I don't know about you, but my summers tend to be crazy busy. Between running, yard work, get-togethers with friends, and spending time on the water, we hardly have the time or energy to cook. And really, how many nights in a row can I get away with big salads for dinner before my husband starts trying to add bits of tofu-dogs as a salad topping?
These jerk veggie burgers are a great way to spice up your middle-of-the-work-week dinner. The beautiful thing about them is that I am giving you the green light to use whatever veggie burger patty you want because who the hell has time to make their own veggie burger patty in the summer?!?! Make the jerk seasoning mix and slice up your pineapple ahead of time and this dinner will be ready in 15 minutes.
The other thing I want to encourage you to do is to keep it simple. Look at many foodie blog burger recipes and they show beautiful burgers, stacked a mile high with toppings and sauces. They look so delicious and probably truly are. However, they also tend to be too over the top for my taste buds. I like to be able to taste the elements of the ingredients. These mile-high burgers also tend to be extremely unhealthy. Yeah, you know what I am talking about. Vegan mayonnaise is not good for you. Vegan cheese slices are not good for you. Gluten-free buns are not good for you. Do I eat these things sometimes? Yes, but I don't usually and that is key to living a healthy lifestyle.
On to the recipe! Like I mentioned earlier, you can make the actual jerk seasoning mix ahead of time. And if you aren't like me with a hundred bottles of spices on hand, then you can buy pre-made jerk seasoning mixture at most spice shops. Try to stay away from the normal grocery store variety of these pre-made mixtures as they tend to have way too much salt and contain preservatives. Make your own and put it in a old (empty, clean, and dried) spice jar and have it on hand for the future.
Make a quick marinade with 2 tsp. of your newly made jerk seasoning, lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and water. Set aside.
Next step is to get your pineapple peeled. Don't be afraid of this beauty. Sure you can buy rings of pineapple already peeled and cut in most grocery stores. But a few rings will cost you just as much as a whole pineapple will. I like to chop mine up and freeze the rest to use in smoothies. Go easy on pineapples though as they are high in sugar. To peel a pineapple, cut off the crown and bottom and then carefully cut off the outer skin. Lay the naked pineapple on its side and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rings. Then, with each ring laying flat on your cutting board, take just the tip of your knife and cut out the core. Yes, you can absolutely buy a tool that cuts the entire core out in one fell swoop. But kitchen drawer space is sacred in my house and I don't eat enough pineapple a year to justify the purchase.
Now get your grill started! Heat it to a medium heat and once it is hot, add your favorite veggie burger and the pineapple rings to the grill. Immediately brush a coat of the jerk marinade on the burgers and pineapple rings.
Grill for 4-5 minutes and then flip everything over and add a coating of the jerk marinade to this side of the burgers and pineapple as well.
After another 4-5 minutes, flip one last time and add another coating of your marinade. Grill this last time for just a few minutes and if you are using burger buns, add them to the grill at this point too if you want to get a little toast on them.
Remove from the grill. If you are going to use romaine or boston bib lettuce as your "bun" like I do, then let the burgers cool for a few minutes so that you don't allow the heat from the burger to wilt your greens. Take this time to slice up an avocado or to get any sides prepared that you plan on having with your burger.
To finish it, lay a burger on one end of a large romaine or boston bib lettuce leaf and top it with a grilled pineapple ring, a few slices of fresh avocado, and a little drizzle of any jerk marinade you have left over. Fold the other half of the lettuce over or use a second piece of lettuce to the top to create your guilt-free bun. Dinner is served!
We are talking taste-bud explosion here. A bit of heat from the seasoning, mixed with the sweetness from the pineapple and creaminess of the avocado make for the perfect mid-week burger. A side salad (my asian slaw) or piece of fresh corn on the cob would be the perfect accompaniment. Easy, healthy, and delicious.
Time: 40 minutes
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. jerk seasoning
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. water
4 of your favorite brand GF/Vegan burger patties
4 slices of fresh pineapple
1 sliced avocado
4 large romaine lettuce leaves or burger buns
In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings to make your jerk mix. You will only need 2 tsp. for this recipe, so store remaining in a small jar to use in other recipes.
In another small bowl, combine 2 tsp. jerk seasoning, the juice from half a lime (or a full lime if it doesn’t produce much juice), olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and water and whisk to combine.
To cut your pineapple, chop off the top crown and the bottom. Carefully cut off the outer skin to peel it. Setting it on a side, cut 4 slices about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch wide. Take the tip of your knife and with each slice laying flat on the cutting board, cut out the inner core.
Preheat your grill to a medium heat. Once hot, place your burgers and pineapple slices on the grill. Take a brush and slather the burgers and pineapple with your jerk marinade. After about 4-5 minutes, flip the burgers and pineapple rings and brush the jerk marinade on this side. Cook another 4-5 minutes and flip one more time. Brush each with your marinade again and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, adding the burger buns to the grill for these last few minutes if you are choosing to eat these with buns. Remove from the grill.
To create your masterpiece, let your burgers cool for a few minutes if you are using large romaine lettuce leaves for your “bun” so you don’t wilt them with the heat of the burger. Place your burger on the leaf or on your traditional (or GF) bun, a grilled pineapple slice, a few slices of fresh avocado, and drizzle a little of the remaining marinate for a last minute kick.