Who else loves BBQ season?! When the weather is beautiful it’s a lot of fun to cook outside. Looking for a new burger recipe? These low FODMAP Spinach Cranberry Turkey Burgers are a healthy grilling option that the whole family will enjoy.
The Ontario grocery store Farm Boy sells some ready-to-cook turkey burger patties at their stores. One of their flavours is spinach cranberry. Those burgers are delicious but are high FODMAP from the onion. I wanted to make my own low FODMAP and gluten-free version at home that is just as flavourful.
Garlic and onion are high FODMAP, but there are multiple ways to add flavour without FODMAPs. Click here to read my top 10 tips for adding flavour to low FODMAP foods. In this recipe, we add flavour using garlic infused oil and the green tips of green onion. Garlic infused oil has lots of garlic flavour but no FODMAPs. Click here to read tips about buying low FODMAP garlic oils and how to make it yourself. The white bulbs of green onion are high FODMAP, but the green leaves are low according to Monash University.
To start off this recipe, heat your garlic oil in a small frying pan (or make your own using the tips listed here). Tear the stems off your spinach and chop it into small pieces. Dice the green onion leaves. Pack the spinach into a half cup measuring cup and then add to the pan. Cook for a minute and then add the green onion leaves. Cook for another minute or two until the spinach is fully wilted. The mixture should look similar to the picture below.
The egg and oats in this recipe are important for helping to hold the burger together. If you have celiac disease make sure to use gluten-free oats. Or, you can use low FODMAP and gluten-free bread crumbs in place of the oats. If you cannot tolerate eggs, use a flax egg instead. In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon ground flax with 3 tbsp water and let sit for 5 minutes until thickened.
Most dried fruits are high FODMAP, but dried cranberries are an exception. They are low FODMAP at 1 tablespoon. This entire recipe only uses 2 tablespoons and makes four burgers.
Below is a picture of the raw burgers – ick. Not pretty, but I wanted to show what size to mold them. Turkey burgers tend to get fatter in the middle when cooked. If you make thick patties they will become very thick after grilling, which makes it harder to fully cook them. I recommend shaping these patties so they are about 10 cm (4 inches) wide and 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. An instant read thermometer can be very helpful for ensuring that the burgers are fully cooked. Turkey burgers should be cooked to 74°C (165°F) at the thickest part.
Once the burgers are on the grill avoid the temptation to press them down with your spatula. This will only squeeze the juices out of the burgers and make them less tasty. Allow them to cook on one side until there are nice grill marks. Then flip to finish the cooking the other side. Keep a clean plate handy to place the cooked burgers on. Do not put the cooked burgers on the same plate that touched the raw meat.
If you do not have a BBQ/grill or if it is too cold to use a BBQ there is another option. I have made turkey burgers on a frying pan many times during the winter. Use a large greased frying pan on medium heat. Make sure you fully cook the burgers until they reach 74°C (165°F) and are no longer pink in the middle.
FODMAPs are not the only nutrient that can potentially trigger digestive symptoms. Some people with IBS are very sensitive to high-fat foods. A greasy burger may trigger symptoms even if it doesn’t have added FODMAPs. If you are fat-sensitive then turkey burgers may be a great option for you! Ground turkey is much leaner than average ground beef.
I usually eat my turkey burgers on a bed of greens. Sometimes I put some mayonnaise on top with some tomato slices (in Canada Hellman’s mayo is low FODMAP). To make a balanced meal I added some steamed broccoli and boiled baby potatoes (with a bit of butter and dill) to my plate.
I have yet to find a low FODMAP hamburger bun that I think is actually tasty. If there are any brands of low FODMAP hamburger buns please let me know! I am always looking for more options to try.
The reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet is the most important phase. It is when we test each FODMAP to learn which ones we are sensitive to and which ones we can start eating again. Personally, I am not able to eat an entire hamburger bun without feeling awful. However, there are some other high FODMAP foods that I am okay with. If you have finished reintroduction and found that you can tolerate some bread, go ahead and pair your burger with a bun. My brother does not eat low FODMAP and he had his burger on a whole wheat bun with some guacamole.
For any Canadians who have started the low FODMAP but never reintroduced foods: I have a new nutrition counselling package! This package is called FODMAP reintroduction and it is for those who are looking for help with testing foods and increasing variety in your diet. I see clients across Canada via phone and video messaging. Full details about my nutrition services are available here. I also have a Low FODMAP package which is for those who want help with all three stages of the diet.
Note: if spinach cranberry burgers don’t sound appealing to you, simply omit the spinach and cranberries to make a basic turkey burger.
These burgers would also pair nicely with my Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad – just halve the dried cranberries in the salad recipe to avoid going over the 1 tablespoon FODMAP serving size limit.
My next blog post will be a guest post about food safety in the summer, so stay tuned!
Are you looking for support with managing digestive symptoms and/or the low FODMAP diet? My nutrition counselling and coaching services are available across Canada (via video messaging or phone). I am a registered dietitian with a Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition who specializes in digestion and practical healthy eating tips. Learn more about my services by clicking here.
I hope you are having an awesome summer. Looking for a refreshing snack? Check out my recipe for Strawberry Lemon Chia Popsicles!