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Recipe: Lettuce-Wrapped, Stuffed Bison Burgers

Lose the bun, enjoy the fun!

Lettuce-wrapped burgers with tomato, in white bowls atop crumpled brown bag

These spinach, mushroom and tomato stuffed burgers might sound fancy, but they’re easy to make. And when you wrap them in lettuce, they offer a delicious, bunless burger option.


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  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 small tomato, diced (liquids drained) or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces ground bison (can substitute ground grass-fed beef or turkey)
  • 8 outer leaves of romaine lettuce


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in mushrooms.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
  3. Add spinach and tomato and cook for another minute. Stir in mustard and turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper. Drain off excess liquid and reserve. Cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. Form bison into four equally sized balls. With your fingers, make a well in the center of each ball. Stuff about 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture inside each ball. Seal the top and flatten to form a patty.
  5. Grill or broil your burgers
    To grill: Heat your grill pan using a little oil. When hot, grill each patty for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or when desired doneness is reached. Repeat, as needed, depending on pan size.
    To broil: Set oven broiler to high. Place patties on a foil-lined baking sheet on top oven rack. Broil for about 3 minutes, flip patties over, and broil for about another 2 to 3 minutes or until burgers reach desired doneness.
  6. Let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes.
  7. Take two romaine leaves and sandwich your burger between them.


Ingredient health benefits

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): This cooking oil is a popular feature on supermarket shelves and kitchen counters, and for good reason. EVOO is loaded with unsaturated fats and natural plant compounds called polyphenols that support your heart health and decrease unwanted inflammation. It also has vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin E for strong bones, sharp eyes and supple skin. And if you’re looking for another reason to incorporate EVOO into your diet, it can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, an extra benefit that’ll keep your ticker in top shape.
  • Onions: They’re not the prettiest food in the fridge, but under all those layers is a treasure trove of nutrients your body can put to good use. Onions are full of antioxidants like vitamin C, as well as prebiotics and fiber that promote thriving gut flora and healthy digestion. They also have flavonoids that help protect your body from chronic diseases. A flavonoid called quercetin (which is also found in apples) may even support your heart health by lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and chronic inflammation as it builds up in your immune system over time. So, the more onions you eat, the more goodness you get!
  • Mushrooms: Not an animal and not a plant, but wholly nutritious! These fungi have selenium, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), essential vitamins and minerals for your thyroid, heart, brain, immunity and metabolism. Mushrooms are also rich in potassium, which helps decrease your blood pressure, and antioxidants to fight inflammation and free radicals that can damage your cells. Certain compounds found in mushrooms support your heart and gut health as well.
  • Spinach: Not just for salads and sailors from old cartoons, spinach is a hearty leafy green that’s easy to add to any dinner recipe. It’s got vitamin K, magnesium, iron and manganese to keep your bones and blood cells healthy, while folate and potassium help regulate your blood pressure and protect your brain and eyes from disease. Beta-carotene and lutein are carotenoids that promote healthy eyes and good vision. And your gut will love the insoluble fiber, which can keep things “smooth.”
  • Tomatoes: Like spinach, these bright red veggies are an easy addition to many meals (even if the recipe doesn’t call for them), and they’re packed with vitamin C that boosts your immune system, especially your white blood cells. Tomatoes are also a delicious way to get some vitamin K, potassium and folate. You can thank the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene (which your body turns into vitamin A) for keeping your heart healthy and, potentially, lowering your risk of certain cancers.
  • Black pepper: More than just a popular seasoning, black pepper has some perks of its own. It helps your body more readily take in other nutrients from your food due to a compound called piperine, and its bold flavor lessens your need to add more salt to your meal. Piperine can also help suppress inflammation, especially when you combine its effects with ginger and turmeric.
  • Romaine lettuce: This well-known salad base has more nutrition than its leafy looks suggest. For starters, romaine lettuce has carotenoids that protect your eyes and heart and may reduce your chances of getting certain kinds of cancer. Like spinach, romaine has lutein and is a good source of vitamin K (one cup of romaine has 20% of your daily recommended intake) — which goes a long way in supporting your vision, blood cells and bones. Eating romaine lettuce also gives you a little bit of hydration, too!


Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 4 burgers

Calories: 347
Fat: 21 g
Saturated fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 94 mg
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 30 g
Carbohydrate: 9 g
Sodium: 160 mg

From the book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, by Mark Hyman, MD.


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