Who can resist a summer barbecue? Not me. But after speaking with Chef Corbin Tomaszeski I’ll be topping my burger with fresh, healthy ingredients and staying away from the bottled condiments. Since he recently partnered with Weight Watchers, I asked the Toronto-based Food Network star to share his tips for healthier summer grilling.
Q: How can we make our favourite burger healthier’without losing flavour?
A: What I always find ironic about burgers is that the hero of that dish is really the meat or the patty, and so if it’s a beef burger you want to taste and showcase the beef. But people mask the flavour by adding all these other ingredients, which are typically the unhealthy ones. If you are going to add condiments, stick to fresh ingredients such as grilled vegetables, crisp lettuce and tomatoes. And instead of using two buns (the top and bottom), just use one and eat your burger open-faced.
Q: What’s on your favourite burger?
A: When it comes to the toppings, try simple things like splashing your burger with fresh citrus while you’re grilling it. You could also add some heat by adding charred peppers or chillies.
I like my burger open-faced with just the one half of the bun, or I’ll lose the bread altogether and do a lettuce wrap. Another healthy alternative is to use a whole wheat pita and make it like a taco burger. I love texture, so I want crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, and for a bit of creaminess I like putting avocado on mine.
Q: What are some of the best tips you’ve learned from the Weight Watchers program?
A: My lifestyle and philosophy on food is very close to what Weight Watchers is doing. It was almost like I was on Weight Watchers before I even realized it. It’s about identifying ingredients that are good for you, paying attention to quality and quantity and really paying attention to what you put into your body. And also not being afraid to eat and enjoy what you want’within reason. You can indulge, but you just don’t indulge all the time.
The success of a great chef is planning ahead, but at home we tend to forget that. When we eat on impulse is when we make those poor choices. What Weight Watchers has done is remind me that what I do at work, I should also do at home. The other thing is that I now pay closer attention to all nutritional information, not just calories.
Healthy Remake: Chef Corbin and Weight Watchers’ Take on the Classic Canadian Burger
Yield- 6 servings
Cher Corbin offers his take on an all-Canadian burger by keeping the meat lean and adding fresh toppings. He substitutes a creamy black bean hummus for cheese.
1 ½ lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup BBQ sauce (recipe below)
salt and pepper to taste
½ head iceberg lettuce- cut into 6 small wedges
6 slices of Beef Steak Tomato
3 large whole wheat Kaiser Rolls-sliced in half
Black Bean Hummus
1 ½ cup drained, rinsed & cooked black beans
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp. ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
juice from 1 lime
pinch of sea salt
Black Bean Hummus Method
Combine all of the ingredients into a small food processor and pulse lightly to incorporate all of the flavours and to form a thick hummus.
Tangy BBQ Sauce
½ cup minced fresh onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup ketchup
½ cup tinned tomato sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
½ tbsp. Tabasco pepper sauce
½ cup low sodium veg or chicken broth
BBQ Sauce Method
Combine all of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook the sauce for 20-30 minutes, be sure to stir periodically and not over heat or burn the sauce.