Beyond Ketchup: 5 New Ways to Top Your Burger

Creative toppings are another way to set your burgers apart. Although ketchup, lettuce and onions will always have a place at the picnic table, it's fun to highlight the flavors in your burgers with fruit salsas, fresh tomato and cucumber salads, and light mayonnaise sauces spiked with interesting flavors, such as wasabi.

Recipes for the toppings shown above (left to right):

Wasabi Mayonnaise: In small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 1/4 teaspoons wasabi paste (available Asian foods section of some supermarkets or at sushi counters; substitute prepared horseradish) and 1 teaspoon lime juice. (Mayonnaise will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Makes 4 (2-tablespoon) servings. Serve with Teryiaki Salmon Burgers or Asian-flavored grilled seafood.

Tomato-Basil Salad: In medium bowl, combine 3 diced seeded tomatoes, 1/3 cup shredded fresh basil, 1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia or red onion, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; toss gently to mix. Serve within 2 hours. Makes 8 (1/3-cup) servings. Serve with Italian Mushroom Burgers or use as a topping for bruschetta or grilled fish.

Mango Salsa: Cut 2 medium mangos into fine dice and place in medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss gently to mix. Serve within 2 hours. Makes 4 (1/2-cup) servings. Serve with Curried Turkey burgers or use as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish.

Raita: Set a cheesecloth-lined sieve or filter paper-lined coffee cone over a bowl or cup. Spoon in 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Transfer drained yogurt to small bowl. (Discard whey.) Stir in 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (Raita will keep, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Makes 4 (2-tablespoon) servings. Serve with Curried Turkey Burgers or use an accompaniment for curries.

Cucumber Sambal: Scrub 1/2 an English cucumber. Use a vegetable peeler to pare 4 lengthwise strips from cucumber. Slice cucumber very thinly. (A vegetable slicer ensures uniform thin slices.) Place slices in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt; toss gently to mix. Let stand for 10 minutes to 1 hour. Drain accumulated liquid before serving. Makes 4 (1/4 cup) servings. Serve with Teriyaki Salmon Burgers or use as an accompaniment for Asian-flavored grilled meat, seafood or poultry.


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