep time below does not include the time it takes to roast the onions and peppers. Add another 40 minutes to prep time if you plan to roast them (this is a great do ahead step).
How to Roast the Peppers and Onions. Preheat oven to 450. Slice onions into rounds, making sure to keep the rounds together. Roast peppers whole for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and flip peppers. Place onion rounds on same baking sheet, spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with a bit of fajita seasoning. Bake for another 15 minutes. Place peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to allow the peppers to steam for at least 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
- 1 Tbsp New Mexico Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tbsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked spanish paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (omit for a milder flavor)
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- ¼ cup light mayo
- 2 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt
- 2 chipotle chilies minced and 1 – 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Half of Chipotle Mayo
- ½ Tbsp honey
- ½ tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 lb ground beef (at least 95% lean)
- 2 bell peppers or poblanos, roasted, peeled and deseeded – see note above for how to roast, divided
- 1 medium red onion, cut into rounds and roasted – see note above for how to roast, divided
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp fajita seasoning
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup of your favorite cheese (or 4 slices) – possible options are cheddar jack, or queso blanco; I ended up using mozzarella since I had it on hand
- 1 large tomato, cut into rounds
- 4 buns (I used the 100 calorie whole wheat thins)
- Start by making the chipotle mayo, combine mayo through cilantro and mix well. Put half in the bowl you’ll mix the burgers up in.
- Use the remaining chipotle mayo to make the slaw. Combine chipotle mayo through salt and pepper and mix well until the shredded cabbage is coated. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Set aside in fridge until you’re ready to top the burgers.
- Cut one pepper into long strips and set aside, dice the other one. Dice half the roasted onions, and separate the other half of the onions into rings and set aside. In bowl with chipotle mayo (that you saved earlier) combine the diced peppers and onions, ¼ cup cilantro, beef, garlic, fajita seasonings and salt. Mix well and form into 4 patties in the size and shape of your buns.
- At this point you have two choices – grill outside or grill inside. I used my grill pan over medium high and cooked for about 6 minutes per side, flipping once (12 min total). For the first 6 minutes I kept the pan covered to ensure they cooked through, then uncovered for the final 6 minutes.
- After the burgers are cooked, top with leftover peppers, onions, and cheese. Cover and allow the cheese to melt for a minute or so.
- Build burgers – place tomatoes, then burgers, then top with slaw and top bun. Enjoy!
A quick warning – when you taste the chipotle mayo by itself you think that it’ll be way too spicy. It is spicy, but once you mix it into the burger and into the slaw along with everything else it gives just the right amount of heat. You definitely need to top the burger with the slaw. Unless you’re a heat fanatic, trying to eat it on the side would be way too much.
So good! I mean they didn’t taste light or like you were depriving yourself which is the best part of cooking healthy. You know that you’re eating something delicious and have the added good feeling of knowing it’s also light. Putting some chipotle mayo in the burger along with the vegetables ensured an extremely moist patty.
Honestly, if I hadn’t of needed to use up some of the potatoes I would probably have served it with a side salad instead of the fries (as awesome as they were) so it’s an option to keep in mind.
The only con to this burger is the fact that we ate it in like five minutes and it totally precluded any dinner conversation!
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