Creative Flipping

Burgers, a summer staple, don’t have to be traditional
Easy does it — not much beats the ease of grilling a hamburger patty. Served with store-bought potato salad or packaged slaw, farm-fresh corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes, what else do you need? Special bean-packed vegan burgers can also be tossed on the grill.

Summer is in full swing. Your kids, your friends, and the family members you’ve been waiting all year to see are finally able to come together to enjoy time spent walking the beach, kayaking, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, swimming, shopping, and stargazing — everything our Michigan lakes and their nearby towns have to offer.

And then, everybody’s hungry.

For lunches or dinners that can be handily cooked via skillet, oven, or grill, not much beats the ease of a veggie, salmon, or beef hamburger patty. Served with store-bought packaged salad or slaw, farm-fresh corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, and maybe even a microwave-baked potato, these will satisfy the hungriest of your sun-kissed, fun-worn family and guests with a minimum of effort, and give you the ability to meet everyone’s mealtime needs and tastes. They can even be made and cooked ahead of time, and then frozen.

Here are my favorite patty recipes.

(No soy or dairy, no manufactured protein product, and unlimited versatility for the recipe’s vegetable ingredients)


  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of black beans or pinto beans (can substitute other beans such as kidney, cannellini, white)
  • 1 cup your choice of any combination of cooked, diced vegetables (some ideas: onion, asparagus, mushroom, sweet potato, broccoli, patted-dry spinach)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste or ketchup
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (note: although oat bran is naturally free of gluten, not all varieties are safe for those with celiac disease)
  • Feel free to experiment with different spices such as chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.


Drain and rinse the beans, and then thoroughly drain them again. In a large bowl, mash the beans by hand or, if preferred, in a food processor. Mix the mashed beans with all other ingredients. Form the mixture into 8-12 patties, depending on the desired size. If the mixture is too wet to form a patty, gradually add more oat bran. For deliciously crispy results, pan-fry them in an oiled skillet on medium heat for six minutes on each side, turning only once. To bake, use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on each side. You can also grill them on the barbecue, on a greased sheet of foil, for eight minutes on each side.

Let’s Eat!

Serve wrapped in lettuce, on a bun or bread, topping a salad, or solo on a plate. These burgers can be served with condiments or toppings such as salsa, mustard, sliced olives, peppers, avocado, mushrooms, pickles, or grilled onion — and so much more.

Tips for Success

If grilling, pre-heat your grill to high heat.

Although these aren’t meant to taste like meat or be a meat substitute, the color and texture will be more like hamburger if you use pinto beans.

Homemade Salmon Burger with Tartar Sauce and Onion



  • 2 cans salmon (each can 14 ¾ ounces)
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/8 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil, if pan-frying


Drain salmon, carefully removing all bones. In a large bowl, use a fork to flake the salmon. Add the lemon juice and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into eight patties. In an oiled skillet heated to medium-high heat, fry until golden brown, turning only once. If baking is preferred (though pan-frying is most popular), preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake them on an oiled cookie sheet for 15 minutes, turn them over, and bake for another five minutes. If grilling, squeeze any excess moisture from the mixture before forming patties, and grill at 300 degrees on a foil-lined grill pan for 10 minutes on each side.

Let’s Eat!

Even those who don’t relish seafood or salmon — and children, too — are fans of this easy and tasty recipe. Any number of sauces can be used with these patties, including honey mustard; mayo mixed with plain Greek yogurt, dill, and seasoned salt; a tangy sauce made from four parts mayo and one part yellow or Dijon mustard; tartar sauce; lemon-garlic butter; spicy “buffalo” sauce; or just plain lemon juice from fresh wedges.

Tips for Success

Drain the salmon well to prevent having patties that are too moist to hold their shape. When forming the patties, if frying (the preferred method), make sure the oil in the pan is sizzling before adding the patties.



  • 3 pounds ground chuck or (recommended) three
  • one-pound units of pre-packaged organic, grass-fed beef that’s 85 percent lean
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Lawrey’s seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (coarse grind preferred)
  • If baking, you’ll use salt and pepper for sprinkling, too.


In a large stainless steel or glass bowl, mix all ingredients. Form into 9-12 patties, depending on desired size. To cook on the stovetop, grease skillet with a light oil. Heat the pan on medium high until the oil is hot. Add the burger patties. The pan should be hot enough for the meat to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for five to six minutes. Flip the burgers and cook another five minutes. The burgers should be firm to the touch and read 160-165 degrees with a meat thermometer.

To bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use nonstick spray to coat a baking sheet that has sides to catch the juice. Arrange the patties on the sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the burgers, and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Bake another 10 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 160-165 degrees. You may need to stack two burgers to insert the thermometer.

For grilling, pre-heat the grill to 375-400 degrees. Place the burgers on the grill and leave the lid open. Cook for five minutes on each side, flipping only once. Cook for another five minutes, or until the burgers reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, for food safety.

Let’s Eat!

Have some fun with condiments and toppings. You can try bacon, fried egg, avocado, grilled or raw onion, peppers, lettuce, tomato, spicy or dill pickles — whatever your guests can fit between a burger and a bun that’s spread with mayo, mustard, chipotle or barbecue sauce, sweet or spicy ketchup, Thousand Island dressing, or just plain!

Tips for Success

Meat purchased from the meat counter needs to be used within two days, but pre-packaged beef (in one-pound, cryovac-type packaging) allows you to keep the beef longer, according to the use-by package date, offering more flexibility with meal plans and changes.

To prevent the burgers from bulging when they cook, press your thumb into the middle of each patty.

Never press a burger when it’s cooking; you’ll lose precious moisture. Your burgers will also be juicier if you use meat that’s no leaner than 85 percent.


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