Beef and Zucchini Burgers


My burger has a secret: it’s only half beef.

Adding shredded zucchini to my burger is a tip that I picked up years ago from a magazine (Shape? Self? Something along those lines) and, every so often, I pull it out of my bag of healthy-cooking tricks. Since I don’t really care for turkey burgers and I’m not always in the mood for a veggie burger, this is a great option for those times when I’m looking for a lower fat alternative to a traditional burger.

The moisture in the zucchini lets you use extra-lean beef without ending up with a dry burger, and the added bulk means a bigger burger for less calories and fat. While you probably won’t be able to pull a fast one on your veggie-hating kids with this recipe (after all, you can see the shredded zucchini in there), you’d be hard-pressed to identify it in a lineup of all-beef burgers in a blind taste test.

Thinking about toppings? Blue cheese is my favorite, but you can also go for a more traditional American Cheese/Lettuce/Tomato combo. Or go wild with Onion Jam or Tzatziki!

(Those onion rings on the side are Alexia, another guiltless trick I’ve been using for years. They’re heads above other onion rings you can find at the grocery store — and even better than some restaurants. They’re actually whole rings of onion — not mushy chopped onion — and they get wonderfully crispy in the oven. If you haven’t tried them yet, I highly recommend them.)



Beef and Zucchini Burgers
Serves 4.

  • 1 lb. zucchini
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp steak seasoning
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • 4 whole wheat buns

Peel the zucchini, then use the side of a box grater to shred it into thin ribbons. Place the zucchini ribbons between two paper towels to remove some of the moisture.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded zucchini, ground beef, and steak seasoning. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are combined the zucchini is evenly distributed. Form into four patties.

Spritz a heavy skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When your pan is hot, add the burgers. Cook burgers for 5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook on the second side until they are done to your liking — about 3 minutes for a medium burger.

Top with blue cheese and serve on buns.

Approx. 435 calories, 19 gram fat, 25 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 38 grams protein



  1. That is a fantastic idea! I love the blue cheese topping!

  2. I love turkey burgers, but once in a while I would love to buy some ground beef – what a great “trick” this is!

  3. Great idea–plus in August it would be such a great way to do burger night and also use up some of that extra squash.

  4. It’s great you added zucchini to make burgers a little healthier and tastier too. I like incorporating veggies in my patties.


  5. Wow, such a good idea- I love a good burger, but its hard to lighten it up without ending up with something really dry- I’m totally trying it!

  6. wow what a neat idea I want this burger :-)

  7. OooooohMG. THIS is what burgers should be.

  8. I’m going to try this with our turkey burgers. It’s a great idea and your photos are making me crave a good burger & rings meal!

  9. The BIG Burgers and the big taste


  10. A great idea to add zucchini in the burgers, I will totally use that for my daughter :) Love the blue cheese here too!

  11. I’ve made turkey and bean burgers before but this sounds really interesting! What a great way to fill up on a meal without having it all be meat!

  12. This looks like a great idea – can’t wait to try it!

  13. That’s brilliant! What a great looking burger. I’ll bet they’d make awesome and healthy meatballs, too. :)

  14. I love adding zukes to my burgers for more volume! Zukes are awesome like that! They lend themselves to breads and meats and whatever else inspires us and just go with it.
    and fantab on their own. Loves it. And I love a beefy burger with some blue or gorgonzola! yums

  15. What a great tip! I wonder if it works with other veggies too…

    • Part of the beauty of the zucchini is that it has such a neutral taste… you really can’t taste it in there with the beef. I’m sure other veggies would work in terms of adding healthy bulk, but they might have a more overpowering flavor too. If you don’t mind a veggiful burger though, it would be worth a try!

  16. Who says you can’t learn anything on a Monday? I learned two things: zucchini in burgers and Alexia onion rings! Bonus!

  17. i love turkey burgers but i love the idea of including zucchini in beef burgers–i can’t wait to try this!

  18. This is brilliant and it looks divine! I can’t wait to try this out with my family!

  19. Okay, this is a BRILLIANT idea, Lauren!!! My mouth is just watering…it sounds even better than full beef patty!

  20. RavieNomNoms says:

    Oh my goodness what a fabulous idea! I have never even thought of doing that, I definitely will now though!

  21. I love this! Sometimes I’ll find myself craving a burger but turkey burgers just don’t always hit the spot. This sounds perfect!

  22. Lauren I really love your burger and I love your blog!! gloria

  23. Yum. I hear you. I also don’t care for turkey burgers. For me they are just lacking and flavor and really have to be doctored up to be passable. (That said, there is an recipe for turkey burgers on the Oprah website that involves chutney and various things that is actually not just okay, but super yummy.) I love this suggestion. Definitely will have to try this. It also makes me think about perhaps adding chopped mushrooms into the patty.

  24. Love this idea! I actually only eat turkey burgers- can’t eat red meat. But I love the idea of buying a leaner meat because of the extra moisture. Great tip!

  25. Ah, yes, I have to agree. This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing. I like to add grated carrot or sweet potato to beef chilli with similar results.

  26. I came across this via foodgawker, these burgers look great! I don’t usually make burgers due to trying to keep my red meat consumption down, so this might be a silly question, but if you had extra (which I will as I’m cooking just for myself) do you think that freezing the patties after forming them with the zucchini would work? I really want to make them but I just can’t eat all of those burgers in such a short time…

  27. Just discovered your blog! Can’t wait to make this guy…mmmmmm….

  28. I was looking for terrific burger recipes and I like this one. You use the same trick I use, which is to add veggies to the burger. It works well with turkey and chicken burgers too!

  29. I’ve been doing this for a long time….love it! I came across it from the George Foreman grill. He used a recipe with sauteed zucchini and I didn’t have time to do that so just shredded it into the beef and voila! It is delicious and very true about the moistness. It stays moist.

    I would only zap the steak seasoning and stick with basic salt and pepper. Salt is a must in beef.

  30. Love to make burgers with veggies. Have always used carrot in the past which sweetens the meat so will definitely try with zucchini maybe even a combination of both.

    I like to put blue cheese inside a burger too rather than on top.

  31. Luke Laviola says:

    In many countries, food laws define specific categories of ground beef and what they can contain. For example, in the United States, beef fat may be added to hamburger, but not to ground beef if the meat is ground and packaged at a USDA-inspected plant.,

    Most interesting brief article on our own blog site


  1. [...] using leaner beef than normal.” (In her recipe, she uses a 1-to-1 ratio, and 90 percent lean ground [...]

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