Now, I know what you might be thinking - Watermelon on burgers? How is that even possible? But hear me out before you dismiss this recipe as another attempt to over-healthify a classic burger! In fact, beef burger with watermelon still offers all the usual bells and whistles of your typical burger (patty and all) - it just plays with the flavor profile to give a refreshing Mediterranean-inspired twist on this summer classic.
This watermelon burger variation is truly unforgettable, thanks to the dynamic flavor of the savory beef patty, the soft richness of brioche bread, and the refreshing sweetness of watermelon. It's no surprise that many people are drawn to the combination of salty and sweet flavors, and the pairing of watermelon and feta cheese perfectly balances these tastes. In fact, feta is widely considered the top cheese to pair with watermelon.
By including watermelon in your burger, you can enjoy a satisfying and refreshing meal even on the hottest summer days. Summer weather often leads to increased sweating and dehydration, but watermelon's high-water content helps to counteract these effects and make this salty meal less dehydrating. Cucumber Watermelon Summer Salad is another great recipe using watermelon that would pair nicely with this burger. A great drink to enjoy with this sensation burger, Watermelon Gin Cocktail.
- Burger Patties: As the patties cook, they tend to contract and push up in the center. To keep your burgers flat and cooked evenly, try making a small indentation in the center of each patty before cooking. This will prevent them from bulging and ensure that they cook evenly and thoroughly. After shaping your patties, it's best to chill them for at least an hour or up to a day to allow the flavors to develop.
- Watermelon: Choose a ripe and firm watermelon. Look for a watermelon that is ripe but not overripe. It should be firm to the touch and have a deep, uniform color.
- Cheese: Feta and watermelon are a great pairing because they offer a balance of sweet and salty flavors that complement each other. Watermelon's natural sweetness and refreshing qualities are a perfect contrast to feta's salty and tangy taste. Additionally, traditional feta has a crumbly texture that pairs well with the juicy and crisp texture of watermelon. You can also try using a creamy feta cheese, which has a milder flavor and a creamier texture. This type of feta can add a rich and luxurious taste to your burger, and it's particularly good if you prefer a smoother texture in your cheese.
- Oil For Grilling Watermelon: When it comes to grilling watermelon, it's best to use oil with a high smoke point to prevent it from burning and imparting a bitter taste. Safflower and grapeseed oil are great options because their flavor will not overpower the watermelon.
- Buns: Brioche buns offer a richer and more complex flavor profile compared to plain buns, thanks to their higher content of egg and butter. They complement the flavors of the watermelon burger without overwhelming them, unlike pretzel or potato buns that can be too overpowering. However, if you're unable to find or prefer not to use brioche buns, I recommend sticking to a plain burger bun to ensure that the unique flavors of this dish shine through.
Preparing the Marinated Red Onions
To make marinated red onions, combine balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar, and olive oil in a jar or medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Add the onions and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.
You can store the onions in a jar for up to one month. This topping tastes incredible on its own so I recommend you save it as a topping for salads or some grilled chicken.
Preparing the Mint Yogurt
To make the mint yogurt, blend Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and mint in a food processor. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preparing the Beef Burgers
Tender, juicy burgers are so easy to make! This recipe does not add any egg or breadcrumbs, just lean ground beef and seasonings. For the burger patties, mix ground beef, onion, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Shape the mixture into 8 medium-sized patties. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Grilling the Watermelon Slices
To make watermelon patties, first remove the seeds from the watermelon while keeping the fruit intact. Cut the watermelon into 8 slices, slightly thicker than a tomato slice that would be used on a hamburger. Lightly coat with oil and grill for about 2 minutes, until slightly caramelized.
Beef Burger with Watermelon
Marinated Red Onions
- ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Chili Flakes optional
- ½ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ medium Red Onion thinly sliced
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- 1 ½ cups Plain 10% Greek Yogurt
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
- ⅓ cup Fresh Mint Leaves finely chopped
- 2 pounds Lean Ground Beef
- ¼ cup Red Onion minced
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- 10 leaves Mint Leaves finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ⅙ small Watermelon seeds removed
- Grapeseed Oil for coating the watermelon
Additional Burger Ingredients
- 8 slices Creamy Feta Cheese
- 8 buns Brioche Buns
Marinated Red Onions
- To make marinated red onions, combine balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar, and olive oil in a jar or medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Add the onions and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- To make the mint yogurt, blend Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and mint in a food processor. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- For burger patties, mix ground meat, onion, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Shape the mixture into 8 medium-sized patties.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- To make watermelon patties, first remove the seeds from the watermelon while keeping the fruit intact.
- Slice the watermelon into thin pieces, about the thickness of a tomato slice used in a burger or slightly thicker. Create 8 patties.
- Lightly coat the each patty with oil. Use just enough oil to prevent sticking and promote even cooking while grilling the fruit.
Grilling and Serving
- Once you are ready to cook the burgers, slice the feta into thick pieces. Keep the slices about the same thickness as, or slightly thinner than the watermelon. Set Aside.
- To cook the meat patties, grill them on a BBQ or skillet over medium-high heat (400°F) until they reach the desired level of doneness, typically about 5 minutes per side. I like my burger to reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When the burgers are done, add the watermelon to the grill and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side so that the outside is caramelized and slightly golden brown. Remove From heat.
- To assemble the burger, place the feta cheese, grilled watermelon marinated red onions, and mint yogurt on top of the cooked burger patty (in that order!).
- Serve the Watermelon Burger immediately after assembling to enjoy the textures and flavors at their best.