Power Grilling: The healthiest burger in the world. Seriously.

By Chef Robert Irvine

I don’t really believe there’s much you can do to substitute for beef. The rich taste, the fat, the way it fills you up—healthy options don’t really replicate that, especially if you’re talking about steak. Burgers, though, are somewhat of a different story. The enjoyment of eating a burger isn’t necessarily tied to the kind of protein in the center of the bun. The bun itself and the toppings can often overshadow what’s in the middle. With that in mind, puttanesca tuna burgers are rich, flavorful, and don’t pack even a fraction of the fat that comes with a typical 80-20 burger. All burgers can help you build muscle, but this burger can get you lean, too.



3 ½ pounds fresh raw tuna

3 tablespoons capers, minced

3 tablespoons raisins, minced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

3 tablespoons black olives, minced

3 tablespoons red onion, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

non-stick cooking spray


8 slices red onion, grilled

1 cup roasted red peppers

8 tablespoons pesto

8 whole wheat hamburger rolls

MAKE IT (Makes 8 servings)

  • Dice the raw tuna and put it in a food processor and rough mince it, about 15 seconds. This will allow the tuna to be molded, but it should not be pureed.
  • Remove from the food processor and place in a chilled mixing bowl. Mix all other patty ingredients in with the tuna by hand. Season with salt and pepper, then portion into seven-ounce patties.
  • Preheat the grill to 350 degrees and spray each side of the patties with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place the patties on the grill and cook for four minutes on each side; this will yield a medium (pink) center.
  • Toast buns on the grill for one minute (if desired) then spread 1 tablespoon of pesto inside of each bun. Place patties on the buns, top with red onion and red peppers.

Chef Irvine’s book of healthy recipes, Fit FuelA Chef’s Guide to Eating Well and Living Your Best Life, is available at

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